You know us, we like to freeze small toys. So this time, we scooped up our favorite alphabet letters and plopped them directly into the muffin tin for alphabet ice pods. This cold and icy sensory play is perfect for a hot summer day. It’s sensory play mixed with science and literacy. Sign me up! This is one alphabet activity I do not want to pass up.
Alphabet ice pods are a fun way to introduce letters
What I am looking for here is that my preschooler touches the different letters. Psst, preschool activities are anything but boring worksheets!
I want my four-year-old to explore how letters comprise lines, curves, slants, and tunnels. As my preschooler rescues the letter from the ice pod, he also holds it in his hands, taking a closer look.
Sitting on the sidelines watching him play, I mention the letter name, sound, and word associated with the letter. Something like, “That looks like a capital R. rrrrrrr, like rrrrrrobot.” Adding conversation like this to your day sounds trickier than it is. Read this parent’s guide to phonemic awareness for more simple tips.
RELATED: What is letter recognition? I have everything you need to know.
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This sensory play is also science!
This sensory bin is not just about the alphabet. As the ice melts, my preschooler is discovering the water cycle. (hello, science activities for kids!)
Excellent addition to this activity is using a salt grinder to help melt the ice. As he witnesses the chemical reaction, he also strengthens his fingers to improve fine motor strength.
RELATED: Looking for ways to play with letters? Check out our favorite alphabet toys!
We play with alphabet ice pods in our sensory bin
I know what you may be thinking. Is that a water table? It looks a lot like the under-the-bed storage bin I have my college tank tops stored. (only me?)
Well, you aren’t wrong. This is, in fact, an under-the-bed storage table that can also be used as a makeshift water table. And it is perfect! It is long enough for many children to play and shallow enough not to bend into. We have used this sensory bin for years!
How to set up alphabet ice pods
- Fill the muffin tin with water and freeze. The letters will float to the top but will freeze just fine.
- Next, allow the ice to freeze overnight and keep it in the freezer until you need an indoor activity.
- When ready, place the alphabet ice pods on the water table.
- Include squirt bottles and a salt shaker to help defrost the ice.
- Chat about the letter names and sounds as your child discovers them from the sensory ice pods.
RELATED: Love sensory play? Here are 40 Sensory Bins for Kids that won’t have rice and beans spilling into your couch cushions.
Many of the supplies for this ice sensory activity can be found in your kitchen. I am a big fan of replacing my ten-year-old utensils with newer items and passing the old supplies to my boys. Here is my go-to list for sensory tools.
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From your house:
- Muffin pan
- Salt (optional)
- Under the bed storage bin – aka your water table
Additional sensory play staples:
Okay, I said the toy above was my favorite, but this is a close favorite. Add these to ice or make CVC words with your kindergartener.
We discovered these squirt bottles in 2017 and haven’t looked back—they are durable and have many ways to play.
Let your child take the lead
Most of the sensory exploration was up to my preschooler. As he melted the ice, my four-year-old called out a letter and asked questions about letter names when he was unsure.
He also spent time moving the letters around the melted ice and going in his own direction with imaginary play. I am not sure about all the details, but certainly, a rescue mission was involved at some point.
Ready? Let’s freeze some letters for a sensory exploration water bin!
Few more alphabet activities
I find these letters on Amazon and have linked them in my alphabet toys for kids list. Use these lacing beads to spell, make necklaces, sort by color, or in ice pods like this!
You can teach your kids the alphabet with everyday conversations, regular practice, games, sensory bins, hands-on activities, and lots of play-based learning!
There are so many fun ways to teach your kids the alphabet. Play-based and hands-on activities are the best way to interest your kids in letters. Try simple matching games, sensory letter-searching bins, and outdoor movement. Use these learning activities to play at home.