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Free from the Freeze!

Age: 3 to 8+ Time: Under 1 hour
Materials: Stones, sharpies, salt, meat baster, sharpie(s), containers (8oz-32oz) or ice molds. Optional: sticks, mallets or other tools.
Skills: Focus & Self Control, Problem Solving, Fine Motor, Science

Featured in our #OutdoorsAll4 challenge, ‘Free from the Freeze,’ includes a little creature creation and then a daring mission to rescue these creatures from their frozen pods.

The Guide

Set Up:

  • Draw your favorite animal(s) on small stones using a waterproof marker.
  • Fill the container(s) one-third of the way with water and freeze (outdoors if less than 32 degrees, or in the freezer).
  • Once solid, place your stone friend in the container, fill it up the rest of the way, then freeze. If you want, you can add some nature treasures, watercolor/food coloring or lavender to add a sensory boost.

Invitation: Free our Friends!

Head outside and wonder out loud, "How can we free our frozen friends?"Involve kids in the whole process—from freezing the stone friends through freeing them. Or, you can sneak out ahead of time and hide them wherever you will be playing that day. Either way, wonder together how we can free our friends, then introduce new materials one at a time for explorers to use in their quest.

  • Salt
  • Warm water (turkey basters can be great for this, or paint brushes could be fun, too)
  • Warm hands
  • Sticks or rocks
  • Mallets or other utensils
  • Gravity!

Why is this activity great for kids?

Creating and then playing with creatures is a natural way to help kids authentically build empathy. Characters immediately begin to emerge for kids, helping them exercise their imagination and story-building muscles. The trial and error required to free friends from frozen blocks also naturally builds problem solving skills.


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