As a mom of three young and very busy kiddos, I am always searching for fun and creative ways to keep them entertained, while working on developmental skills, such as fine motor, visual motor, cognitive perceptual, and sensory processing through age-appropriate play (that’s the pediatric OT in me :p)
It shouldn’t be surprising for you to hear that while doing my weekly family shopping trip (on Sunday morning, at 7:30 am, with 3 kids in 1 shopping cart-it’s quite an experience, let me tell you), I came across a package of frozen tube ice pops and thought: “Bingo.”
So here’s the game:
1. Take a plain wooden dice, or buy a plain die from an education store. You can then use permanent marker or colored dot stickers (from an office supply store) that match the colors of your ices.
2. Take out a bunch of frozen tube-shaped ice pops. They should come in assorted colors, such as blue, purple, orange, etc. and scatter them on a flat surface. (The act of searching and finding for the selected color amidst a bunch of other colors works on a visual skill called Figure Ground Discrimination).
3. Depending on the developmental capability of the child/ren with regards to fine motor and visual motor skills, you can vary the size of the tower. For example, we stacked four across horizontally and vertically and this posed a good enough challenge for my eldest, who is 5.5 years old, was a little challenging for my 4.5 year old, while my almost 3-year old needed some help. The act of balancing these precariously-formed ice pops requires bilateral coordination, hand stability, dexterity as well as visual perceptual skills.
4. The 1st player rolls the dice. Depending on the color rolled, they place that ice pop down . If you were going 4 horizontally and 4 vertically, once 4 are laid out in the same orientation, the next player would begin the next orientation by pacing the next ice pop in the opposite direction. If the color rolled on the dice does not match ice pops on the table (for example, the child rolled blue and they ran out of blue ice pops), you can decide if the child would lose their turn or roll again.
5. Once the ice-pop tower is built, players pull out ice pops one-by-one, trying not to topple the tower. This can be done in one of two ways; rolling the dice (more challenging), just allowing the player to choose which ice pop they want to pull out. The ice pops will be cold and slowly-melting (getting slightly wet), working on using the tactile system.
6. The last player to pull theirs out before the tower topples wins!
7. The perfect end to the game is, of course, eating the ice pops! (You can re-freeze the left-overs).
Stay cool, have fun, and enjoy! 🙂
- Weekend Project: Ice Pops (williams-sonoma.com)