It doesn’t matter what time of year it is playing with colored ice is always a hit with kids. But in summertime, a water bin filled with colored ice cubes is just the best for cooling sensory play for kids of all ages. Making colored ice cubes is perfect for keeping the kids cool and refreshed on a hot, summer day!
Ice Cubes & Kids Makes Summer Time Fun
Summer is awesome and so are the fun summer activities to keep your kids cool and having fun in the backyard!
Related: More fun summer activities
One of our favorite ways to pass a warm summer morning is to make colored ice cubes and add them to a big bucket of cold water.
It keeps everyone cool, and it’s so much fun to scoop, pour, mix and stir while the ice cubes slowly release their color into the water.
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Ice Play with Colored Ice Cubes
Supplies Needed to Make Colored Ice Cubes
- ice cube trays – or you could use small plastic cups and containers to make the ice
- cold water
- food coloring – if you prefer natural food coloring alternatives <–check that out
- Baking sheet
- Plastic storage bags
- storage container, large bucket or water table (a large salad or trifle bowl works well too)
- bowls and cups
- various kitchen instruments: scoops, funnels, tongs, spoons, basters, ladles, sieves and strainers, etc.
Thrift shops and second-hand stores are great places for picking up ice cube trays in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Popsicle molds and small, shaped plastic containers are super for this too.
How to Make Colored Ice for Sensory Play
It’s best to start freezing your ice several days in advance so you’ll have lots on hand for your activity.
I fill several ice cube trays and small plastic containers with water, add a drop or two of food colouring to each section, and load them all onto a baking sheet.
I place the baking sheet into the freezer and freeze until solid which usually takes about 8 hours.
I transfer the colored cubes into a plastic bag which stays in the freezer, and I begin again.
Repeat Until You Have As Many Colored Ice Cubes as You Desire
I’ll do this over and over until I’ve accumulated a supply of several hundred colored ice cubes. This way, the kids can enjoy a whole morning of play!
Ice Play Sensory Activity
When we’re ready to play I take a large, clear storage bin out to a shady area of the yard and I fill it with very cold water.
The colder your water is, the longer your ice cubes will last. The colored ice cubes will make the water even colder.
You’ll be surprised at how long the ice will last, even on a hot day.
I set the kids up with all kinds of kitchen utensils and instruments: large and small bowls for scooping the ice into, ladles, sieves, tongs, wooden spoons etc.
Anything goes really.
I just rummage through my kitchen drawers and cupboards until I’ve come up with a wide variety of instruments for them to play and experiment with.
Let’s Play with Colored Ice Cubes
Dump in a batch of ice, and let the fun begin!
My guys can spend an entire morning playing with an activity bin like this:
- They scoop, they pour, they strain, they sort.
- The mix potions and they make soups, ladling out bowls for everyone and pouring their concoctions from one container to the next.
It’s fun to watch the colour leach out of the ice cubes and colour the water as they play.
Related: Check out our other ice play activities for kids!
Colored Ice Cubes Floating in the Water Bin
Hours of splashing, exploring and learning. What a wonderful way to spend a hot summer morning.
You may even get a chance to sit back and put your feet up while your kids are kept cool and happy!
Our Experience With These Ice Play Activities
Looking for fun ways to explore the world through the senses? These ice sensory activities explore temperatures and textures. You can easily turn this colored ice into an icy sensory bin, especially if you add it to semi-warm water and then fill it with the colorful blocks of ice.
My kids loved playing with ice and their sensory experiences. They also got to explore imaginative play, which is great for social skills, by exploring different ways to deal with situations.
For example, my daughter was pretending to sell soup while my son wanted to buy some but didn’t have enough money. So my daughter asked him to help make soup (by adding hot water to the ice) and then gave him a bowl of “soup.”
- cold water
- food coloring
- ice cube trays
- Baking sheet
- Plastic storage bags
- Fill ice cube trays with water and add a drop or two of desired food coloring to each ice cube.
- Load the ice cube trays on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for about 8 hours or until frozen solid.
- Remove from ice cube trays and put into plastic storage bags.
- Repeat with the now empty ice cube trays.
More Ice Fun from Kids Activities Blog
- Make play doh ice cream…homemade play dough fun.
- This best icebox cake recipe is fun to make and eat!
- Brrrr…help kids learn how to read a thermometer with this fun printable activity and craft.
- Make eyeball ice cubes for a fun prank at home.
- Make an ice cream recipe using blender!
- Our favorite cotton candy ice cream doesn’t require a churn or fancy equipment.
- These ice crafts are cool crafts and fun winter crafts for toddlers and beyond.
- If you are near a Gaylord hotel this winter, check out Ice! <–We have some fun details about Ice this year and in the past.
- Ice cream cone coloring page.
- Frozen toys for toddlers…genius!
Did your kids love the colored ice cubes? Is this one of their favorite ways of ice play?