Learning Ideas

Summer Boredom Busters – Ice Excavations

summer boredom busters

Thanks for stopping by for another week of my Summer Boredom Buster series!  If you haven’t already, be sure to check out what we’ve been up to the past few weeks – the link are at the bottom of this post!  If you like what we’ve done, be sure to follow along via email or on Facebook.

The coolers days from last week were short lived and this week brought brutal heat to our area.  Since I can’t do much outside with the baby when its mid-90’s and humid, I have to come up with some activities that M and J can do that allows me to supervise, going back and forth inside the house.  What better way to beat the heat then playing with ice?


To make your own ice excavations, you will need:

  • Plastic bowl (any size as long as it holds the “treasure” you want to freeze in it)
  • Water
  • Treasure – this can be any miscellaneous toys or items lying around the house

This activity took a little but of planning because you need to give the ice time to freeze.  The night before, I took two medium sized plastic bowls, filled them with water and then put a handful of toys in each one.  M’s bowl had: a foam letter M, dinosaur, plastic toy hair bow and a pop-it toy.  J’s bowl had: a foam letter J, dinosaur, toy square and a fish from the bathtub.


I made a slightly smaller block of ice for J so it would be easier for him to extract the treasure.  Picking toys is game of “will it sink or float?” and it’s best to choose a mix of things that will float as well as land somewhere under the surface.  This will extend the activity even longer as they work to get each item.  In hindsight, I wish I had one or two new trinkets that would have added an element of surprise but oh well!

When they were ready to play, I popped the ice out of each bowl by running some warm water on the outside of the bowl.  Then I set them up on the (empty) water table outside and gave each of them a toy hammer and screwdriver without telling them why.  Their curiosity was definitely piqued as they waited to see what we were up to.


I put each ice block into the water table and explained they had to use the tools, or any other ideas they had, to get through the ice to the treasure inside.  Within seconds they were smashing away but got frustrated pretty quickly that they weren’t making much progress.  The help things along we poured water over each of the ice blocks to get the melting started.  Between the water and the heat, they were able to get everything out in about 30 minutes.  Then they asked for more water in the table, took their treasure and kept on playing.

The best part of this was when M said to me “Mom, this is so much fun.  Thank you for making these for us!”  What more could I ask for?  She also asked if we could do them again, which we have but this time I let her pick the stuff to freeze.

I hope you and your little ones have are having as much fun as us this summer!  For more ideas, check out our previous Summer Boredom  Busters and be sure to come back each Monday throughout the summer!

Week 1: Easy Bird Feeders

Week 2: Water Play – Pretend Dish Washing

Week 3: Chalk Towns

Week 4: Ice Excavations

Week 5: Cotton Ball Painting

Week 6: Homemade Popsicles

Week 7: Giant Bubbles

Week 8: Water Play – Washing the Car

Week 9: Sun melted Crayons

Week 10: Obstacle Course



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