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Summertime is the perfect time for some ice activities! I call this fun ice activity Hidden Ice Treasures. It’s a great activity to do outside on a hot summer day.
On a recent afternoon, I set up an invitation to play Hidden Ice Treasures with the following materials:
- a large, plastic bin to contain everything
- large blocks of ice with treasures frozen inside (in our case, the “treasures” were some tiny erasers, but coins would also work well)
- containers of water dyed using our Colorations Liquid Watercolor Paints
- plastic pipettes
- spice containers filled with salt
To make the large blocks of ice with hidden treasures inside, I half-filled empty yogurt containers with water. I put them in the freezer, and once the water was frozen, I placed two small objects on top. Then I filled the containers to the top with water and returned them to the freezer again.
(Note #1: I did not wait until the half-filled containers were sufficiently frozen to add the treasures, so they ended up breaking through the thin layer of ice that had formed and they fell to the bottom. It didn’t ruin the activity, but it was not how I had planned it.)
(Note #2: To freeze your objects in the middle of your ice block, select objects that sink, not float, in water.)
I presented the materials to the kids by explaining that each of them had an ice block. I further explained that I had hidden two small treasures in each of their blocks. They were to use the colored water and the salt to melt the ice in order to retrieve their treasures! With this explanation, the kids were hooked!
QBoy and XGirl have always loved activities involving our plastic pipettes, so they were excited to begin adding color to their ice blocks.
I loved how they sat side by side and worked so nicely together on this activity!
Eventually, I encouraged them to use the salt to speed up the melting process.
Soon, the salt began to pit the ice, which changed how the colors looked on the ice blocks.
Because the ice blocks were so big, they did not melt particularly fast. So after a little while, the kids took a quick break to paint their feet. 🙂
But then they came back to their ice blocks and got down to the business of retrieving their treasures. The kids eventually realized that the treasures were not in the middle, but on the bottom of their ice blocks. So they turned them over and began working diligently to free their treasures.
And eventually, much to their delight, they were successful!
As far as the kids were concerned, this activity was about finding a hidden treasure. But in my mind, this activity was about much, much more!
Use of the plastic pipettes strengthens fine motor skills and the pincer grip. Observing how the ice changes when it comes into contact with salt offers a science lesson. And adding the various colors provides lessons in color mixing. Further, the colors turn the ice blocks into beautiful works of art!
So many benefits from one fairly simple activity. 🙂
More summer resources for learning and fun
More summer posts from Gift of Curiosity
- Rainbow bubbles
- Watermelon oobleck
- Ice chalk
- Sun prints art activity
- Summer printables pack
- Summer do-a-dot printables
- Watermelon printables pack
- Watermelon do-a-dot printables
- Camping do-a-dot printables
- Ice cream I Spy
- Ice cream Sudoku
Looking for more summertime activities? Check out my Summer Activities for Kids page and my Summer Activities board on Pinterest.
Oh my 5 year old would LOVE this!
Growing Up Madison
Smart kids. Start from the closest point of the treasure. I just love what you do with your kids. I need to start doing a little bit more activities when I’m home with Madison and I know she’ll enjoy this although she might try eating the ice. 🙂
Ha ha! Yep, my kids are fortunately past the put-everything-in-your-mouth stage, although QBoy will sometimes surprise me by doing something odd like licking a lamppost!
Jen @Making Our Life Matter
What a great idea for a hot summer day! A great way to keep them busy and cool at the same time. I say that is a win-win situation!
Stephanie @ From the Burbs to the Boonies
You do the coolest stuff with ice!
Thanks Stephanie! This activity was so simple too!
Colleen @ MommieDaze
This look so fun! I never would have thought of it. My boys would love this. We have a heat wave coming next week. We’ll have to try this!
Definitely a great idea for a coming heat wave!
This is such a great idea! I love inexpensive fun activities using what we already have on hand. I am pinning this to try later!
Yep, this is super simple and inexpensive! Definitely a winner in that regard!
Sadly, I think my son would skip right to the hammer. I should have done this when he was younger!
Rachael @ Mommy LCSW
What a fantastic idea! We’ll have to try. I vowed to do one baking, one science, and one craft activity each week this summer. I failed miserably! Maybe this could make up for some of that!
Sometimes things don’t work out as planned, right? Hope your kids enjoy this activity!
Looks like they had a LOT of fun! And the exploration led to some beautiful ice!
Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Hope to see you linked up again later today.
Have a GREAT weekend =)
What a fun activity for the summertime! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!