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It has actually been hot here in Seattle (GASP!) the past few days, so we decided it was time for some good old fashioned ice play.  In times past, I have always gone the simple route and just frozen a toy or two in ice.  It's ALWAYS a hit.  This time I decided to go for something more intricate...and thus the Rainbow Ice Tower was born.

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I provided X and S with eyedroppers, salt, paintbrushes (thanks to a reader tip!), and squeezy bottles filled with water.


X was sooo enthralled.  He really loved how cold the ice was.


S was much more driven - she immediately began identifying one item at a time and working until it was free.


The squeezy bottles were the favorite of the tools presented.  And when paired with the salt, we started to see beautiful patterns form in the side of the ice tower as the salt exposed bits melted away.


The best part of this intricate tower was that it lasted for not one, not two, but THREE days of play.  Each time S would spend about an hour working diligently, then have me save what was left in the freezer for the next day.


Interestingly, we had a different experience with each of the materials.  The foam beads and plastic beaded necklace bits were the easiest to remove.  The bingo chips and pom poms presented a moderate challenge.  The feathers were the absolute hardest.  I'd say if your child is younger, go with foam bits/beads and the plastic beaded necklaces (please be aware of choking hazards if your child is under 3); if your child is older, add feathers for an additional element of challenge.

To make your own Rainbow Ice Tower, you'll need:

Bits and pieces in rainbow colors
Water
A tall vase or container

I used a muffin tin to gather bits and pieces in a variety of colors from our art supplies with S.  Once we had that, I took a tall vase and measured out how much water it would take to fill and divided by six (one layer for each color).  We used a Dollar Tree vase and it took 3/4 cup of water each time.  I added 3/4 cup of water, added our red items, and placed it in the freezer for a few hours.  I placed the remaining water in the refrigerator.  Using 3/4 cup of refrigerated water, I added the orange items on top of the now frozen red items and so on and so forth until I had all six layers frozen.  To remove the ice tower, I ran water over the outside of the vase and held it upside down.  If you don't have heat tempered glass, be sure to use caution and use cold water.  I got a little impatient and used hot water and managed to crack our Dollar Tree vase (oops!) so learn from my mistake.  :)  Once your ice tower is free, you can present it to your child in a shallow dish and let the fun begin!!!


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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children.  As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family.  I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision.  Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies).  Observe caution and safety at all times.  The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.

Comments

  1. What a clever idea! We will have to try this! Great for a warm day outside!

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  2. This is great! I just hid the kinetic sand again -- I have a love-hate relationship going with that stuff -- so this would be a great replacement, and it can go outdoors, too!

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    1. Hahahahaha - yesss. I love Kinetic Sand but it is messy for sure. YAY! I hope you have fun with it! I enjoyed excavating a few bits myself. ;)

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  3. oh this looks totally FUN! We've done the dinosaur bones excavating before and had a blast...i love this "Cool" take on it!

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  4. My kids and I have done this twice now - once with red white and blue trinkets for the Fourth of July and again with Arctic animals for a birthday party. Thanks for the great idea - my kids just love it!

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    1. Love the modifications! How cool! I think we'll have to try the arctic animals ourselves - we have the TOOB already. Thank you for the great idea! :)

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  5. This is an awesome idea! My two year old probably wont have the dexterity or patience for your big tower, but I'm thinking of doing a bunch of little things in a mini muffin tin! :)

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    1. Thank you! That sounds just perfect (and agree this one would be too complex for a 2 year old). I hope you both have fun with it! :)

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  6. My daughter (age 6) has been sick and couldn't go play in the snow today - I made this for her and she loved it! I used an empty Oxyclean plastic tub, so it was quite large. In addition to the foam pieces and necklaces, we added legos, polished stones, and her baby brother's plastic links. Thanks for the idea!

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    1. So sorry to hear that your daughter has been sick, but thrilled that this was able to cheer her up!!!! Love what you added to it - and great idea using the Oxyclean tub - I bet it looked amazing!!!

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  7. I can't wait to try this! I have a little one with OT struggles and this is another fun way for him to work on it. I think I will try to use our silicone loaf pan. I think the ice "chunk" should pop out of there pretty easy. Thanks for the idea!

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    1. The silicone molds work perfectly for ice! I hope you both have fun with it! :) :) :)

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  8. I remembered this vaguely and tried doing with my kids the other day. I used plastic juice jug for freezing and did one in an old cool whip container. I used all sorts of things like beads, plastic diamonds, Google eyes, yarn, pipe cleaners and leftover coloured ice cubes from an ice cube painting project.. Then we put a different color in each layer with food colouring. The kids loved picking at it. I'm glad I just remembered to look at this and notice the squeeze bottles, that's the one tool we were missing and would have been great!

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    1. Oh I bet it was awesome, Amy! Love all the bits and pieces you put in. The squeeze bottles and pipets are a great addition - we love 'em! :)

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  9. used this idea for my son's birthday party, but i colored the ice to look like dirty and used dinosaurs as that was the thyme of his party. I made one for each child at the party using oxy containers that i had saved. The kids all thought it was great and once the first toy was found they started digging and racing each other to see who could find all the toys first. I used warms and bugs (plastic of course) because that is what they would find in a real dig for dinosaurs. we used the same tools as listed above and the kids all had a great time. They were so busy with this project they did not want to give it up for the other games. This was a great twist to the grab bags you hand out at most parties. I used zip lock bags once they found all the treasure out of them. It was a big hit and even some of the parents got into the dig. Was really fun.

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    1. So so so so awesome! I super love it! What a brilliant idea!!!

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