Parenting Hack: Ice Wreaths (AKA: A Craft for the Uncrafty)

We survived the week. By Friday afternoon I felt like toast – the slightly overdone, burnt-around-the-edges variety to which our kids turn up their noses. The type where even generous helpings of peanut butter and jam can’t disguise the fact that the toast, is in fact, too “toasty.” Like I’ve said, though, life is currently about survival and I’m constantly reminding myself that living through a global pandemic is a never-ending roller coaster. I’m persisting with my joyfinding, while feeling incredibly fatigued. For now, the kids are set to attend in-person school moving forward, but I’m trying to stay realistic about what the next few months may look like.

On to lighter fare.

Let’s rewind a bit, to an activity I mentioned last week – ice wreaths, a collaborative family activity completed during online learning.

I am not what you’d call crafty. I can be creative, yes, but getting my hands covered in glitter or paint is not my thing. For the record, I DID help my daughter create one of the coolest Halloween costumes ever, but this is the exception, not the rule. My kids are rarely allowed to use paint inside our house (that’s what preschool was for!) and I abhor glitter (though understand its appeal).

But ice wreaths…this is a “craft” I can get behind.

I did this activity with the kids last year and it was a big hit, so we went for a successful repeat in 2022.

Here’s what you do:

  • Grab a bundt pan (or create one yourself by putting a heavy glass inside the centre of a cake pan).

Go outside and gather natural materials.

Heading off through the woods, armed with bags to collect woodsy crafting supplies.
Some of nature’s bounty from the side of the road. Careful of the thorns!

Arrange the various items (pinecones, berries, birdseed, evergreen branches, clementine peels – the latter coming from inside the house) around the base of the bundt pan.

Cover with water.

Freeze (we did this outside because it was -16 degrees Celcius; a freezer would also work).

Warm the bottom of the pan for a few minutes in warm water.

Unmold and hang with a ribbon outside.

The whole experience was fun; all the mess stays outside and since everything is natural/compostable, you can just let it melt, collect the ribbon, and repeat.

I know I have some readers that hail from warmer climates where this activity would be an effort in futility! I guess this is one time cold weather comes in handy?!

24 thoughts on “Parenting Hack: Ice Wreaths (AKA: A Craft for the Uncrafty)”

    1. Well, you’ve officially seen the extent of my crafting. Can’t knit…or sew…and you know my feelings about paint and glitter!

  1. Believe it or not, I’ve done something similar to this (and I’m one of your readers from Florida!) When my kids were in preschool, they had “ice castle day” once a year where they had huge blocks of ice delivered and the kids built the ice castle, which was basically like a circle of ice blocks. We were encouraged to bring along our own additions, so we would use different shapes and molds to freeze water with various things in it- flowers, leaves, rocks, etc. Then the kids would put their own ice creations on top of the “castle” as decorations. This all took place in February, where it could be anywhere from 60-80 degrees out. So this obviously melted away as the afternoon went on. Freezing all the decorations ahead of time was really fun, and as soon as I saw the picture of your ice wreath in your last post, it reminded me of ice castle day. Your wreaths are beautiful! And have the benefit of lasting quite a bit longer. That is a great winter activity.
    I had to laugh at your disdain of glitter. I feel like our house was covered in glitter for years- once you take it out you can never get rid of it. I tolerated it, but I know a lot of people like you who can’t stand it- especially my brother-in-law, who’s an art teacher.

    1. Ha! An art teacher who doesn’t like glitter. That’s hilarious. It. just. gets. everywhere.
      That ice castle idea sounds so fun. I was telling my husband yesterday (as we were shoveling a huge pile of snow from the driveway) I remember a year where my brother and I made a giant snow fortress and covered it all in water which then froze. We only did it once, but it was so big we could stand up inside of it and that memory has stayed with me all these years.
      I’ve never head of a “ice castle” day for kids, though, and that just feels like one of the coolest things ever (even in Florida where it WILL melt; it feels extra whimsical and special somehow).
      Maybe I’ll try doing this in the summer with the kids with all the wildflowers around; it would melt quickly, but that might be part of the fun too? I’m going to write it down in my daytimer as a potential summer activity!!!

  2. Glitter! Ugh! When my mom downsized a few years ago, she gave me a bunch of rolls of holiday wrapping paper that she had stored in her basement. I used one of those rolls this year and it was so glittery and that glitter is everywhere in our house and I’m pretty sure it will be here until we move out, no matter how many times I vacuum.

    Those wreaths looks amazing. Since you used some bird-friendly materials (berries, etc.), I wonder if you see any birds expressing interest in them? Putting some birdseed in there would be fun!

