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Water Play with Ice Shapes

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Adding colorful ice shapes to the water table offers some interesting water play for toddlers. Toddlers and preschoolers will love scooping up the slippery ice shapes and stirring them around in the water. This simple hands-on learning activity will provide lots of fun with counting, sorting and matching ice shapes.

Ice shapes water play activity for toddlers

Water Play with Ice Shapes

We love setting up the water play area (see our huge list of baby and toddler water play activities) and there are so many reasons why we love it. As well as it being heaps of fun, water play also provides calming, sensory and fine motor experiences. Water play is easy to set up with just a plastic bin and water toys such as funnels, pouring cups, and sponges.

You can easily add more learning fun to simple water play with frozen cubes and other ice shapes. This toddler activity is the perfect complement to our color changing water table activity. 

containers for making frozen ice shapes

How to make your frozen ice shapes

What you need: 

One of the great things about this ice play activity is that you don't need to go out and buy any fancy items - in fact everything you need is probably already at home.

Look for containers you have on hand that have different shapes. We used a yogurt container, a divided produce container and small jam pots.

These containers provided us with different sizes as well as different shapes.

You also need:

What to do: 

Fill the containers with water.

Add two or three drops of paint or food coloring.

Freeze and you’re done.

So simple!

observe ice shapes colors filtering out into the water table

How to play with the ice shapes in water

Put several different ice shapes in the water. Notice how the coloring seeps out of the shapes as the ice hits the water - this is such a great opportunity for discussion!

scooping up ice shapes with water tools

You can extend the play by adding other toys and tools to the water play:

Initiate conversation by asking your toddler about their play. 

How many ice shapes are in the bowl?

Does the ice feel cold?

Is the water changing color?


ice shapes toddler water play activity

The addition of ice shapes to a water bin offers opportunities for learning through play.

  • Recognize and name the shapes and colors.
  • Count and sort the ice shapes.
  • Play ‘sink and float’ games with the ice and water toys.
  • Observe the ice shapes melting.

ice shapes in water toddler activity

While your toddler plays with the cool ice shapes they are gaining fine motor skills and sensory experiences, along with opportunities for simple scientific observations like the melting of the ice and the sinking and floating properties of the ice and water toys. If you enjoyed this activity you will love our huge collection of baby and toddler water play activities - you might even like to take our FREE 10 Day Simple Sensory Bin Challenge.  You can also join our Facebook group or follow us on Instagram for more fun toddler activities.


Some more posts you might enjoy are:

Sensory Play Ideas for Toddlers

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20 Painting Ideas for Toddlers

50 Great Books for Toddlers 

50 great books for toddlers

About the Author

Heather is a former preschool teacher and founder of, a website providing early learning resources for teachers and parents. She focuses on creating fun crafts and activities that engage developmental skills while promoting hands-on learning through play. Follow her on FacebookPinterestTwitterInstagram and Google+