Summer is sizzling but we’ve got a few chill tricks up our sleeves when it comes to beating the heat and entertaining the kids. Your secret weapon? Ice. Yep, good old frozen water. From ways to spike your mocktails to sensory play that melts away, read on for 16 refreshing ways to re-think the clink.

photo: Angie Six via flickr 

Eat & Drink

1. Making iced coffee? Make some iced coffee cubes! Freeze a little leftover coffee in a tray and the next time you are making yourself a cool, chilled coffee drink use these instead of regular ice. Your drink won’t end up weak and watery.

2. Ditto for iced tea. Splash a little iced tea or lemonade into an ice cube tray for a great way to chill your tea without watering it down.

3. Get spriggy with it. Toss in a sprig of lemon thyme or mint for a the perfect splash of herby-goodness in your cocktail, mocktail or cold water.

photo: einladung_zum_essen via pixabay

4. Fruity fresh! Freeze raspberries, blueberries or pomegranate seeds into your ice cubes for a special twist on water or lemonade. The blueberry ones are perfect for teething babies.

5. Fancy pants. Use edible flowers frozen in ice and serve the single most fancy glass of water on the block. Delicate violets, nasturtiums, lavender, calendula and even dianthus or carnations work perfectly.

6. Leftover rules. Use leftover juice from canned peaches or pineapple to make tiny popsicles that will also add a spike of sweetness to your tea or sparkling water.

7. Shine. If you happen to have edible glitter around you can swirl some into the water after you’ve filled the cube trays; or try adding a couple of sprinkles.

photo: silviarita via pixabay

8. When it doubt, make popsicles. You can make these in an ice cube tray or a popsicle mold, or even a paper cup with a popsicle stick in the center (you’ll want to add the stick about half-way through the freezing process). Here are our favorite recipes for you to try this summer!

9. Keep it simple. Serve your drinks in an extra frosty glass. Just run water over the cup and place in freezer for a few minutes. Instant-frosty mug!

photo: Cliff Johnson via flickr


10. Shapey things
. These days you can find ice cube trays (or use candy molds) in all kinds of shapes and sizes, including LEGO bricks, dinosaurs and more. Freeze them in different colors and lay them out on a tray for adorable play that will make you melt.

11. Smells n”ice.” Who knew you could use ice for a scent-sensory experiment, using classic items from your spice rack? Check out how Lemon and Lime Adventures did it, and then set up your own version.

12. Ice science. A proper experiment really doesn’t get much simpler than a muffin tin with ice and a few key ingredients, designed to see what makes ice melt the fastest. The Chaos and the Clutter has an easy tutorial you can follow so you can literally execute this cool project in less than ten minutes.

photo: Adam Tuttle via flickr

13. Painter’s palette. Use food coloring to tint the water in the tray different colors and make colored ice cubes. Once they’re frozen, let the kiddos paint with their new icy watercolors! You can also throw these colored cubes into the bath or kiddie pool for some extrasensory excitement.

14. Excavation station. Take a few toys, like small cars, rubber duckies, even LEGO minifigs and freeze them in water. Use a nice tall container to get a tower or a big bowl. You add a few toys, let the water freeze a bit, then stash in a a couple more to get a well-balanced icicle. You can equip them with a butter knife, plastic knife or spoon or a stick to begin the scraping. For younger kids, let them just go free-hand. We love this bejewled rainbow version from Fun at Home with Kids

15. Frozen IRL. Make a big batch or buy a bag of ice cubes and get stacking. Using a bit of water to help them stick, race against the clock as you stack and form an ice castle fit for Elsa. Got a few Frozen-themed toys around the house? Get them in on the fun! Make ice beds, ice chairs, ice tables, walls and more.


16. Chill, baby! Looking for cute sensory play for your smallest set? Check out these awesome frozen sensory bags that are safer for babies but still keep them stimulated and cool on a hot day!

Got any cool ideas for ice play or sensory treats? Tell us in a comment below! 

—Amber Guetebier