Ice "Fishing"

I first saw a similar idea to this one back in July from Counting Coconuts. We didn’t do it back then (mostly because I was a little worried about Big Brother having a hammer) and it didn’t come to mind again until I started thinking about our penguin thematic unit.


This was a HUGE hit, even though the water splattered all over while we were pounding the ice. It gave us an opportunity to talk about what penguin’s eat and how they must swim through the icy waters to get their food. I think we’ll be doing this again in the summertime and adding some color as well.

Here’s what you’ll need:  a pan at least a couple inches deep, water, and some various “trinkets” to place inside. We used some fish leftover from our Advent boxes and magnetic numbers to incorporate some number recognition


1. Fill a pan with water.


2. Add your items. Put in the freezer overnight.


3. Dump the block of ice onto the tray and drain the excess water.


4. Give your little one a mallet and him start pounding away. We used the mallet to one of our toys where you pound the ball into the hole…but that wasn’t doing anything to the ice.




So I gave Big Brother our meat tenderizer (under close supervision).




All done! We would identify each number as Big Brother removed it from the ice.


Literature Link
Five Little Penguins Slipping On The Ice


  1. I love this idea! We're probably not ready for a hammer, but I'm definitely saving this! :)

  2. Hello! I'm here to let you know that I have an award for you on my blog!

    Adventures of Mommy "S"

    ~Mommy "S"

    ps–I absolutely adore your blog! I was a pre-k teacher once upon a time as well and I'm saving many of your ideas for when my 8 month old daughter gets a little older :)

  3. This is so much fun…loud and noisy, water splattering every…great activity!

  4. Absolutely love it! We have done the frozen items and melted with salt but will need to try the mallet. Ella loves helping in the kitchen with it! Thanks for sharing! Kerri

  5. My ~3 and 5 year-olds loved this activity! We used crab mallots but I had to help the little one because her strike wasn't strong enough to break the ice. And she wasn't interested in recognizing the numbers but o well. They enjoyed the activity, which accompanied 10 Littel Penguins pop-up book and The Little Polar Bear movie, which is a cute – and safe – movie.

    Thanks for all your ideas!

    Rhonda from Bel Air, MD

  6. It works good to do a thin layer of ice and give them warm water to dump over it…thin you don’t have to worry about the hammer:)

  7. Loved doing this with my 3 grandsons – 7 1/2, 5 1/5 and 4 years. I used a deeper more square block of ice with lots of small items, plus some dimes and a quarter. Froze a layer at a time so that I could add stuff w/o it floating to the top. They used wooden crab mallets and they each had their own block of ice. We did it outdoors and even in the heat it took them a little time to get to the items. The next time, and there will be a next time, I want to show them how to dig items out by using a screwdriver and dig something out by hitting the screwdriver with the mallet to chop out around the item. Great fun!

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