As many times as we’ve seen dinosaur movies at our house you would think my children would want to be paleontologists when they grow up. We have used a few dinosaur ‘bone’ excavator kits from online, but they can be pricy and messy.

Our fun learning multi-sensory dino ice excavation activity is easy to make and can pose great questions about the great extinct lizards. This ice melting preschool activity can be done inside on top of a cookie sheet or outside during a hot day.

Dinosaur ice excavation for kids.

Recommended Grade Level:

Dinosaur Ice Rescue Supplies:

  • Ice tray
  • Dinosaur toys
  • Water
  • Container
  • Stones or toy hammer
  • Optional: poster board or mat for outdoor use

Sensory and Ice Exploration for Preschool

activities with ice for preschool


Why do preschoolers play with ice? Mostly because it’s a different temperature and it’s fun when it turns from a solid to a liquid. Freeze toys in ice. Organize a dinosaur ice excavation.

This activity is a great way to get children moving their fingers and hands.

The preschool dinosaur activity for preschoolers is a sensory activity that promotes brain development and functioning. The ice breaking activity for preschoolers shows our children how our actions can produce change and physical changes in some matter.

In addition to learning about changes, you can pose additional questions to young learners:

  • What else could we use to dig up our dinosaurs?
  • Tell me some differences between the dinosaurs you’ve found.
  • What does extinct mean? Are any other animals extinct?
  • What is happening to the ice? How could we keep it from melting?
  • What other science experiments can we try?
  • What could we use in a sensory bin with our dinosaurs?
Pour water into the ice cube tray.

What Can Preschoolers Learn While Using Toys Frozen in Ice Activity?

Freezing toys in ice activity


Specific science vocabulary that can be used while students complete the dinosaur themed activity:

  • Extinct
  • Solid
  • Liquid
  • Melting
  • Blocks of ice
  • Freezing
Remove ice cubes from tray and place in a bin.

Why Is It Important For Kids To Learn From A Sensory Ice Theme For Preschool?

Children are naturally curious about everything around them. Learning about the senses and changes can help them understand the world a little bit better.

Stimulate Your Senses: Exploring touch, smell, sight, hearing, and sometimes taste can be fun. Try using different textures and temperatures for hands on play. You can even add food coloring! Children can then better identify things they like vs. things they dislike.

Fine-tuning Fine Motor: Sensory activities primarily use fingers and hands, sometimes feet, to manipulate the materials. Practicing fine motor skills can help children with shoe tying, self-feeding, and writing.

Learning Language: Children can develop their oral and descriptive language by talking about how the ice (or other substance) feels. Encourage them to use words such as “smooth”, “icy”, “sticky”, and “sweet”.

Identifying Changes: It’s important for children to know how changes occur and the different changes that are found around us. This can include lifecycles, physical and chemical changes, and growing.

How To Make The Ice Excavation Dinosaur Preschool Activity?

Step One:

Place one dinosaur in each section of the ice tray. For this activity, I allowed for part of the dinosaur (example: the tail) to stick out a bit so that the child had something to grasp onto when engaging with this activity. 

Place dinosaurs in the ice cube tray.

Step Two:

Fill the ice tray with water. Place in the freezer until frozen.

Pour water into the ice cube tray.

Step Three:

Remove from the freezer. 

Place the frozen dinosaur ice cubes into a bin.

Dino ice cubes for the dino ice excavation.

Step Four:

Give the child permission to interact with the activity. They can use stones or toy hammers to chip away the ice from each dinosaur.

Remove ice cubes from tray and place in a bin.

Ways to Extend the Activity

Dinosaur Crafts

Dinosaur crafts are a fun and colorful way to continue learning about these mysterious creatures. Who knew that paper plates could look so much like dinosaurs!

Create a Book

Make a book about dinosaurs using pictures from magazines, newspapers, or on the internet. Have your child tell you a story about the dinosaurs and record what they say.

Dinosaur Theme

Continue with our dinosaur theme by utilizing our dinosaur lesson plans for preschoolers!

author avatar
Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion.Β 

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