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Brace yourself for some chilly nature play! Create and explore natural loose parts suspended in ice and watch your little scientists investigate & experiment.

Nature on Ice

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Nature on Ice

Close up image of dried flowers on a tray for kids to play with nature.


  • Loaf/Lasagna pan
  • Water
  • Freezer
  • Nature materials of your choosing:

    – Flowers
    – Grass
    – Leaves
    – Shells
    – Pine cones
    – Sticks
    – Pebbles
Close up image of flowers frozen in ice - activity ideas for play with nature


  • Collect the nature items you will freeze and set them aside.
  • Partially fill your pan with water and place it in the freezer to freeze.
  • Position your chosen natural items atop the first frozen layer. Reserve a few of your natural items for later use.
  • Fill the remainder of the pan with water. 
  • Return your pan to the freezer until solid.
Image of flowers frozen in ice with a child's finger touching the ice - Activity ideas for play with nature


  • Remove the finished “ice chunk,” and place it on a tray.
  • Start playing! 
  • Place your remaining (unfrozen) natural items next to your frozen items for comparing and contrasting.

Play your way! What else can you do with these open-ended materials?

Why Play This Way?

You know how the thing you can’t have is often the thing you want the most? When you suspend natural items in ice, it almost begs children to engage in extended, explorative play. They love the sensory experience of touching the cold, wet ice and will strengthen their powers of observation as they play.

Better with a Book

At LᐧMᐧNᐧOᐧPlay!, we love to pair our play with a great book.

This is just the tip of the iceberg! If you liked this activity, you’ll LOVE our Book Club.
Discover special books and bring them to life with activities that make meaningful connections between reading and playing. 

join the book club!

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