    1. Glitter lasts forever!

      Levi’s wreath actually did contain some birdseed and I saw a chickadee sitting on his wreath yesterday! I didn’t get a picture, but it was very pretty!

  3. These are AMAZING! I love this idea! When the snow melts enough for us to find some materials, I may have to try this with my kid! (Not sure if it stays cold enough, long enough around here though. Hmm.)

    1. I’m amazed how long they last. I think if you froze them in the freezer…you might be surprised how long it takes for them to melt fully outside?
      Last year they melted in a few days, but this time (given the current weather forecast – sigh), they could theoretically last for weeks!

  4. I totally love that costume! And the wreaths are amazing too, it is a little too warm here in winter for that to survive as an ice wreath for too long although we do get colder spells occasionally. It looks so lovely.

    I hear you on the glitter, we love making things here but I will never allow glitter in this house, once it is in it never leaves. There is nothing remotely creative or arty or crafty about glitter, oh and it is also really bad for the environment as it is plastic. The awful microplastic that is getting everywhere now, so you don’t even need an excuse to not be using it, it shouldn’t even be manufactured anymore. There ends my glitter rant.

    1. A great point about the plastics; and it really does never leave on many levels.
      Thankfully my kids don’t really ask for glitter (and it’s not something preschool or school seems to encourage).

      Last year our wreaths melted quickly, but we’re having a cold freeze here in Eastern Canada, so they might last for weeks!?

  5. I can’t wait to try this lovely idea! Thank you for sharing. It kind of reminds me of making birdseed wreaths… I guess it would be possible to make mini ones too?

    1. Levi did put birdseed in his!
      Mini ones would be cute, too. And other shapes could work as well; bundt pans are just the path of least resistance for me.

  6. what a fun idea to entertain the kids and so pretty the final product. I wonder how long will it last? this could be regular activity until weather gets warm, no? so many options!

    1. We got rain last night and one of them fell down. I’ll admit it did make me a little sad, but we can always regather the materials and make it again (though I expect the birdseed will all get consumed)!

  7. OMG. Glitter. We HATE glitter in this house, too! Especially my husband. And they seem to do projects w/ glitter ALL THE TIME at school! I don’t know how the teachers put up with it! It gets on everything. I’ll often notice some glitter on the baby’s face that he’s clearly pick up when scooting around on the floor. Such a mess!

    This is a fun project idea and I love that you found things outdoors to use for decorations! I don’t think we could find berries like that around here! That is something I have never seen! I’ll have to keep this in mind for down the road when we need a cold-weather project!

    1. They did NOT do glitter at preschool with my kids, but lots of paint (which I appreciated, but just am not “in to” at home).
      Washable markers and paper and pencil are more my style.
      Somehow glitter still seems to come in to our house, though. On birthday cards or in prizes they win at events. I’m not sure where it comes from because I don’t buy it…but I still find it!
      Sadly both ice wreaths came down in the rain overnight…but they are easy to recreate again as the temperatures are set to drop soon.

  8. I’ve been debating getting a bundt pan for ages, and I think this might be what tips it into the shopping cart! I love how this is so engaging for kids … sometimes after the snowmen and snow angels are made, I run out of ideas. (My oldest literally decided to take a nap in the snow the other day because I told her she couldn’t come in yet. Clearly it is not as cold here as it is there!)

    1. Of all the winter-weather memories I have, I have to admit none of my children have fallen asleep in the snow. Hilarious. And yes, it’s definitely too cold for that here.
      The first snowman of the season was made yesterday and I didn’t lift a finger; I had an important work call and needed silence so it was outside or LEGO. They chose outside and it was actually a lark to watch them make a snowman right outside the window where I was working (and hear the rummaging in the fridge for a carrot).

  9. What a very crafty thing to do 🙂 I would have to make use of the freezer and the wreath wouldn’t last very long, but it’s pretty for cooler climates!

  10. Glitter is a decoration of the devil. Seriously.
    There are people who send me holiday cards, and every year, I open the envelope but DO NOT remove the card. Why? Because glitter. Every year. And then – as NGS and others pointed out – it’s everywhere and it does not leave.

    This is an awesome, creative idea though! You clearly do not have to be crafty to be creative – the two are mutually exclusive! And I would argue that your blog is a creative pursuit. 🙂

    1. You’re right! Writing is my favourite creative outlet and has been for a long time. Unfortunately, as a parent, my kids aren’t overly enthralled with sitting at my feet in rapture with my creativity while I write. If only…

      Glitter is pretty awful. We had to get a heavy-duty vacuum to get up glitter from my daughter’s carpet (that she had used without me knowing). I seems to be gone, I think. Gone, but definitely not forgotten…

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