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
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.


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

  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!

    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. ;)

  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!

  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!

    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! :)

  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! :)

    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! :)


Well, hello there!

Welcome to Fun at Home with Kids! I'm Asia, a teacher (M. Ed) turned SAHM mom to two young kids: X and S. Around here we like to do a little bit of everything - science, art, crafts, sensory play, and small world play. Click here to read more about us!

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