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!!!