Finding sensory activities for a baby who hasn’t learn to sit up unassisted (I.e. below 6mos) can be tough. I’ve been meaning to try so many activities with Allie but they usually require her to at least be able to sit unassisted to enjoy them. So wait, I shall.
I first saw this activity on an Aussie mom’s Instagram account some time back. It was hot in summer and she froze water beads into big blocks of ice so her sons can smash them all up using wooden mallets. I had no intentions on letting Allie smash them, and since she’s still so young, I knew everything had to be in a ziplock bag in case she curiously decides to eat a water bead or two.
But I wanted to expose Allie to the world of colours, and for her to experience how the cold feels like. This activity went along much better than I expected! So here it is, for your consideration, especially if your child is really young like Allie, though I highly suspect this activity will be equally loved by toddlers and older kids.
So first things first: I expanded some water beads, then sorted them according to colour, put them in little silicon muffin tin then added more water to fill the cavities. I then put them into the freezer and let them firm up overnight.
The next morning, I popped the ice blocks out of the silicon muffin tin and placed them into a big ziplock bag. Don’t they look pretty already? Just water breads and water. No colouring required. (yay to clean fingers!)
And that’s it really, next I left it to Allie to explore it by herself! Let’s see she what she did:
She prodded the bag carefully, wondering why these funny-shaped things were in a bag. When she realised the ice blocks were cold, she wanted to put them in her mouth! (maybe they reminded her of her frozen teething toy?) See, wise mommy moment- thankfully I had everything safe in the ziplock bag!
Not wanting her to stuff the bag into her mouth and slob saliva all over, I decided to hold the bag against the light.
She took some time to look at the colours. I wonder what else goes on in that little mind of hers.
She then tried to touch the different ice blocks. (Yay to tummy time!)
I was glad I placed them in mini muffin tins instead of the regular sized ones. It made the activity duration appropriate for Allie’s attention span. The ice took about 10min to melt down on a warm morning.
As Allie prodded and melty blocks of colour, I notice something interesting happening- The water beads were disintegrating into little rainbow confetti-like pieces! Now that’s a surprise! I expected the harden water beads to melt and go back to its soft bouncy state. Little did I know they will fall apart without smashing! Now that’s a new realization for me!
Look at it. Doesn’t it look pretty? By the end of the activity when all the ice has melted, all I’ve got left is this rainbow-specked gel in the bag. Easy clean up; just bin the bag!
In hindsight, I could have kept the bag, freeze it up again and it would have been a perfect ice gel pack to keep my picnic food cool!
Now I can’t wait to do this activity again. Give it a try!