It’s rainbow week around here and we are so excited to share this fun Rainbow Sensory Ice Excavation activity with you! This fun ice play activity is a great fine motor activity that also teaches us about two of the five senses – touch and sight! Kids will learn about the feeling of cold and different textures of ribbon as they work to remove each color from the ice.
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Today we are participating in the Storybook Science with Inspiration Laboratories. During this series, there will be a
new science activity to go along with a children’s book. This week is about sensory science and exploring the five senses.
We recently read What Makes A Rainbow?: A Magic Ribbon Book by Betty Ann Schwartz. This book is so much fun! It goes through the colors of the rainbow, as as children turn the page a new colored ribbon appears.
So we thought it would be fun to include ribbon in our sensory science activity!
Getting the Rainbow Sensory Ice Excavation Activity Ready:
- A container to hold the water and ribbon while it’s freezing.
- Ribbon in different colors (we used craft ribbon from our ribbon wand activity)
- Warm water in a cup or bowl
- Pipette or spoon
- Child-appropriate tools: plastic tweezers, toy hammer, paintbrush, wooden spoon, etc. I search the toy room and craft supplies to see what I could find.
- A tray (wider than the ice container to contain the melting ice and water) or try this activity outside if it’s warm!
To get this activity ready, you will need colored ribbon cut in different lengths.
Fill a container part-way with water, and lay the ribbon down into it. I tried to get the colors in “rainbow order” but didn’t worry about it too much because the ribbons shift a bit when moving the container to the freezer.
After the ribbon is in the container, let the water freeze. I didn’t let ours freeze completely, so ours still had a bit of liquid in the middle.
After the water is frozen, pop the ice out onto a tray to help contain the water.
Doing the Rainbow Sensory Ice Excavation Activity:
First we touched and rubbed the ice and talked about how the ice feels and what it makes our hands feel like.
We also pointed to the colors and talked about each one.
Now for the fun part… time to dig in!!
My son chose to use the plastic tweezers first and started picking away at the ice.
Next he got out his toy hammer and started nicking on the ice to break away some pieces.
To melt the ice, he used a pipette to get some warm water from a cup and squeezed it into the ice.
This is a good time to talk about warm versus cold.
After just a little while, after using warm water and his tools, he got one free!
We just loved this activity! It kept my son’s attention for quite awhile and he asked to do it again. We might need to keep one in the freezer ready to pull out at anytime!
What’s going on here?
Our sense of touch is thanks to a network of nerve endings and touch receptors. This is called the somatosensory system. Our skin has special receptors (thermoreceptors) that allow us to feel hot and cold. These receptors are found all over our body, but there are more in certain areas. For example, have you ever wondered why your nose and cheeks get so cold on a cool day? That’s thanks to the higher concentration of thermoreceptors on your face!