This winter ice sensory activity is your next play activity. It has been on repeat for days with my three-year-old. He’s obsessed with sensory play, and I am obsessed with watching him explore.
RELATED: Does your child enjoy sensory play as much as my preschooler does? I dedicated this entire page to sensory activities for kids.
Counting bear sensory play? Yes, please!
You know these counting bears are my ultimate favorite. I used them as a teacher, and they also made fun toys for kids. They may be unassuming, but they are a huge hit!
Here are some other ways we play with the bears:
RELATED: Here is why I keep a sensory bin near where I work.
Craving a calmer morning?
Breakfast Invitations are simple learning games to begin the day with play.
So the question is, What’s next for these bears? Freeze them, of course! – it makes the perfect indoor game for kids when the days are too cold to go outside. Add them to your water table and watch them melt as your preschooler learns through play.
RELATED: New to sensory play? This introduction to sensory play will help.
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- Counting bears
- Muffin pan
- Squirt bottles
- Under the bed storage bin – aka your water table
- Something underneath – Here, I use our indoor cycling mat.
The star of the sensory play is these counting bears. Once frozen, they become a fun rescue mission for your preschooler. Freeze them in a muffin tin now to have an afternoon activity later. See that? A little winter activity magic.
RELATED: Here are 40 sensory activities for toddlers and preschoolers.
How to put together an ice sensory bin
Here’s a little secret if you are new here. Sensory play is one of the simplest ways for children to self-entertain during the day. I have found it so helpful in my parenting that I like to gift sensory supplies as birthday presents. Use everyday supplies to put this ice sensory activity together for your child or a playdate.
- Place a small amount of counting bears into each circle of a muffin tin.
- Add water.
- Freeze overnight.
- The following day, pop the circles out of your muffin tin.
- Place the circles of ice into your sensory bin. Here I am using an under-the-bed storage bin.
- Add colored WARM water.
- Optional: salt
RELATED: Like water play? You will love our water play roundup!
Why ice sensory play is important
Moving the ice, water, and counting bears around the sensory bin will help your child explore gravity, motion, and problem-solving. Our all-time favorite ice sensory bin is called, let’s paint the ice! Hop over to keep this idea in your back pocket once the sun comes back out.
Your preschooler will also begin to discover the transition from solid to liquid and what makes the ice melt. (the salt and warm water help)
Ready to rescue the bears? Let’s get this ice sensory party started!
In my experience, it does not since the color is so diluted.
Ice play is accessible to most families and introduces toddlers and preschoolers to science skills, such as how water melts from a solid to a liquid. It is also easy to set up, and children typically enjoy water/ice play. Read this to understand the importance of sensory play better.
One thing I have learned in my parenting is that toys can be frozen. Try adding plastic letters, small cars, or plastic buttons.