One of the first activities I did when I joined the play team @monthly_play on Instagram was called “Melting into Spring!” It involved freezing flower petals in ice using silicone cupcake moulds then using coloured water and salt to try and melt them (see under “Nature” category to check this out in full.)
Since then my son has loved ice play and he will often ask me to make some ice for him to melt. We have recently introduced it to his little sister as well who also seems to be a fan! I decided to look back through our Instagram grid and share with you all the different ways we have played with ice to hopefully inspire you to have a go and cool down in all this hot weather!!
One of the things we regularly do is freeze things within ice and then “rescue” the items (often with members of the Paw Patrol or PJ Masks lending a hand!) We have frozen; herbs, flowers, Pom-poms, toys, numbers and sequins to name but a few! I have also experimented with making different coloured ice by adding food colouring, which is a simple but really effective twist.
My son loves trying to get the things out of the ice and we have experimented with many different ways of doing this such as; cold water, hot water, coloured water, salt, sunshine, a hammer or a combination of them all! We have also frozen things in a variety of shapes to fit a theme of play such as; hands or Mickey Mouse and in different sizes so we can experiment with which will melt the fastest.
One recent activity I did was based on ‘Scientist Role Play.’ For this I froze a mixture of; baking powder, water and biodegradable glitter to make funny looking ‘germs.’ My son then had to mix some medicine and drop it onto them to make them go away. One of the ingredients I gave was vinegar so when this came into contact with the baking powder the ice cubes would fizz! Having played a lot with ice over the years this twist really grabbed my sons attention! (why not check out our Instagram grid for more information and videos!)
Another great thing about ice play is it is easy to set up, cheap and you can play it in many different settings! For example I set up many activities on our tuff tray which can be inside or outside depending on the weather. However, you could quite easily use a sink, a water tray, a washing up bowl, a plastic tray, a paddling pool etc etc As long as it’s something you don’t mind getting wet then it’s fine. Having a contained area is best though as many times Ice play turns into potion mixing (another one of my son’s favourite things!) so having some containers and utensils on hand is a handy tip to prolong the play. Another thing I’ve learned along the way is to always have back up ice cubes as often my son will have had such fun melting ice he’ll want to do it again instantly!
As my son approaches school age I’ve also tried to use his favourite types of play to include letters and numbers so it’s kind of secret learning through play! One way I have tackled this recently was to set up a ‘Wizard School’ based on his recent love of Harry Potter. This included magical ice cubes as one of the ingredients required to make his potions! He had to help read the ingredients (made up of pictures, colours, numbers and words) mix the potions and then say the correct magic words (check it out more on Instagram!)
I will leave you with our latest ice play which was my little girls first time exploring ice. It was a simple set up but a real hit with all of us. We went round the garden picking herbs and a few flowers, whilst doing this we learnt their names, what they smelt like and how they can be used in food! My son then asked to freeze some. We did this in small and large ice cubes so we could see which would melt the fastest. When I took them out of the freezer they looked really beautiful so I had fun taking some arty photos before letting the kids loose on them outside in our water tray! My little girl squeeled with delight as she picked up the ice and found it cold and slippy! She even had a little taste (another great thing about ice play is you can make it taste safe!) I then watched as my son helped show her how the ice melts, it was a lovely activity for all of us on a hot afternoon! Why don’t you have ago!
Next on our Ice play wish list is frozen water beads & ice painting so keep an eye out for those! Why not follow us on Instagram (@megaawesomemessyart), Facebook (Mega Awesome Messy Art) and (Twitter @megaawesomeMA) so you don’t miss out in any of our messy escapades! 😊