Step 1: Collect Your Materials
- An ice jewel form (I used two). You can find it here.
- Food-based food coloring. Here is a great guide to making your own natural dyes from Nourishing Joy. You can also use non-toxic powdered paint or break up water colors in a pinch.
- Measuring cup
- Bucket and shovel or big spoon
Step 2: Make Your JewelsI recommend doing this step with your kids because it gets them involved and really excited about finding the jewels later. I ended up making around 24 jewels.
- Add approximately 1/2 cup water into the measuring cup. This is enough water to fill one ice jewel form (6 jewels). Choose a color and add it to the water in the measuring cup. More color will make a more intense Jewel. Stir, then Pour the colored water into forms.
- Put forms on a flat surface in the freezer.
- When the forms are frozen (approximately two hours) remove forms and pop ice jewels out. If you run warm water on the bottom, they will come out a lot faster. Keep in a bowl in the freezer or outside until you are ready for the dig.
- Repeat steps above until you have as many jewels of as many colors as you want.
Step 3: Can You Dig it?
- When you're outside, mark out a small perimeter to hide the jewels within. For toddlers, it's best to keep the area small, such as inside a hula-hoop. I had my daughter turn around while I scattered and covered the jewels with snow.
- Let em loose! The best part is just sitting back and letting the kids dig up the jewels
. Even with mittens Cora was able to pick them up.
- Cool thing about this is that when you're done, just bring the jewels back in, throw them in the freezer and use them again another day!
Afterwards, I thought a few ways to enhance this activity:
For groups and a little bit bigger kids, it would be great to turn this into a race. Bury the jewels deeper, in a wider area and see which team can find the most in a certain amount of time.
For toddlers, this is a great opportunity to practice matching. It would be easy to have colored cups or containers, and Cora could dig up and put the jewels in their matching colored cup.
Although ice are a choking hazard for young children and may damage teeth if chewed, there is really no reason that the parents shouldn't enjoy the jewels (if colored with juice or food-based colorings) as flavor and fanciness in their drinks once the treasure hunt is over!
Well I'd love to hear how this one goes for you. Hopefully it will help enhance another happy day outside!
Your Woman Gone Wild,
I’m so happy this worked well for you – awesome idea with the ice cube trays. It has been the activity that keeps on giving for us!
This is a great idea and worked really well at an outdoor winter event I organized recently. Even though I couldn’t find any jewel or fun shaped ice-trays at this time of year (I didn’t have time to order online), regular ice cube trays were fine! I also added some glitter to try and make them sparkle.
Thank you for the great ideas – keep them coming!
I love this idea. We don’t ever seem to have lovely deep snow like you but I’m sure we could get creative with hiding places! Thanks for sharing at the Outdoor Play Party. Hope to see you there again from tomorrow :-)