I think ice play is one of those easily forgotten kid activities that can keep them entertained for hours, but yet requires enough pre-planning that we rarely do it. Well this time, I decided I was going to do the work to help “future Jenna.”
I found some ice trays and cupcake tins at Goodwill (as well as an amazingly large stash of rubber ducks — seriously Goodwill, I love you) and went to work.
The first tray was definitely ducky inspired – I used some blue food coloring and tried to balance the ducks on top. It was very much trial and error – some were fine floating upright and some wanted to take a nosedive.
Next I worked on some IKEA stars shapes and long thin lines (I think they are supposed to fit inside plastic waterbottles?) and made some pink and purple options. For some flair, I added glitter (because who doesn’t like glitter?) and hoped I didn’t regret that decision later.
The trickiest part was finding a place in the freezer to set the trays (cuz it’s been so long since I froze my own ice cubes) but got that part mostly managed. A few weeks later and we had an opportunity to use them – a play date!
I realized that I had never tried to remove ice from a cupcake tray before and had to run some lukewarm water on the back… which worked, but in several instances, the ducks fell off the ice blocks. I was undeterred! I put the ducks and ice in the sensory bin, only to realize that it would probably be more fun with water in the bin as well… so I added some water… and the ice started melting pretty quickly.
But it looked really cool before they melted! Plus, I’m pretty sure everyone loves rubber ducks, so it wasn’t a total loss. When the ducky ice pucks were melted, I grabbed my IKEA stars shapes and threw them in. The color and the glitter made it fun for the kids and it was super easy day-of, so all in all, I’m happy I did it.
It was helpful to have towels EVERYWHERE because toddlers + water = wet everything. We managed to contain the mess and the kids had a good time. In the future, I might skip the ducks on the ice and try smaller animal figures that would be stuck INSIDE the pucks for longer.
Using food coloring in the ice made for a cool affect and then made the water change color (which was also cool). I do recommend having something like this prepped in your freezer, cuz it’s such an easy activity and I’m ALL for easy.