I have a love/hate relationship with this season! I love when it’s snowing outside and I’m tucked indoors, cozy on the couch with hot cocoa. I love how beautiful everything looks covered in freshly fallen snow. Like the world is covered in frosting! I love sledding, and watching Avery ski. But I also hate my hands being cold, and shoveling (thank goodness for a husband who handles that on his own!) I hate slipping on ice and landing on my butt (it happens at least once every year) and I hate that we’re often “trapped” inside.
I’m always trying to think of fun ways to keep Avery entertained. We have coloring books, puzzles, games, and lot’s of toys and books, but she needs things that hold her attention longer.
While visiting the Audubon Environmental Education Center a few weeks ago, we participated in a fun activity that taught about how salt melts ice. This gave me an idea for another activity at home, using the same lesson but bringing it up a notch!
I froze a dinosaur and some fake rocks in ice and let Avery go at it! Her mission: To rescue the Stegosaurus from the ice!
As you can see, she was very excited to get started! I had told her about this fun activity the night before, and the moment she got out of bed in the morning she was asking to work on her “dinosaur project”
The activity is simple to put together, and uses items that you already have on hand!
You will need:
- a bowl (plastic is best for removing the ice)
- plastic dinosaurs or other small toys
- excavation tools (Examples: spoon, paintbrush, toothbrush, water dropper, popsicle stick)
- baking sheet/bin/other container with sides.
Put your plastic dino in the bowl and add water. Do not fill the bowl! You’ll add water in layers so the toys don’t all float up to the top or sink to the bottom! Let the first layer of water freeze, then add another toy, and another layer of water, and freeze. Continue this until your bowl is full.
Once frozen, remove the ice block from the bowl (run a little warm water over the bowl, or let sit for a bit if you’re having trouble getting the ice out)
Place the ice in your container. (I used the lid from an aluminum baking pan, and put a paper towel down on the bottom so the ice wouldn’t slide around while Avery worked)
About halfway through, I gave Avery a cup of warm water so she could use that to melt the ice a little faster. It was fun to watch her reaction as she learned about the effect the salt and warm water had on the ice!
She’d get excited each time she was able to break off a chunk of ice! “He’s almost free!”
HOORAY!! We rescued the dinosaur!!
I loved this activity for so many reasons:
- It was easy to set up, using items we had on hand.
- It is easy enough for a two year old, while still offering a challenge to older children.
- Virtually mess free. (Avery did a great job keeping the water and salt in the container)
- Teaches lessons in science.
- It’s a sensory activity: Touch, sight, sound.
- Develops fine motor skills: Using tools and digging, and chipping at the ice, sprinkling salt on the ice.
- Teaches cause and effect, problem solving and persistence!!
- It is open ended, there is no right or wrong way to do it.
- It takes TIME! And keeps the child busy!
- It’s a great indoor activity in the winter, but would also be great outdoors in the summer!
- It’s FUN!
You can do this activity with whatever you have on hand! It doesn’t have to be dinosaurs. You can use other toys, and found objects, too! The possibilities are endless! HAVE FUN!
I’ve shared this fun sensory activity with you, now share yous! What is your favorite indoor activity?
Sensory Activity Sensory Activity