By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

It’s the height of quarantine, my poor girl is getting tired of the same activities, same people and same toys in the house. I’ve been justifying all the new toys I’ve bought her by saying it’s because I feel bad she’s indoors and so bored… but while I can’t say no to a good Target Haul, my bank account is screaming for me to give it a break. Thankfully, I had all of these materials at home and it kept her entertained for a lot longer than I expected. Read on to see how we played with this ice cube jewel rescue activity for preschoolers.


Set Up & Skills Targeted

1) If you’re using food coloring, add some to your bowl of water.

Skills targeted: Graded Force (not squeezing too much food coloring in) , bilateral coordination (holding the bowl with one hand while mixing with the other hand)

2) Add objects to the ice cube tray. 

Skills targeted: Counting, fine motor precision, visual motor integration

3) Scoop Water into Ice cube tray

Skills targeted: Graded force (moving just right speed to not spill water), visual processing (being able to recognize when the water is filled to the brim of the tray)

4) Place trays in the freezer

Skills targeted: Patience 🙂 

Play Time!

This is the part where you get to get creative as a mom, occupational therapist, caregiver, etc. You can choose different ways to help rescue the jewels from the ice. 

Some ideas include:

We (by we, I mean, the toddler that wears the pants in the house) chose to use a squirt bottle with hot water. She only lasted a couple squirts before fatiguing, so I took over and she loved screaming “I see one!” every time a jewel slipped out from the depths of an ice cube. After we rescued the jewels, she put them back in the ice trays and experimented with the ice cubes to melt them all the way down. 


Developmental Motor Skills & Activities


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Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I’m an enneagram 6, so my brain is constantly moving. My OT lenses never turn off and I can’t “un-see” the sensory and other developmental skills that go in to literally every activity. I love taking what I see and breaking it down into simple terms so parents can understand what goes into their child’s behavior and skills.

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