Whether you are hot in the summer, want to talk about arctic animals, or are leaning into a cold winter, ice play is so fun! Here are tons of ice play ideas for kids!
We live in coastal South Carolina and the summers are HOT. But, I love spending the mornings outside with the kids.
We spend a LOT of time at our splash table, but even that can get hot some times. My solution? Add ice!
Ice play is silly, fun, and a great way to cool down in hot weather.
Ice Play for kids
What do children learn when playing with ice?
Playing with ice is great for building fine motor skills! Kids learn to hold things, pick them up, and manipulate small objects.
Playing with ice is also great for the senses –
- FEEL cold temperatures
- SEE the ice as it melts
- HEAR the ice bubble and crack as it melts!
- TASTE the ice!
- SMELL if the ice has a smell!
What can you play with ice?
You can play with ice as a part of a sensory activity, water play, or for imaginative exercises with arctic animals!
Is it safe to play with ice?
You should always supervise small kids with ice, but ice itself is not dangerous to play with. The main risk is choking or if a kid threw an ice cube hard at another kid. Just my kids?
Ice and water can also be slippery and cause slip and falls. Be mindful!
Are ice cubes good for toddlers?
Toddlers love playing with melting ice cubes, but should always be supervised to be sure they don’t put it in their mouths and choke.
Can babies play with ice cubes?
Babies can definitely play with and explore cold ice – but be sure to supervise them because ice cubes can be a choking hazard!
What are the benefits of sensory play?
Sensory experiences are great learning activities!
- Helps develop fine motor skills
- Teaches kids to be inquisitive
- Can be paired with specific topics for targeted themed learning
- Encourages scientific thinking
Ice Play Ideas for kids!
Here are some of my favorite ice play activities for kids!
Some of these activities use ice specifically frozen (in an ice cube tray) for play, and some use ice just dumped out of your freezer’s ice maker!
Kids will love saving dinosaurs from the ice age with this simple dig activity!
Make your own icebergs and let kids balance toys on them in a bin of water! This was a huge hit with my kids!
Practice fine motor skills while kids try to pick up an ice cube with a string!
Take your kids ice fishing at home with this fun and easy activity!
Take your ice dig to the next level with frozen sand!
Older kids will love experimenting with ice and the effect of salt on ice!
Combine ice play with a nature hunt and freeze your finds for even more fun!
Grab two big bowls and let your kids move ice cubes back and forth. Simple, but so fun!
I LOVE this idea! Use penguin, polar bear, or any other arctic animal figures combined with ice for some arctic imaginative play!
Freeze baking soda letters and make them fizz and pop!
Freeze big blocks of ice and paint on them! Kids will love watching it drip and melt.
An even easier way to paint ice is to fill a bin with ice from your ice maker - and let kids paint on it! The cubes slip around and create interesting paint swirls.
Use ice cube trays to make a rainbow of ice cubes and then experiment with them!
Y'all know I love a good scavenger hunt - freezing the finds in ice is a genius way to add a sense of urgency to the hunt - especially on a hot day!!
What's more fun than legos? ICE legos!! You will need a special mold to make these, but how much fun you will have!
This recipe for frozen chocolate chalk is so creative - and perfect for a hot summer day outside!
Have rubber ducks on hand? Freeze them up and let your kids save them! This is a great activity for them to do while you make dinner or fold laundry nearby.
Ok, this is genius - dig into your beach toys and use a sandcastle mold to make a frozen castle! SUPER fun for kids to pair with little toys, too!
Do your kids like water beads? They will LOVE frozen water beads!
This is kind of ice-adjacent, but teach your kids about frost with this fun experiment!
Another fun take on frozen dinosaurs is to freeze them in water balloons so your kids can help them "hatch" from ice eggs.
Want to play with ice in the snow? Here's a cool rainbow ice snow painting idea!
Gather lots of small household items and freeze them in a ziplock bag. Kids will love digging them out!
Check out this fun project - making an ice lantern! So cool!!
Planning sea themed activities? Freeze up some (toy) fishies and get playing!
Freeze food color water in popsicle molds to make these fun frozen paintbrushes!
Freezing water in a bundt pan takes this ice activity to the next level!
Another cool nature idea - make ice suncatchers to hang in the trees!
How are you playing with ice this summer?!