Welcome to Sensory Play Tuesday!

We’ve partnered with the preschool experts at St. James Academy’s Young Foxhounds Program to bring you exciting (and easy!) ways to engage your littles in sensory play every month. This month’s activity: icy fun!

What is an icy fun sensory bin? A container full of arctic delights that provides an opportunity for your child to learn through hands-on tactile play. You can find most of the items around your house, Dollar Store, or Target.

Sure, you could hand your child a box and let them go to town; but you can also pair play with stories and mix in a few “coached” activities to help extend independent learning. To help you get started, we’ve included a few ideas below!

DIY Icy Fun Sensory Bin


What You’ll Need:

  • Tupperware Container/Plastic Box/Large Tray (Make sure it’s something that has pretty steep sides, or you’ll be cleaning up crinkly paper everywhere!)
  • Blue beads/marbles (Various colors)
  • Ice Cubes
  • Muffin Tin
  • Water
  • Plastic Arctic Animal Figures (Polar Bears, Penguins, Etc.)
  • 2 large plastic ziploc bags*
  • Vegetable Shortening*

*Only needed if you are going to do the blubber extension!


Snow Bear

It is the first day of spring and Little Snow Bear is venturing out into the snowy white world for the first time. Mesmerized by the snow that is all around him, Little Snow Bear sneaks off to see if the rest of the world is as much fun. BUY NOW

Flip and Flop

Flip is five. Flop is two. Whatever Flip does, Flop does too. BUY NOW

Five Little Penguins Slipping on the Ice

Slip and slide with silly penguins in this rollicking new version of the popular counting rhyme! BUY NOW

DIY Icy Fun Sensory Bin


Ice Prep: Talk about how cold can change a liquid (water) into a solid (ice). Have your child feel an ice cube and describe it. Then have your child feel water in a cup and describe it. Fill each vessel of a muffin tin with water and freeze it. Have your child guess what will happen!

Make An Arctic Habitat: After reading one of the stories (and after your muffin tin ‘glaciers” are solid), have your child construct an arctic habitat. They can use blue beads or gems to create water, place their icebergs and add additional ice cubes! Give them the animals to add into their scene. Would penguins be in the water or on the glaciers? Why?

Blubber Glove: If you want extra (cool) parent points, help your littles learn about blubber! Why can whales, polar bears, and penguins stay warm in icy water? With the help of blubber. Fill a ziploc bag with vegetable shortening. Then put another plastic bag on your child’s hand and insert their hand into the vegetable shortening bag. Have them dip their blubber-protected hand into the icy bin. Can they feel the cold water and ice through the shortening? That’s the same way that blubber protects arctic animals from the cold!


Discover the Young Foxhounds experience at St. James Academy! The program is the school’s new early childhood program for children ages 2 and 3 — encouraging the littlest learners to develop socialization skills, confidence, and curiosity. LEARN MORE


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