I've seen these all over the blog world this summer, probably because it's just been so dang hot everywhere. Too be honest, I thought that this ice treasures activity would be a bit babyish even for Syd, but still, it looked so neat that really I'm the one who wanted to try it.
Spoiler alert: The girls LOVED it. Both girls. LOVEDDDDDDDDD!!! IT!
First thing, you have to go all around the house and collect a bunch of little things. We call this "cleaning" in our house. Syd collected orphaned game pieces, little rubber balls, ribbons, pompoms, marbles, dominoes, rubber bands, small toy animals, LEGOs, stickers, buttons and beads, and a million other things.
Two caveats: I'd thought that the fabric things, like the ribbons and pompoms, wouldn't be very cool to have in the ice treasures, but I was wrong. They were VERY cool.
On the other hand, the little things that had thin and narrow parts, like the Sorry game pieces and the teeny toy ponies, didn't always survive the excavation. Syd brought me one of each to glue back together. I was all, "Sure, baby!" and then threw them away after she'd left.
Next, get out a couple of small mixing bowls and let the kid fuss over placing every single small thing in the bowl exactly as she wants it:
When the bowls are full of water, carefully wedge them into the freezer overnight. The next day, run a little water over the bottom of each bowl, and a gorgeous ice treasure will pop right out into your waiting hands:
You totally want to take a crack at that baby yourself, don't you?
Have the kiddos walk around the house again and gather up anything that they think would make a good excavation tool. Since we're having our kitchen re-done (SUCH a nightmare, don't ask, it was a big mistake, it's going to ruin us), the kids can't get around to all the good tools, so they gathered up a drumstick, a few pieces of plastic cutlery (getting our kitchen re-done! It's been nearly two weeks! The contractor's estimate was for THREE DAYS, and we're already a thousand dollars over his original total cost estimate, just with materials alone, not even counting the per-hour fee for the guy who's taking three days to do the tile, or the two guys who just came and stood around the kitchen for two solid days and then went out and goofed around in the garage for a while, and I don't care what they say, I am not getting all the plumbing in the house replaced just to install a damn dishwasher), some scissors, and my secret hammer that I usually keep hidden from the rest of the family so that they won't take it and put it somewhere where I can't find it.
Then, you just gotta put the babies outside and let them go to town:
Seriously, both kids, big and little, LOVED this activity. They've both always had long attention spans, but they spent over an hour with all the various ice treasures that we made, and then once they'd recovered all the treasure, they spent the rest of the afternoon playing gigantic imaginative games, ranging all over the yard and the house, with all the little things that they'd excavated.
And then I called them inside to feed them microwaved instant oatmeal with frozen blueberries for dinner, using the refrigerator and the microwave which are both in my tiny living room. And then there was some kind of countertop emergency, because we don't have any, and special ordering new ones would take too long, but all the in-stock new ones are ugly, but I picked out the least ugly one anyway, but somehow the contractor wants to add on an extra 900 bucks to those 40-buck ugly countertops to cut them to size or something, so for that money we might as well special-order the custom-cut nice ones, but then we won't have a kitchen for, like, another six weeks, and we can't afford another 900 bucks, anyway, which is over half the original total cost estimate for the entire project, which, have I mentioned, was supposed to be completely finished over a week ago, and now has absolutely no end in sight.
And don't even get me started about the fucking toekicks.