July 4th Sensory Play With Ice

by Meghan

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Most of our ‘projects’, as Big M likes to call them, are targeted toward the preschool aged child, and I modify them so that Lil’ M, at almost 2, can participate as well.  This week, however, I set up a fun, July 4th Sensory Play activity just for Lil’ M… and it turned out, Big M loved it just as much.  So much so that both requested I make more so they could do it again!

July 4th Sensory Play with Ice, Water and Filters

July 4th Sensory Play with Ice

Lil’ M’s favorite thing to do these days is pour… be it sand or water, she loves to scoop it up and transfer it from one container to another, all over herself and wherever else she happens to be.  Whenever we need quick and easy entertainment, water play is an easy go-to during the warm summer months.  To beat the heat, I thought we would add a little ice to our water play this week.


Ice cube trays
Food coloring
Coffee Filters (optional)

Cost: Free – Less than $5
Prep Time: Less than 5 minutes (allow for freezing ice overnight)
Clean-Up Time: Less than 5 minutes

I found some great star ice cube trays at the Dollar Store last summer and had yet to use them.  What better time than in preparation for July 4th?  I filled the trays with water and added a drop of food coloring to each star.  We made red, blue and yellow.  Trust me – a little goes a LONG way.  While the stars add some shape-fun to the mix, you could easily do this with regular cubes or any shape tray you have.

Once the ice was frozen, I dumped the cubes into a bowl, and took it out to the driveway.  I filled up a bucket of water and let the girls go to town!

Preschool Lessons

While Lil’ M was thoroughly amused just pouring the water and trying to catch star cubes as they swirled in the bowl, there were so many more lessons to be learned by Big M at 3.5.  To add a little more holiday fun for her, I gave her a handful of coffee filters and told her she could use them to make fireworks.

July 4th Sensory Play with Ice Fireworks on Filters

We talked about how the heat of the pavement caused the ice to melt, and what colors were made as the different colors mixed on the filter.  She decided to help things along and started pouring water on the ice, thus ending our fireworks.

July 4th Sensory Play with Ice - Helping the Ice Melt

PGPB Guru Tip: This week at Dollar Tree there is a whole section of plastic kitchen utensils in vibrant colors perfect for kids’ water play – funnels, measuring cups, measuring spoons.  That’s where I picked up all our purple plastic water tools!

The only complaint registered was that the ice melts too fast!  Definitely have to make more ice for next time, store it in bags and dole it out in batches.  We already have another batch in the freezer to play again tomorrow.

July 4th Sensory Play with Ice

If you enjoyed this post, check out all our Summer and July 4th posts.  You can also find more Summer fun favorites from all over the web on our Summer board on Pinterest.

Follow Meghan @ PlaygroundParkbench’s board Summer on Pinterest.

Linked up at Toddler Fun Friday.

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Mary Wright June 27, 2015 - 1:11 pm

What a great idea. The boys love water play too especially with all their ocean animals they got for Christmas. Mommy’s garden tub becomes their ocean exploration.

PGPBMeghan June 27, 2015 - 2:13 pm

We made some sea animals too with a Jell-O mold… but that’s a post for another day 🙂


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