Summer Activities for Kids — Ice Cube Excavation

I’ve seen this idea on Pinterest for years, and I’m not sure why it took me so long to try it at home!  It’s been alternating between way too hot to go outside and thunderstorming over here, so I decided it was time to do this ice cube excavation activity to mix things up a bit.  I took some of L and N’s favorite toys and put them in a loaf pan.  I filled the pan with water and left it in the freezer overnight.  When it was frozen, I popped the ice cube out [dip the pan into warm water if you’re having trouble getting it out] and put it on a tray with a “hammer and chisel” [mallet from another toy and a small screwdriver], a spray bottle filled with warm water, and a ramiken with salt and a small scoop.

excavation 1

I first showed L how to use the hammer and chisel to tap on the ice until pieces broke off.  This is a great hand-eye coordination activity.  Unless your child closes her eyes every time she hits it…

excavation 2

Next we sprayed the ice cube with warm water.  This builds hand strength.

excavation 3

We also scooped up some salt to pour on the ice, since salt lowers the freezing point of water and helps the ice to melt.  This works on fine motor and dexterity skills while teaching a mini science lesson.

excavation 4

We repeated these steps over and over and over again…

excavation 5

…until all of the toys were finally free!

excavation 6

And then we played with the ice because it was fun!

This gem of an activity kept L busy for 1 FULL HOUR, folks.  An hour.  You tell me what else can do that.



13 thoughts on “Summer Activities for Kids — Ice Cube Excavation

  1. What a fun thing to do! And you had the guts to do it indoors! Most parents I know would not have tried water, ice and salt anywhere else but the patio. She looks like she had a great time!

  2. Great idea. From the perspective of a semi-retired Pre-K teacher, I love how you integrate the building of small muscles. I’m sure she had a blast. I’m adding this to my most recent post also because Summer is NOT over yet!! Yahoo!

  3. It’s winter here for me, but I’m definitely keeping this one up my sleeve! How old is your daughter, btw?

  4. I love this idea sadly max is a bit young. I can imagine him poking his or my eye out with the screwdriver and eating the salt 🙂

  5. I’ve been meaning to do this with my kids, it looks like so much fun. Its a great thing for them to do in the back yard on a very hot day.

  6. I’ve never heard of this before one nephew & one daughter love those fossil digging kits but they are not always available. This is brilliant! Thank you!

  7. Ive been thinking about doing this sometime. But was back and forth on it. It looks so much fun and now we will be doing this over the weekend 😀

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