Engaging ice activities for early years
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Engaging ice activities for early years

31 January 2022 By The YPO Team

Child doing paint popsicle activity

We’ve rounded up our favourite winter and ice themed activities for you to try. This type of sensory play encourages hands on exploration and creates wonderful learning opportunities such as imaginative play, language exploration, coordination and so much more.

Icy Alphabet Rescue

Children working on activity

A really engaging activity that natural creates conversations around hot and cold. Get a large bowl and fill it with water, along with letters and numbers, shapes, or figurines. Freeze overnight – either in the freezer or outside if the weather permits!

Once frozen, flip the bowl out onto a play tray or waterproof covering, along with pipettes, sprayers, and cups filled with warm and/or salty water and tools to help them hack through the ice. You could even add food colouring to the water to make it even more exciting.

What you’ll need:

876969  Transparent Letters
820915  Large Pipettes
302204  Spray Bottles


Paint Balling

Children working on activity

Let’s create a masterpiece and develop those fine motor skills! This simple but effective activity uses only a handful of resources that you might even have tucked away in your cupboards.

Provide a dish full of pom poms – we’ve chosen festive white and sparkly, but any will do! Encourage children to pick up the pom poms using pegs or tweezers, dip them in paint and dot them on paper to create a collage of different snowballs. Super easy and fun!

What you’ll need:

118075  Blue Assorted Card
731730  Washable Ready Mixed White Paint
301266  White Pom Poms
800193  Tweezers and Bowls


Paint Popsicles

Children working on activity

Children love to explore different (and messy!) ways to get creative with paint and this activity really ticks the box.

Add different coloured washable paints to a standard ice cube tray. Leave in the freezer until the paints have started to freeze then take them out and add popsicle sticks - these should stand up by themselves but if not, you’ll need to leave them a little longer!

Return to the freezer overnight until frozen solid and voilà – your paint popsicles are ready to use.

What you’ll need:

739678  Washable Ready Mixed Paint
230057 Wooden Lolly Sticks
Rubber/Silicone Ice cube tray


Natural Ice Pendants

Ice activity

Don’t let the cold weather put you off, venture outside to find colourful winter flowers, autumn leaves, conkers and sticks to make overnight ice pendants – a unique and fascinating activity.

Add your natural materials to the inside of a balloon along with water – but not too much! Finally, add string and remember to leave one end hanging out the top of the balloon before tying the balloon and leaving overnight, either outside or in the freezer. Once frozen, cut away the balloon to reveal your pendant.

What you’ll need:

718327 Thick String
551007 Balloons - Pack of 100
Natural Materials


These activities have been taken from Little Learners, a FREE magazine full of early years resources and activities. Click here to read our latest issue and enter our exclusive competition.

Categories: Early Years

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