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.
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…
Next we sprayed the ice cube with warm water. This builds hand strength.
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.
We repeated these steps over and over and over again…
…until all of the toys were finally free!
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.