It’s summer. It’s hot. In fact, today the weather icon on my computer is a thermometer ON FIRE. It’s tempting to stay inside with the air conditioner on full blast. But parents know it’s not fun to stay cooped up inside with active children. Instead, stay cool outside by playing with ice.* Here are a few easy ways to get started:
Simply. A bucket filled with ice cubes is sure to spark some free play. Provide your children with small containers and spoons for scooping. Add some toy animals and you have an instant arctic habitat. Toy helicopters and airplanes might circle overhead looking for someone to rescue. If you have a small kiddie pool, purchase a few bags of ice from the corner store and fill it up. You kids might decide to hop right in!
Colorfully. Add a few drops of food coloring to water before freezing. Put the colored cubes in a large bin of water and watch what happens when the colors mix. Children will enjoying swirling the colors with popsicle sticks. You can also use the colored cubes to “paint” or the sidewalks, or provide them with paper to create a masterpiece.
Archaeologically. Become an ice excavator. Freeze toys or other objects in blocks of ice. For extra interest use containers of varying shapes and sizes. Paper cups and plastic storage containers work well. Give your children a few tools (nothing too sharp) so they can chip away at the ice in order to get the treasure. The hotter the sun, the faster the ice will melt to help your little archaeologists. You can also provide a large bucket of water in which to float the ice treasures.
Scientifically. Try an easy experiment with ice and salt. Place a wet piece of string on an ice block and sprinkle with salt. Wait a minute or so and the string will adhere to the ice, allowing you to pick it up.
Deliciously. Did you know you can make ice cream in a bag? Combine ½ cup half and half, 1 TBSP sugar and ¼ tsp vanilla in a pint-sized zip top plastic bag. You might want to double bag it, just to be safe. Fill a gallon-sized bag half full with ice cubes and add 6 TBSP of rock or regular salt. Place the smaller bag inside the larger one and seal. Shake the bag or let your kids throw it back and forth and in about 5 minutes you will have a yummy treat. Eat it up, because it melts fast!
And parents can play, too: fill a tall glass with ice, add your favorite beverage, sit back in the shade and watch your kids play.
*Remember small ice cubes can be a choking hazard. Supervise young children appropriately.