Tutorial + How-to

Published on January 1st, 2013 | by Julie Finn


How-to: Ice Building Blocks for Outdoor Play

homemade ice blocks

Colorful building blocks made out of ice are an inviting toy any time of year, but they take on added interest in the winter. Ice blocks are easy to make out of a variety of stash and upcycled containers, and everyone will enjoy using them to build outdoor structures that, if it’s below freezing outside, will actually stick around long enough to be played with over and over again.

playing with homemade ice blocks

playing with their homemade ice building blocks

The ice blocks couldn’t be easier to make. Simply gather all of your muffin tins, cake pans, casserole dishes, and glasses, and fill them with water. Color the water with liquid food coloring, or add natural materials like pine cones, cloves, or birdseed.

The most eco-friendly method is to set all of these containers outside to freeze in the below-zero temperatures, but if your area isn’t quite that cold yet, or you want to freeze your blocks more quickly, you can, of course, put them in your freezer (if it’s not full of leftovers!). If you want to make a large set of blocks ahead of time, you can remove frozen blocks from their molds as they’ve set and keep them in a bucket or pan in your freezer until you’re ready to play with them.

My kiddos have been playing with this particular set of small blocks for days now, but the secret set that I’ve been making using gallon buckets for molds is finally just about set, so tomorrow we’re going to have GIANT building blocks to play with!

P.S. Ice blocks are also really fun in the summer. So are tree blocks.

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About the Author

I’m a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I’m interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it’s manifested–making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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