Super Cool Ice Play

One super “cool” and fun way to encourage sensory motor exploration is with ice play! You might be thinking, “What is ice play?!” Well, many years ago, we shared a blog post about playing with ice in the bath tub as a sensory and fine motor activity for kids. This idea was designed to build skills and add a fun component to the bath tub. That simple sensory activity still stands today!

ice play

Ice Play

Ice play simply means playing with ice! Ice is a readily available tool for building skills in several areas:

Ice play can be anything! We’ve used ice to develop sensory motor skills in several different ways:

Scooping Ice- All you need is a few bowls, some ice, and some spoons to work on scooping and pouring skills.

Smashing Ice- Smashing ice is a great proprioceptive activity that fosters motor planning and hand-eye coordination skills.

Ice Bath- The ice bath is all the rage right now for health reasons, but we aren’t talking about the traditional ice bath used by athletes. When my kids were younger, we used this sensory and motor activity to play in the bathtub. Fill the bath as you normally would and add a few ice cubes to target motor skills.

ice cube sensory play

Tonight we filled the tub with warm water, added children, and ice???!!!
We threw in a few ice cubes and added some cups to catch the ice cubes for a fun change to the typical bath time.
This is such a great game to work on baby’s eye-hand coordination. She watched the ice slip around and chased after it with her hands. She was able to catch it most of the time.
Crossing midline (reaching the right hand over to the left side of the body and vice versa) is crucial for so many functional skills of a child. Crossing midline builds neural pathways of the brain and is needed for learning. 

(that’s a lot of ice…we didn’t use it all…only a handful of ice cubes!)




The big kids used cups to catch the ice cubes, transfer them cup-to-cup, and kid-to-kid! 
We warmed up the water once, but a few ice cubes didn’t make the bath too cool. Keep a close eye on baby to make sure any caught ice cubes don’t become choking hazards. 
Baby Girl loves her bath time and ice only made it better today!


More sensory play activities that are built right into everyday functional tasks:


The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook walks you through sensory processing information, each step of creating a meaningful and motivating sensory diet, that is guided by the individual’s personal interests and preferences.

The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook is not just about creating a sensory diet to meet sensory processing needs. This handbook is your key to creating an active and thriving lifestyle based on a deep understanding of sensory processing.

Child's feet and hands in a bathtub with water and ice as the child grasps ice cube. Text reads Sensory ice play

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