Summertime Ice Play

In preparation for soaring temps this summer break, make some room in your freezer.

Fill a few containers or ice-cube trays with water and get the kids to sprinkle in some pretty petals, leaves, water-beads or even small-play toys and loose parts. A tray of frozen shapes* can delight all ages and water play is the best sort of summer fun. Add few choice kitchen utensils - tongs, an ice cream scoop, chop sticks - and a young child will be absorbed as well as cooled down, whilst honing those motor skills. Offer to older children and watch as they explore in their own way, perhaps inventing a new game or activity with the ice.

You could even add the ice cubes to a paddling pool or large tub** - even if they don’t fancy getting in there’s even more play potential (not to mention science discovery) when ice meets water. Children of all ages will enjoy the sensory, slippery fun and their natural curiosity will be stimulated as they float, smash, slide and watch it all melt into a cool liquid once again.

Whilst you’re in the freezing mood, we know not of a child who’ll refuse an ice-lolly on a hot day. Rather than waiting for the ice-cream van, you can make your own far more cheaply and be in control of the contents. There are loads of online recipes to browse - but plain old fruit juice with added orange peel or a smoothie mix make great lollies. If you haven’t got moulds, a discarded yoghurt pot with a clean stick will do the job.

So, fill the freezer now and thank yourself next time you have hot and bothered children in need of cooling down.

*pour a little water in a dish or tray containing the ice shapes, or let them begin to melt as they can freeze-burn skin direct from the freezer.

**it goes without saying - water is a hazard to young children. Always supervise.