Ice Sensory Play: 3 Activities your Kids will Love

For years I’ve been working with a lovely boy, who is growing into a young man with Autism. He loves all kinds of sensory play and I’ve developed many different ideas over the years. He especially likes ice sensory play. Here are 3 ice sensory activities we love doing over and over!

What is Ice Sensory Play?

Sensory play is play and simple activities that stimulate the senses. From touch, taste, and smell there are so many different activities you can use to stimulate the senses. The benefits of sensory play range from stimulating the senses to assisting in brain development to encouraging creativity.

When I talk about ice sensory play I’m using ice as the focal point. We’re touching it, painting with it, and learning how it forms and melts.

Ice Sensory Play: How Ice Melts

Not only does my young friend love sensory play he also loves science, so many of the activities we do together focus on science in some fashion. In this instance, I took little farm animal toys (but you can use any kind of small plastic toy you want) and froze them inside a circular cake pan.

ice sensory play

Once they were frozen, I let them sit overnight, I took them out and put them inside a brownie pan to keep the mess to a minimum.

Then I took out a measuring cup and salt and asked leading questions like, “How to do you think ice melts?” “Will any of these things help the ice melt?” and we experimented.

He poured cold and hot water onto the ice to see what would happen. Both the hot and cold water helped the ice melt, but obviously, the hot water made it melt faster.

Then he put salt on the ice and we noticed that it made the ice start to crack and made crackling noises. Together, we listened to the ice make cracking noises. He even had the idea to take it outside on the deck and smash it!

It could also be fun to get play hammers and chisels if you feel that your child has the appropriate hand-eye coordination. Make sure to wear eye protection if you do this.

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Over the years I've come up with many sensory activities for my friend with autism. Here are 3 of his favorite ice sensory play activities.

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Ice and Snow Tray

Who doesn’t love a good sensory play tray? During the winter we always get a bag of Insta-Snow from Spangler Science (they have amazing monthly subscription boxes too!) With this just add water “snow” you can get hours of fun!

ice sensory play

We put the snow in the cup and added water because my young friend loves erupting volcanoes and it looks pretty similar. Then we dumped the snow into a cooking pan and added all kinds of fun things like ice cubes penguin figurines.

Go in the kitchen and grab a bowl of water, spoons, eye droppers, and anything else you can think of for the kids to use in manipulating the snow and ice cubes. It helps those who have sensitivity to the ice, so they don’t have to touch it, but it also helps to learn to manipulate the various tools in use.

Read More: How to Dye Pasta for Sensory Play

Ice Sensory Play: Painting with Ice Cubes

Yes, you read that right, painting with ice cubes!

This activity will have your kids getting creative and you’ll probably have everything you need for this project already in your home. Prep time is as long at it takes for your freezer to make ice cubes, and the kids will have lots of beautiful art to give you too the special people in their lives.

For full instructions click here to learn how to make your own ice cube painting.

ice sensory play

Do you do anything fun for ice sensory play? let me know in the comments!

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