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Ice Excavation – Kid’s Activity To Beat The Heat

We are having a heat wave here in Wisconsin.  Definitely the most hot and humid summer like days so far!  It is hot hot hot, and being outside requires activities that include lots of playing in the water.  We are almost done with our 2013 summer fun list and here is one of the activities that we did recently to beat the heat.  My son called it an Ice Excavation and it was a project that they enjoyed from start to finish.  The object of the activity is to learn more about solids, liquids, water and ice.  Learn ways to remove things from ice, and experiment with ways to turn it into a liquid again.  The perfect activity for a hot day for your school age, or preschool kids.


Your first step is to gather some supplies!  You will need:

a small shaped baking pan (preferably the molded plastic ones for easy removal of the ice)  All we had were metal ones so we did with what we had


A bunch of little tiny toys

A freezer and some “tools” for Later

I had the kids head to their rooms to scrounge up some random little toys.  They had a blast picking out things that they wanted to Freeze into an ice-block.  We used magnetic letters, counting bears, little figurines and toys.  Use anything that won’t get wrecked if it gets wet.

Let the kids add them to the pan and then dump some water over them to cover them.  Then stick them in the freezer until they are completely frozen.  The kids enjoyed talking about how water turns from a liquid to a solid, and they check the freezer 25 times to check and see f it was frozen yet.  A good lesson in patience as well.



Once frozen you can remove the ice-block from the pan.  It is super easy if you have a molded rubber pan.  If you use a metal pan, like us, dip the bottom of it in some hot water to loosen the ice from the pan first.  Now take the ice-block outside and let the kids experiment with ways to free their toys from the it.




My kids used little tools from their construction sets, the hose with different temperature water, and even a nice warm puddle outside.  Once they realized that the simplest way to free the toys was by chucking the ice onto the sidewalk things got moving fast.



My son loved the whole process from adding the toys to water to freeing them from the block of ice.  The best part for him was when the toys were half way out of the ice and then he was able to free them with his “tools”.  My little girl’s favorite part was chucking the ice, stepping on it, eating it, and saving her little toys.  Either way they had a great time and it was a great activity for us to do together on a hot day.  They even got to learn something along the way!