Icy fun to keep kids cool

Here is a super simple (and inexpensive) way to keep kids occupied — and cool — on hot summer days.

icy fun to keep kids cool

What you do:

• Buy a bunch of little plastic tchotchkes from the dollar store or a similarly inexpensive spot. Things that will interest the kiddos you plan to entertain. (For my grandsons, I bought Army men and rubber bugs.)

• Fill a big plastic (ie, flexible) bowl or dish with water. Drop in the unwrapped tchotchkes.

• Put the bowl in the freezer to freeze until hard. If the plastic goodies float, you may need to push them down into the ice every now and then as the ice hardens so they're not all at the top (or bottom, depending on how you unmold the ice).

• Once the figures are fully encased in the frozen ice, give each child a tool for chipping away at the ice. Older kids may be safe with screwdrivers and hammers to tap at the tool, but little ones are safer with metal spoons and forks, which are what I allowed my grandsons to use.

• Take the kids, tools and block of ice outdoors. Release the ice block from the dish and let the kids chip away to remove the goodies inside. At some point they'll likely realize, as my grandsons did, the quickest way to release the treats is to raise ice chunks over their heads and smash them onto the ground. (This is where you best tell them to close their eyes as they do it to avoid ice slivers flinging into their eyeballs!)

• Enjoyment of the tchotchkes continues once they're removed from the ice.

Cool fun... in more ways than one.

Depending on your browser, the slide show above may cut off the pics a tad, so feel free to see the full photos here.

Today's (icy) question:

When it comes to ice in beverages, do you prefer cubes, crushed or no ice at all?