Ice Rescue Fine Motor Activity for Kids (with real ice!)

If you’ve ever wondered how you can get some peace for yourself while also doing something fun for the kids, your answer is here…. the ice rescue!

My “rock rescue” article was crazy popular, so I wanted to make a winter themed option that was also good for fine motor skills… and that would keep them occupied for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, of course.

Now, I know you’ve probably seen those frozen dinosaur eggs that most people do during summer. Those are pretty fun, and my kids do enjoy them, but we’ve gotten to the point where little eggs are way too easy to simply crack or just put the whole thing in warm water. I needed something that took longer, and, for my four year old, needed a little more flexibility with how difficult the activity could be made.

So I thought why not make a sort of “frozen lake” that my kiddos needed to rescue animals and treasures from? It’ll be a fun story, will melt a whole heck of alot slower since it’s an actual block of ice, and I could even do some fun games with it in the future.


How to make your “frozen lake” for the ice rescue game

Yield: 1

Icy Lake Rescue Fine Motor + Sensory Winter Game for Kids

ice in a pan game for kids

Keep the kids occupied forever while letting them practice their fine motor and problem solving skills! This easy to set up winter themed activity for kids uses real ice and various favorite freezer safe toys they must rescue!


  • Favorite toys/coins
  • Freezer safe container (as large and flat as you can get it)


  1. Fill your container half way with wtaer. You'll want to leave room for expansion as well as for extra water when the kids start trying to melt it all with their warm water.
  2. Choose your toys or treasures you want to the kids to rescue. I chose some small plastic dino toys they love and some coins so that my four year old could start learning to recognize them. It's best if they sink, however for younger kiddos, having a few floating ones that are "easy" to rescue might help them get the confidence they need to work on the items that are frozen at the bottom of the container.
  3. Let completely freeze. I left mine in my deep freezer for 24 hours, though I'm sure it could have been ready sooner.
  4. Get a towel and your water devices of choice. I used a turkey baster, kids medicine dispenser and some tablespoons. I wanted this to take awhile as well as allow them to try each tool.
  5. Give them a bowl of hot water and let them start unfreezing their items! You may have to empty the container once or twice to get rid of excess/melted water.


For reference, my four year old did fine with the turkey baster once I showed him how to use it. My two year olds struggled with the coordination to use the medicine dispenser, so they ended up using small cups and tablespoons for their water.

See also
The FUNNEST DIY Snow You'll Ever Make (with a fun winter theme!)

Fun variations for different ages of kids

Here’s a couple I’ve thought about for the future!

  • Pair the coins (treasure) with a matching component – perhaps a laminated sheet of paper with the different coins and your kiddo has to put each treasure he gets into the matching spot on the paper
  • For older kids – Use a straw to transfer water from the warm bowl to the ice one!
  • For much older older kids – Freeze the animals/treasures in a super deep container so that they’re required to “tunnel” to the item.

I hope you enjoyed this simple winter busy activity! Here are some more winter and Christmas kids activities

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