Sensory Ice Ball Play
How to create an Ice Ball for sensory play
Whew, it was hot today! On these balmy summer days, this activity is a great way to engage the senses, encourage imaginary play and to cool down. These sensory ice balls create a wonderful environment for tactile play. The soothing water and the freezing ice will have your Brisbane Kids entertained and happy.
For this activity, it is best to prepare the ice the night before.
What you will need to create an Ice Ball
- Food colouring
- Large container
Making the Ice Ball
Take the balloon and drop some food colouring in the colour of your choice into the balloon. We used a medicine dropper for accuracy and less mess. We used blue food colouring, as we were doing a Polar Ice Cap theme, but any colour will add to the experience. Or simply leave this step out if you want a clear ball of ice.
Fill the balloon with water. Don’t over fill it or make it too big. Tie off the balloon and then place it tie side down into your freezer. Leave for 12 hours.
After 10-12 hours, take the balloon out of the freezer and separate the balloon from the ice. This will leave a solid ice ball with a hole in the middle.
Pour one inch of water into the large container and add food colouring to the water, if desired. Then place the ice balls in bowls into the water (this will keep them from rolling around) and add animals, marbles, shells, figurines, beads, pom poms, stones… anything really.
Now let the imaginary play begin! This is a wonderful activity for children’s senses. The smooth, cold round ball is so inviting for small hands and entices them to stroke and rub their palms over the surface. The patterns that form inside the ice ball have great visual impact and are interesting to look at. Seeing how the ice changes as it melts is entertaining and exciting for small children. This is a fun way to cool down this summer.
How our children played
Miss 3 used the Arctic animals I had put out and played an imaginary game with her seal and polar bear swimming in the water and hiding in the ice cave. She then filled up the hollow ball with marbles and stones.
Master 5 started with a game of good guy/bad guy hiding out in ice caves. Then he used a cup to trickle water over the ice until the hole was large and proceeded to smash the ice ball into small pieces for ice burgs to end his game. And then he ate the ice!?
Master 7, who is obsessed with Mario, went and retrieved his Mario figurine collection and played Mario at the Winter Olympics.
This is a fun and easy sensory activity that can be adapted for any age group to play with. Let their imaginations run wild.
NOTE: If you freeze for 10-12 hrs the water freezes to the ballon first leaving the center hollow. If it’s over 12hrs you get a solid ball. The hole starts where the tie is as you place this side down in the freezer.