If it stays nice and sunny, little ones might enjoy some sensory exploration of different temperatures using ice. These need a little planning the day before to put things in the freezer but other than that no materials so it’s perfect for during lockdown. Here are a few different suggestions of ways you could add some ice into your play that might suit different ages of wee ones. It is nice to expand the range of sensations that babies have by including this cold and slippery material. They might not be sure of the feeling at first so don’t force it, just give them time to try it, think about it and try it again. When they are unsure of something new babies also look to you for guidance on if its ok or not so you can reassure them by demonstrating and playing yourself.
This is a way to extend a sensory tray of water like we made last week here by adding an iceberg to your ocean. If you fill a food bag with water and put it in the freezer the night before you will be able to peel out the ice in a nice big shape that you can float in your water. You can dye that water blue with paint or food colouring too, if you like, and add some of your child’s toys so they can do some imaginary play in this small ocean world. This one is also good for babies as you can make sure the ice is big enough that it can’t cause any risk of being put in a mouth. When it starts to break up or get small you can just stop. It can also be fun to make the water a little warm so there is lots of contrast of temperature.
Freeze some toys (sturdy ones) into an ice block by putting them into a Tupperware or freezer bag of water. The next day you can give them to toddlers on a tray or in the garden along with a toy hammer to excavate the toys from the ice. Or you could let them experiment by running hot water over them to free the toys.
Stained glass ice windows
These look really beautiful and it’s fun to watch them melt. Get wee ones involved the day before laying out the pattern and then they will enjoy revealing it the next day from the freezer. You need a mixture of leaves and flowers (if babies are still putting things in their mouth check these are edible flowers like marigolds or violas). You need water in a shallow Tupperware and show little ones how to put flowers or individual petals into the water in a pattern that they are happy with. Then just freeze it till the next day and reveal their masterpiece. Set it up somewhere so you can watch it melt and look at the light coming through the colours. In the winter this can be fun to do by leaving the water outside to freeze and you can go a whole day without your window even melting if it’s chilly enough outside.