Preschool Snow and Ice Cube Sensory Bin for Winter

Snow sensory table ideas add such fun and interest to winter preschool learning. When it’s too blustery or cold to actually be outdoors, why not bring it all in for some indoor sensory play?! This fun ice sensory project incorporates the colors of the rainbow, allowing young children to explore touch and sight.

Rainbow Snow Sensory Bin

Preschool Snow and Ice Cube Sensory Bin for Winter is a wonderful snow sensory bin idea for those freezing months when ice activities are sometimes better when we bring them in! Add a dose of color, and you’re looking at nature in a whole new way.

Create the snow and ice activity for preschool with water, an ice cube tray, food coloring, and real snow! If you don’t have the real stuff, your students will still benefit by playing with the colored ice.

Preschool Sensory Table

Have you ever wonder why the favorite sensory table ALWAYS draws kids in, day after day?

Sensory activities for toddlers and preschoolers support a wealth of important growth and development. Varying the sensory bin fillers throughout the year creates a variety of different fine motor and gross motor experiences for kids.

Research supports the idea that sensory play builds nerve connections and creates pathways in the brain used later for more complex tasks.

When children explore using their five senses, whether through ice sensory play in a winter sensory bin or sand exploration in the summer, they develop:

  • Language and vocabulary
  • Social skills
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Coping mechanisms

This ice sensory table idea provides a great way for students to explore the colors of the rainbow, color mixing, and the scientific process of melting snow and ice.

A close up of water being added to an ice tray with different colors of food color in them.

How to Make the Snow and Ice Cube Sensory Bin

Supplies:
  • Ice tray
  • Food coloring (rainbow colors) or Washable Liquid Paint (I recommend Crayola) see note below
  • Water
  • Straw
  • Snow
  • Tray
  • Spoon

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A close up of the food coloring being mixed into the water in an ice tray with a straw.
How To:
  1. Place a drop of food coloring into each section of the ice tray. We went in order
    of the rainbow colors for this project.
  2. Pour water into each section. Do not overfill (or colors may bleed into the other
    sections).
  3. Stir each section with the straw to make sure the food coloring is mixed well with
    the water.
  4. Freeze the ice cube tray until all ice is frozen completely.
  5. When ready for use, place the colored ice onto a tray of snow.
  6. Color the snow with the ice by moving it around using a spoon!

Important note: If you use food coloring, I recommend that you use plastic gloves and something to cover your child’s clothing.

Even with all of our precautions, my daughter ended up with a streak of food coloring on her face when she touched the ice and then touched her forehead.

When we do this activity again, we will use washable liquid paint instead.

A child playing with the preschool snow and ice cube sensory bin.

While children are exploring with ice cube sensory play, consider talking about what’s happening as the cubes melt into the snow, or as the colors bleed together.

Close up of the finished preschool snow and ice cube sensory bin.

More Winter Theme Sensory Table Ideas

Ice painting is just one option for winter sensory play! Try another idea to keep kids engaged in preschool sensory bins all winter long.

  • Bring snow inside and make mini snowmen. Observe and take note as each one becomes a melted snowman.
  • Other ideas for a snow sensory bin include: Hide plastic letters/numbers/shapes for kids to find and identify. Create roads, hills, caves for plastic animal figurines or other favorite plastic figures.
  • Cotton balls or cotton batting are a warm and dry alternative to real snow!
  • Water play is always a favorite and doesn’t have to go away in the winter months! Add floating “islands” with stryofoam circles for polar animals to perch on.
  • Include water beads instead of real water for an indoor water table that’s a little less wet!
Rainbow Snow Sensory Bin
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