DIY Fun: Giant Ice Cube Awesomeness


My friend Andrea finds the coolest ideas/clothes/articles about kids and always so thoughtfully passes them my way. One day, if she chooses to be so, she is going to be the bees knees of all moms. On Wednesday afternoon, she sent me this link, and you’d better believe that 10 minutes after all three boys were in bed for a rare nap, I was neither folding laundry, doing dishes, preparing a healthy meal, nor cleaning the bathrooms that so needed my attention. Nope. I was making this. A gigantic ice cube with green and blue food coloring, filled with mini plastic dinosaurs, sea creatures, and farm animals.


I started with a large plastic container and filled it a third of the way with blue-colored water and sea creatures. My reasoning was this: I would let this layer freeze, then add a green layer with farm animals, let that freeze, and then add a clear layer with dinos. It had to do with some internal desire to teach about ecosystems or layers of the earth’s crust, mantle, core, etc. But I didn’t allow enough time for each layer to set. So it ended up kind of jumbled up together in a blueish-green animal ice cube. But the good news is, it still turned out fantastic and only took about 12 hours to freeze all the way through!


The timing of this project was impeccable. With Milo out of school for two days, I needed to find something a little more structured to occupy these guys. Plus, it was nearly 80 degrees out. Perfect ice/bathing suit weather.


Getting to work


The only rules were: 1. You may hit the ice or the tools with the wooden hammer, but please be careful of your brother’s fingers, and 2. Please do not drink the food-colored water, as it has yucky chemicals (right?).


Learning to use a chisel


Consulting each other about what to do next…

Decision made. Water:DSC_0127DSC_0130DSC_0146

And more water:DSC_0152DSC_0153

It was awesome. This activity occupied Milo and Oliver for a good hour, then they played and swam in the green water for another 30 minutes before quitting for a lunch break. Thanks, Andrea, for finding this, and Jennifer for the great idea!

Hope you guys have a great weekend. Ours got off to a rocky start when Andrew was up all night on Thursday with some kind of stomach thing… I may have dodged that bullet- we’ll have to wait and see. But in the meantime, we have Washington University’s Annual Thurteen Festival today! So, if a stomach virus doesn’t make us puke, the carnival rides surely will!

105 thoughts on “DIY Fun: Giant Ice Cube Awesomeness”
Post your thoughts

  1. That is great! I may do that with Parker this summer using you example of the layers with red, orange, green and blue! The amount of time it kept those two occupied probably felt like an entire day for you! Good job Mom!

  2. That is such a cool idea and how perfect for a hot spring/summer day. I’ll file this away so that when my kid is old enough, we can do this, too!

    Geez, your trees are like, fully leafed already! We’re a bit behind here in Boston, I guess.

    Enjoy the carnival!

  3. That is sooo cool! I’ve experimented with food coloring in ice cubes (and I totally did let W put them in his mouth so I hope the chemicals aren’t too bad… it’s food grade but you’re probably right) but that monster cube is insane! Love the pictures of them hacking away at it.

  4. This is brilliant! I just emailed the link to all my friends with younger kids…which is pretty much every single one of my neighbors. Hope you guys had fun this weekend, and everybody felt well enough to have fun!

  5. This is such a fun idea!! You have 2 smart cookies on your hands – love how they thought to use water to melt. I hope you are still feeling good!!

  6. Oh my gosh your little boys are adorable. My twin first graders get out of school in a couple of days and I am looking for some fun things to do with them this summer. This is DEFINITELY on the list, they will love it. Great for any age.

  7. Well, it didn’t stain my kids’ skin, but maybe because we didn’t use too much food coloring and it was so diluted by the hose water by the time they had much contact with it. It might stain clothing if it is highly concentrated, though! I guess use caution!

  8. Did the plastic tools work? I am thinking about doing this for my son’s construction themed birthday party in July. Any thoughts on any cheap tools that would work for small children?

  9. Suzanne, the plastic tools worked well. What if you got a bunch of mini toothbrushes? They could use either end to dig or brush the ice. But honestly, if you just give them cups of warm water, they will be happiest!

  10. I wonder how you got food coloring of their skin and swim trunks. That is a great idea, and I might try it but I just rather use clear water. I just hate food coloring.

  11. This is absolutely terrific. ๐Ÿ™‚ My oldest son is suddenly in the middle of the dinosaur phase, and of course the youngest happily followed.
    I will certainly try it this summer. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Google what a boiled ice cube looks like (ie crystal clear…) not sure if that would make this ‘cooler’ or not….but it’d be different for sure ( you could probably see every animal all the way through it)

  13. Hi Lauren,

    I have a question…
    I’m french and I do not understand everything in english… My son (4 years old) would love this Giant Ice Cub but can you explain me how do you do to make water color blue ?

    Yesterday I put a plastic container with dinozaurs and water on freezer and, to make the water blue, I put some blue water painting…

    Mamamia…. blue every where today while he was playing… skins, clothes, ground… I had to stop it (and he began to cry)… I want to do it again but can you explain me (with some easy words in english) how you made the colors ? Safe for the skin and the clothes ๐Ÿ˜‰ ?

    Thank you so much for you great idea !

    Have a nice day
    From France

  14. Getting ready to freeze some tonight for my kiddos! So excited! May i suggest to some of your readers..instead of using food coloring, i tend to use Kool-Aid. That way if it’s ingested or licked, it will be fine! Plus it’s not likely to stain anything. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing! Found you on Pinterest!

  15. I tried doing this but the I’ve cube would not come out of the container! Any tips you could give? Thank you

  16. Josie, I emailed some suggestions, but let me also comment here in case anyone else has had this problem!

    I would try to either soak it in a bit of hot water (if the container will fit in your sink) or turn the container upside down outside and let the sunshine do the trick! I have not encountered this problem (yet). Hope this works!

  17. WOW!! Great fun! You did really making sense. My little baby girl like different things to do and I think this will be enjoyable for me also when I’ll see she is making this.

  18. Your kids would need eye protection for this activity! They could seriously lose their eyesight if an ice chip hit their eye. ๐Ÿ™

  19. Awesome idea:) going to do it for sure. Question….how do the animals not all go straight to the bottom? Don’t they sink?

  20. Neat idea!!! Going to do this for my kids!! Qestion though, we use food coloring in frosting and other things we r going to eat so why is it not ok

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *