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10 ways to play with ice

By Kari Svenneby
Last week we had a few cold days in Toronto, but with little snow. So what do you do when there are freezing conditions but no snow? We play with ice and create art. This is not just for kids, but also for everyone who is a child at heart. This past week has also been fun with all the interaction on Instagram and Facebook, it is great to hear how our readers play with ice and see how their posts can inspirer others to play more with ice.

Here are 10 ways to play with ice:


Make sun catchers:  Pick some items from your garden, place in a container with water and let it freeze.


Freeze different sized containers, use a stick as a drumstick, what kind of sounds do you hear?

Ice Legos

Freeze different containers with food coloring and put them outside. When frozen and play with them outside as legos. Read how this daycare in Norway uses iceblocks for outdoor play. Kay Donnelly Holmes (shared on our facebook page): Give the kids shakers of salt and some food coloring. Let them experiment with shaking and mixing... watching how the color works its way into the ice as the salt melts it. They can also stack ice cubes and hold them together with salt. This can be done indoors or out.

Make an ice castle out of milk bottles

Read how here

Make an ice lantern out of a balloon

If you want color you can add food coloring into the balloon before filling. The next step is industry standard water balloon filling. Wrap the balloon around the faucet and fill with water. Careful so you don’t break the balloons. Set them outside for freezing. The time to freeze depends on how cold it is where you live. We unwrapped the balloons when they were only half frozen, make a hole and pour out the water that is inside.

Make an ice lantern out of a bucket of water: Simply pour water into a bucket, take it outside and let it freeze. Depending where you live… You get the idea… Again, we only freeze it halfway. Remove the ice from the bucket, punch a hole to drain the unfrozen water, put a candle in and you are set!

Make ice figures:

Put all your cookie cutters on a tray and fill with water. Set them outside for freezing (how long depends on how cold it is). When frozen solid break the excess ice and remove the frozen cookie cutters. Use a little hot water around the edges of the cookie cutters to release the ice cookies from the mold.

Collect sticks, leaves, pine cones and let the kids freeze them in old plastic containers.  Shared on our Facebook page by Bridget Maddox Lorenz.  Another of our kids favorite is breaking the thin sheet of ice off the top of puddles, looking through them, breaking them into shapes, etc. says Bridget.

Collect icicles and stick them into the snow to make forests. Use ice cubes to make windows in little snow villages. Shared by Frances Vettergreen Visual Artist on our Facebook page.

Go for skating

Check out Go Explore Nature's 31 Days of Backyard Nature Fun

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Kari Svenneby is the founder and CEO of, a grass roots community helping connect children and adults to the outdoors by providing simple and creative ways to get outside through play, cooking and lifestyle. She is also an entrepreneur of her own line of European style Safety Reflectors.'s safety reflectors are distrubuted to stores in Toronto and sold online.
Kari is also an advocate and public speaker about outdoor play and has been mentioned in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Backpacker Magazine and many more for her work to get kids and adults outside.

Follow me on Instagram (activekidsclub) and Facebook for daily updates; I love it when you play along with me.

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