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Ice Excavation Activity

Ice Excavation Activity
Miss Liz

Miss Liz

Lead Director @ Kids Club Macquarie Park

Looking to do something a little more interesting with your kids? Ice excavation can be a hands-on, fun sensory educational activity that not only teaches scientific concepts but also promotes important life skills like patience, problem-solving, and a greater appreciation for the natural world

They will have so much fun digging and smashing through the ice to reveal something special at the end! Seashells, Lego blocks or other small toys can be used to hide in the ice that are age appropriate.

For some extra fun you can place animal toys inside and create a animal rescue mission story!

Items and Equipment Needed

  • Bowls, containers, or cups of various sizes
  • Water
  • Small toys or trinkets (e.g., seashells, Lego blocks, animal toys)
  • Squeeze bottles
  • Toy hammer, small rolling pin, or any sturdy toy
  • A spacious tray


  1. Prepare bowls or containers of your choice and fill them with water. Using different-sized containers can make it more interesting.
  2. Submerge small toys or trinkets into the water. For a creative twist, you can include animal toys and invent a narrative around a daring animal rescue mission.
  3. Place the containers in the freezer overnight to let the water freeze solid. Once frozen, carefully remove the ice blocks from their containers and arrange them on a spacious tray.
  4. Encourage your child to embark on their excavation adventure. Equip them with squeeze bottles filled with warm water to melt the ice or sturdy tools like a hammer or rolling pin to chip away at the icy surface and uncover the hidden treasures.

Final Words or Additional Information

Introducing your children to the world of ice excavation not only promises hours of entertainment but also offers a wealth of developmental advantages. This hands-on activity, deeply rooted in experiential learning, supports various areas of growth during a child’s formative years:

  • Sensory Development:
    • Tactile Stimulation: The contrast between the cold ice and the warmth of melting water provides a unique tactile experience, enhancing their sense of touch.
    • Visual Engagement: The gradual unveiling of hidden toys or trinkets stimulates their visual senses and builds anticipation.
  • Cognitive Growth:
    • Cause and Effect Understanding: Observing the melting process helps children grasp the concept of cause and effect.
    • Problem-Solving Skills: Deciding the best approach to excavate the toys, whether through melting or chipping, challenges their decision-making and observational skills.
  • Fine Motor Skills Enhancement:
    • Manipulative Skills: Utilising tools like squeeze bottles, toy hammers, or rolling pins refines their motor skills, establishing a foundation for future tasks.
  • Science and Discovery:
    • Experimentation: Witnessing how warm water interacts with ice introduces basic scientific concepts related to temperature and state changes.
    • Vocabulary Building: Terms like “melt,” “freeze,” and “excavate” can expand their vocabulary associated with temperature and exploration.
  • Creativity and Imagination:
    • Narrative Creation: Crafting stories, such as an animal rescue mission, encourages imaginative play and storytelling.
    • Discovery Joy: The excitement of uncovering hidden items fosters a sense of wonder and curiosity.
  • Emotional and Social Development:
    • Achievement and Confidence: Successfully excavating toys bolsters their self-esteem and provides a sense of accomplishment.
    • Collaboration: If done in group settings, it promotes teamwork, turn-taking, and shared excitement.