Ice is always nice to play with when it’s hot outside. It can be as simple as what we did over the weekend, when I brought a pitcher of ice to the Little Engineer so he could have an ingredient besides water for play cooking in the kiddie pool.
Thanks to my Pinterest addiction and all of the great ice play posts I’ve read recently, I was inspired to do an ice activity that required a little more forethought. And, as usual, that meant — you guessed it! — trains.
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First, I filled our beloved Nordic Ware train cake pan with water and added food coloring to color the engine and the freight cars. (There are also similar silicone train molds available for a lower price.) I checked on the ice before I went to bed. I had overestimated how much the ice would expand, so I added a little more water.
The next day, when the train was frozen solid, we took the pan, a long sheet of paper, and some markers outside. I suggested drawing railroad tracks to the Little Engineer.
Then, I sprayed the back of the cake pan with some (very warm, thanks to the heat) water from the hose. The ice released with a tap of the pan against the deck.
The Little Engineer inspected a few of the cars, and then set about putting the train on its tracks.
We decided to take the train for a chuff along the deck as we dragged the paper behind us. The ice engine and freight cars glowed like jewels in the sun! But the paper tore where it was wet beneath the train cars, so that didn’t last long.
The paper tracks lost their appeal at that point, and the Little Engineer decided to put the engine and the freight cars back into the pan, making it into a puzzle.
Then, he dumped them back out of the pan and asked, “How can I make them melt?”
We talked about how the train would melt in the sun, but there were ways to speed it up. I reminded him of what we did to melt ice when I froze some toy trains in a cake pan last year. Water had been his favorite method then, and it was once again his choice. He decided to use the hose.
He really enjoyed squirting the train with water, and then pausing to examine his progress.
Eventually, he got tired of handling the hose and asked me to help “melt the cab off the engine.” I turned the nozzle to jet mode and sprayed it. It shot across the deck!
Suddenly, he was no longer tired and wanted the hose back. We had fun racing our “jet propelled” train across the deck until all that was left was a splinter or two of colored ice.
We have another train freezing tonight — without the food coloring this time, at the Little Engineer’s request — for more fun tomorrow!
For more icy train fun for summer, you could have your little engineer rescue toy trains from ice like mine did, or try out one of our many ideas for year-round snowy train play.
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Maybe before freezing running a piece of yarn thru the engines or along the top( which will be the bottom) would allow for having it as a pull toy, or if made with koolaid eaten
Jessica Petersen says
Oh, that’s a great idea! We’ll have to try that.
Kimberly Scanlon says
This is brillant! Can’t wait to try it with some of my kiddos 🙂
Jessica Petersen says
Wonderful! I hope they love it!
Michelle W says
Great idea! Had seen those cake pans around but never wanted to spend the money just to make a couple cakes. Did a search and on amazon you can get a similar (same?) mold in silicone for about $17 with shipping.
Jessica Petersen says
We use ours to make banana bread for tea parties rather than cakes, so it’s been a good investment. That’s cool about the silicone one…I vaguely remember seeing one at one point. That might work better for something I’ve been wanting to do…thanks for mentioning it!
this is amazing, such a cool idea – love it!
Jenny @ The Brick Castle says
Ice play really is great fun and this is a fantastic idea 😀
Kristen B says
This would be great for all the HOT weather we’ve had lately.
I would love for you to come link up any of your kids’ activity posts at Artsy Play Wednesday.