Ice Cube Painting: Sensory Activity for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Ice cube painting is a super sensory play activity for toddlers (it’s completely taste safe!) and preschoolers on a warm, sunny day. It’s cold and colourful and slippery too!

And if you put a piece of poster board, white paper or paper towel underneath your sensory play, you might just discover a sweet painted surprise at the end. This almost accidental artwork is a lovely keepsake or can be used to create a card for a friend or family member.

Like we did with our rainbow magic milk experiment, we’ve used neon colours for this ice cube painting activity, which resulted in really bright, beautiful coloured ice cubes – so cool…no pun intended!

Ice painting sensory play idea for toddlers and preschoolers

Ice Cube Painting & Sensory Play

You will need:

  • Ice cube tray
  • Water
  • Neon food coloring
  • Large tray
  • White poster board, paper or kitchen towel/paper towel

How to make coloured ice cubes for sensory play


First you will need to prepare your ice cubes. Start by pouring water into the ice tray. Do not overfill the individual sections of the tray or the individual colours may run into other sections.

Coloured ice cubes for sensory play

Add 2-3 drops of liquid food colouring to each section of the ice cube tray.

Place the tray in the freezer and leave until frozen completely.

To play:

Place a sheet of poster board, paper or kitchen towel into the large tray.

If you don’t have a tray you can use the lid of a plastic storage bin or a short sided bin, like that you might use for a sensory bin. To help minimize any mess, take the tray outside for play.

Coloured ice sensory play

Empty the frozen ice into the tray.

Ice painting sensory play idea

Allow your child to explore the ice cubes. The ice will start to melt and leave colors on the poster board.

Coloured ice sensory play idea

Ice painting sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers

The neon food colouring is especially bright and colourful as the ice melts.

Coloured ice painting sensory play idea

Summer sensory play ideas

As they play, you might like to ask your child some questions like;

  • How does the ice feel? What does it remind them of?
  • What colours can they see?
  • What can they see happening to the ice as they play?
  • Why do they think the ice is melting?
  • What could they do to make the ice melt more slowly, or more quickly?

Ice play sensory idea for toddlers and preschoolers

Ice painting for toddlers and preschoolers

When your child is finished playing with the ice, pour the melted ice water into the sink. Blot the poster board with kitchen paper/paper towel to remove excess liquid.

ice painting for kids

Hang the art work to dry.

ice painting artwork sensory play

For more sensory fun in the sun be sure to check out these ideas…

Over 55 super ideas for sensory binsCool Science for Kids- How to Make a MicroscopeNature Scavenger Hunt Printable

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