Ice is water in a solid state, frozen when water reaches freezing point. Using ice in play and crafting is a really good way to teach young children some basic science as they learn about the properties of water. Ice play can be fun in the summer to cool down, and also fun in the winter when it is cold enough to see ice out and about.
Make some pretty ice lanterns to decorate outdoors - they are really easy to do and look lovely!
Make some ice suncatchers to hang outside.
Freeze watercolour paints to make some ice paints.
For some small world play, make an ice rink for your toys to skate in.
Freeze things in ice for your children to dig out and explore. If the temperature is very cold outside then you can leave a bowl full of water and small objects outside, or else you will need to do it in the freezer. You might find that the objects you put in either sink to the bottom or float, so you may need to freeze the water in several layers. Here are some instructions for a frozen dinosaur garden.
Young children will enjoy just playing with some ice cubes. Try adding food dye to the water before you freeze it. Then see what happens when different coloured ice cubes mix together.
Help older children to learn about the properties of ice by helping them to discover different ways to melt or remove objects from ice. For example, placing in sunshine, near a heater, pouring water over of different temperatures, holding tightly in the hands, smashing with a hammer.
If you have some ice lolly moulds then make your own ice lollies by freezing pureed fruit, smoothie or fruit juices. These are also really good for teething babies if you have one in the house!
Snow Babies - Lovely little book with sturdy tabs so that little fingers can help to turn the pages.
Baby Animals: In the Snow - Learn all about different animals and where they live.
Planet Animal: Snow and Ice - For older toddlers and pre-schoolers, an educational book about the animals which live in icy places.
Elmer in the Snow - We love Elmer the elephant, and this is a lovely story.
Play-Doh Magic Swirl Ice-Cream Shoppe - Play dough is always a hit with little ones, and this set lets them make their own ice creams.
Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Scoop Set - Less messy, lovely little ice cream pretend play set.
Ice Cream, Sorbet and Frozen Yoghurt Maker - Or how making about some real icecream?
Honeybake Ice Cream Sundae Blue - Gorgeous little wooden ice cream pretend play set.