Need a simple science activity? Try Rainbow Ice Excavation! Ice activities are always a hit with toddlers and preschoolers!

You know what’s better than just an average ice play activity? One that involves pom poms and gems and other tiny little things that you have to find!

We’ve done Lego brick excavation and toy animal excavation, but this colorful rainbow ice activity takes it up a notch!

The best part about this rainbow ice excavation activity is that it’s doubly awesome because it’s a science activity AND a sensory play activity!

RELATED: Love science? Try these 25+ Simple Science Projects for Toddlers.

Here’s how to get started with this Rainbow Ice Excavation Science Activity!

First you’ll want to gather all the things that you’ll need. Use what you have around the house!


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  • Fill up a muffin tin with water.
  • Drop food coloring in different tins to create several different colors. (One color per small hole in the muffin tin). Mix the water & coloring.
  • (Optional) Add colorful items/toys to the muffin tins to match the colored water.
  • Freeze overnight.

Now you’re ready to play and explore with the rainbow ice!

  • Pop the frozen colored disks out of the muffin tins and drop them in a sensory bin or on a baking pan.
  • Squeeze warm water on them with droppers to dissolve the ice and excavate the items.
  • Bonus! Drop salt on the ice disks and see what happens!
  • As kids get the small gems and pom poms out of the ice they can sort them by color into the muffin tin.

RELATED: These simple rainbow crafts and books are fun to try along with this!


Science activities are so much fun and are packed with so many learning opportunities too!

Here are just a few of the things kids learn as they do this rainbow ice excavation:

  • Color mixing as the ice melts and they play with it
  • Problem solving as they try and free the items from the ice
  • The differences between liquids and solids
  • Fine motor skills as they squeeze water in and out of the droppers and try and pull and twist small items from the ice to place in the muffin tins
  • Visual discrimination as they excavate the small items and sort them by color into the muffin tin

Want to try some other rainbow science activities? Try to color a frozen rainbow using this activity shared by Hands On: As We Grow.