Sensory ice play

Our latest theme is castles and everything that goes with them, so I decided to explore using different materials to build our own castles at home.


I liked the idea of using ice cubes, but wanted to make them a bit more interesting. I thought about what I could add to keep with the autumnal season and found some leaf sequins in the craft cupboard, so added those. I left some floating on the top and mixed some into the water so that they weren’t all just sat the bottom of the ice cubes once the water had frozen.

Sensory decorated ice play

Sensory decorated ice play

Sensory decorated ice play


I also decided to add glitter to one tray, to be honest this didn’t work overly well and as soon as I popped the ice cubes out of the tray the glitter all came off. That said, the glitter added an extra sensory element and when the ice cubes melted, leaving glittery water, Oliver declared it party water. Fun all round!


The initial idea was to build a castle from ice cubes, but after we built a couple of towers, Oliver wanted to pretend the ice cubes were trains instead, so I went with it. While playing ‘ice trains’, we talked about how the ice was cold, what colour the sequins were and that the sequins were shiny. But we mainly stuck to creating scenarios, such as a train stopping at a station so people could get on and go to work. We also made trains of all different lengths and counted the ‘carriages’ (ice cubes) on each train.

Sensory decorated ice play

Sensory decorated ice play 

Once most of the ice had melted, leaving Oliver’s ‘party water’, he wanted to pretend the remaining ice cubes were boats. This opened up a conversation about our trip to Conwy Castle a couple of weeks ago, where we saw boats on the river from the front of the castle.

 Sensory decorated ice play


I like the house to be a toasty 21 degrees, so obviously the ice melted quite quickly, But we had so much fun creating scenes before it did melt. This activity in particular was a great example of allowing children to be in control of their playing and because Oliver was in control of what direction the activity went, he became a lot more engaged with it.


What do you think of our sensory ice play? Let me know in the comments, Twitter, Instagram or on Facebook. You can also follow me on Pinterest.

3 thoughts

  1. That looks likes like good fun, such an amazing idea. I can’t wait to try it with my little one when she’s old enough x

  2. WE’ve done this but with a great big block that I froze toys into. The goal for the kids was to rescue the toys. I had to freeze it in three layers because it was so big and so that the toys didn’t all float to the top but it was worth it because the kids had great time trying to work out how to get them all out. We ended up using nails and a hammer and pouring warm water on the block to help free the animals. Fun.

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