Ice block mark making (1 - 2 year olds)

A pre-literacy exercise for your toddler


Home Learning

You will need

  • an ice cube tray
  • popsicle sticks
  • food colouring
  • large sheet of paper

What to do

This activity should be prepared the night before you would like your child to do it as it requires a couple hours for the ‘paints’ to freeze. Begin by filling the ice cube tray with water, and adding 2 - 3 drops of varied food colouring into each segment. Mix the food colouring into the water, and leave a popsicle stick in each segment as the handle. Place the ice cube tray in the freezer overnight. Once the water has turned to ice, take the tray out, put out a big sheet of paper, and allow your child to explore the marks they can make with the ice blocks!

At this age, mark making is primarily a sensory activity for your child, and exploring the marks they can make with a slippery surface such as ice will engage them in the activity whilst simultaneously strengthening the muscles they will need for more complex literacy activities as they grow.

Ice block mark making

Learning outcomes

  • Literacy: enjoying the sensory experience of making marks on paper.
  • Understanding the world: hot versus cold sensory feedback.
  • Motor skills: creating marks through movement.
  • Hand eye coordination

Key words

  • Cold
  • Freezing
  • Icy
  • Slippery

Ask your child

  • What does the ice block feel like?
  • What colours can you see?
  • What marks can you make?