Frozen sensory water play

A firm favourite, this sensory activity is both sensory to set up by exploring the different plants, and after with the slowly melting ice cubes.

If you’d like to make the session longer, why not go on a Sensory Walk beforehand? Have a look at our Sense Active Sensory Walk resource pack to find out more. 

This guide is part of our Sense Arts, Sport & Wellbeing programme. This activity can be done at a time that suits you, either in your own space or in an educational setting.

Frozen flower petals in ice-cubes

Who is this for?

This is a sensory activity for people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities and can be enjoyed by anyone.

Why does this make a difference?

This is a creative activity that helps people explore and expand their creative choices while supporting independence in the activity. It promotes an engagement with nature and can be very relaxing.

How to do this activity

What you’ll need

Shows a table with some flowers, an ice cube tray and a jug.
  • Water
  • Flowers and leaves (from a garden, walk or cut flowers)
  • Ice cube tray or other recycled pots
  • A deep tray or bowl for sensory exploration
Shows a table with some flowers, an ice cube tray and a jug

Step 1

Collect flowers and leaves from your garden or on a walk. A variety of colours and sizes is good. Spend some time exploring the flowers and choosing which ones you want to put together. If they are too big, you can break them up into smaller pieces.
Image shows some petals in some of the sections of the ice cube tray.

Step 2

Place the flowers in the ice cube tray or pots.
Image shows an ice cube tray of ice cubes with flowers inside

Step 3

Fill your jug with water and ¾ fill the pots with water. Freeze for 24hrs.
Table shows the ice cubes and flowers are on the tabletop.

Step 4

Remove from freezer and briefly hold pots under the hot water tap. The ice blocks should then pop out and be placed in a bowl.
Image shows a deep tray with water coloured using food colouring, and the ice cubes and flowers floating around in the tray. A hand holds a large scoop. / --

Step 5

Exploration aids could be used to support play. A bowl of warm water can speed up the defrosting if desired.

Top tips

  • Use essential oils for extra scent
  • Use food colouring to colour the ice cubes
  • Use different sized moulds