Set up a simple ocean sensory bin that is science too! I love exploring the ocean and sharing it with my son. We are still in a learn through play stage so we keep the facts light and the play heavy! We will be visiting the ocean soon and have been using ocean theme activities as a way to discuss what we will see and do when we are away!  This icy ocean activity is a great way to include all that.


Ocean Ice melt Science Activity for Preschool Ocean Activities


Get ready to add this simple ocean theme science activity to your summer lesson plans this season. If you want a hands-on way to explore the ocean through lots of play, let’s get started.  While you’re at it, make sure to check out these other fun ocean science activities.

Our science activities and experiments are designed with you, the parent or teacher, in mind!  Easy to set up, quick to do, most activities will take only 15 to 30 minutes to complete and are heaps of fun!  Plus, our supplies lists usually contain only free or cheap materials you can source from home!

Lately, we have been enjoying ice towers made from milk cartons, check out our beach one here! This time I thought I would use some ordinary food storage containers to mold mini oceans. I froze our items in layers so that there would be lots of fun things to unfreeze. Each layer, I added a different color to go along with the ocean.  Ours turned out a bit greener than I thought it would!


Make sure to check out the dollar store for fun critters to add!

Click here for your FREE Printable Ocean Activities.

  • Ocean Sea Creatures or Coral Reef Sea Creatures (We were a little flexible with where in the world our ocean was!)
  • Shells
  • Plastic Containers
  • Food Coloring
  • Eyedropper, squeeze bottles, or meat baster

creatures to put in your icy ocean sensory bin


Make sure to allow plenty of time for the freezing process! Smaller containers will be quicker. If you enjoy ice melting activities we have more than 20 Icy Science Ideas!

STEP 1: Add several of your ocean theme items to the bottom of your container. You will want to decide on how many layers you want to create based on the items you choose.

add ocean accessories to the container

STEP 2: Cover with a layer of colored water. You can easily stick with the same colored water for each layer or play around with shades of blue and blue-green. Put the container in the freezer.

STEP 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each container you want to make up.

make your frozen ocean

STEP 4: Once your icy ocean is frozen, remove the frozen block from the container and place it in a large container. This will help control the mess and turn it into a water sensory play bin!

time to melt the water and play

STEP 5: Set out a bowl of warm water and a choice of “tools” for melting the ice. We always love the classic meat baster from the dollar store. Eyedroppers and squeeze bottles work well too!

frozen ocean

melted ice sensory bin


Once your icy ocean bricks are fully melted, you’ll notice you have an awesome ocean sensory bin leftover. Your kids will love to explore their “new” ocean. Go ahead and add scoops and pails, a small strainer, ice cube trays, and other fun tools for exploring the water sensory bin. Read more about sensory bins here.

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You may want to add a bit of warm water to keep everyone’s hands from freezing. This will definitely create a more enjoyable experience!


  • Add your favorite ocean books to the activity for more under the sea fun.
  • Set up a sink or float experiment with additional items.
  • Build a little boat to float out of tin foil.


Evergreen Ice Melt

Dinosaur Eggs Ice Melt

Halloween Ice Melt

Christmas Ice Melt


Click on the image below or on the link for more ocean activities for kids.

Ocean science activities fro kids Beach activities and Summer STEM

Check out The Complete Ocean Science and STEM Pack in our SHOP!


  1. This is another amazing activity, just like pretty much all of your posts are! I am going to feature this for this weeks Kids Learning Printables Linky Party that I co-host on Every Star is Different. Keep up the good work!


  2. I reeeally love the way the colors in this activity almost look ‘separated, … From here it looks kinda like top layer blue, bottom green. In fact, that’s why I went ahead to read it see how you did that! 😀 My littlest is five now & we’ve still yet to freeze toys or anything but paint (which she’s sick of) — This will go along perfect w/our next set of summer learning activities. I was just wondering WHERE, to find the LINK for post you mention that has your frozen Milk Cartons cuz we’ve run out of milk carton crafts too 😉 THANK YOU Happy Summer

  3. Love this idea but I have a question… does the food coloring stain their fingers (or anything else!) when the ice melts? I’ve been hesitant to try these types of experiments for this reason. Any feedback you have would be most appreciated!

  4. Hi! The food coloring has never stained our fingers. I do not know about clothes though! We make sure we either have it on a surface we don’t care about, take it outside on the grass, or make sure the surface is adequately covered. Placing the ice in a large bin helps collect the water. We have done tons of food coloring ice melts and other projects without much concern for this and I don’t have a very neat little boy, lol!

  5. This is a great idea – we are doing an under the sea (ariel) birthday theme and I’m going to make these and have teams of 3-4 race to see who can unlock their treasure under the sea first!

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