16 Surprising Things to Do with Ice (It’s Not Just for Cocktails!)

Summer is sizzling but we’ve got a few chill tricks up our sleeves when it comes to beating the heat and entertaining the kids. Your secret weapon? Ice. Yep, good old frozen water. From ways to spike your mocktails to sensory play that melts away, read on for 16 refreshing ways to re-think the clink.

photo: Angie Six via flickr 

Eat & Drink

1. Making iced coffee? Make some iced coffee cubes! Freeze a little leftover coffee in a tray and the next time you are making yourself a cool, chilled coffee drink use these instead of regular ice. Your drink won’t end up weak and watery.

2. Ditto for iced tea. Splash a little iced tea or lemonade into an ice cube tray for a great way to chill your tea without watering it down.

3. Get spriggy with it. Toss in a sprig of lemon thyme or mint for a the perfect splash of herby-goodness in your cocktail, mocktail or cold water.

photo: einladung_zum_essen via pixabay

4. Fruity fresh! Freeze raspberries, blueberries or pomegranate seeds into your ice cubes for a special twist on water or lemonade. The blueberry ones are perfect for teething babies.

5. Fancy pants. Use edible flowers frozen in ice and serve the single most fancy glass of water on the block. Delicate violets, nasturtiums, lavender, calendula and even dianthus or carnations work perfectly.

6. Leftover rules. Use leftover juice from canned peaches or pineapple to make tiny popsicles that will also add a spike of sweetness to your tea or sparkling water.

7. Shine. If you happen to have edible glitter around you can swirl some into the water after you’ve filled the cube trays; or try adding a couple of sprinkles.

photo: silviarita via pixabay

8. When it doubt, make popsicles. You can make these in an ice cube tray or a popsicle mold, or even a paper cup with a popsicle stick in the center (you’ll want to add the stick about half-way through the freezing process). Here are our favorite recipes for you to try this summer!

9. Keep it simple. Serve your drinks in an extra frosty glass. Just run water over the cup and place in freezer for a few minutes. Instant-frosty mug!

photo: Cliff Johnson via flickr


10. Shapey things
. These days you can find ice cube trays (or use candy molds) in all kinds of shapes and sizes, including LEGO bricks, dinosaurs and more. Freeze them in different colors and lay them out on a tray for adorable play that will make you melt.

11. Smells n”ice.” Who knew you could use ice for a scent-sensory experiment, using classic items from your spice rack? Check out how Lemon and Lime Adventures did it, and then set up your own version.

12. Ice science. A proper experiment really doesn’t get much simpler than a muffin tin with ice and a few key ingredients, designed to see what makes ice melt the fastest. The Chaos and the Clutter has an easy tutorial you can follow so you can literally execute this cool project in less than ten minutes.

photo: Adam Tuttle via flickr

13. Painter’s palette. Use food coloring to tint the water in the tray different colors and make colored ice cubes. Once they’re frozen, let the kiddos paint with their new icy watercolors! You can also throw these colored cubes into the bath or kiddie pool for some extrasensory excitement.

14. Excavation station. Take a few toys, like small cars, rubber duckies, even LEGO minifigs and freeze them in water. Use a nice tall container to get a tower or a big bowl. You add a few toys, let the water freeze a bit, then stash in a a couple more to get a well-balanced icicle. You can equip them with a butter knife, plastic knife or spoon or a stick to begin the scraping. For younger kids, let them just go free-hand. We love this bejewled rainbow version from Fun at Home with Kids

15. Frozen IRL. Make a big batch or buy a bag of ice cubes and get stacking. Using a bit of water to help them stick, race against the clock as you stack and form an ice castle fit for Elsa. Got a few Frozen-themed toys around the house? Get them in on the fun! Make ice beds, ice chairs, ice tables, walls and more.

16. Chill, baby! Looking for cute sensory play for your smallest set? Check out these awesome frozen sensory bags that are safer for babies but still keep them stimulated and cool on a hot day!

Got any cool ideas for ice play or sensory treats? Tell us in a comment below! 

—Amber Guetebier

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Here’s How to Be a Mermaid

Few places are as iconic as Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida, where live mermaid performances have been regular entertainment since 1947. So it makes perfect sense that it would also be home to a mermaid camp! The 2-day experience teaches your little fishies what it’s like to be a Weeki Wachee mermaid performer: think grace and ballet moves, or underwater dancing! The sessions take place in 15-feet of water (totally supervised) and children also learn what it takes to put on a show: at the end of camp family gets to watch their little mermaid perform what they’ve learned—kids perform “dry” in the underwater theater.  It’s like theater camp meets ballet meets aquatic acrobats. The Weeki Wachee park also offers other cool features, like a wildlife cruise and on-site dining as well as plenty of other outdoor adventures. And for aspiring mermaid grown-ups, there’s even a camp for adults 30 and up!

Good to know: This camp requires kids to be very comfortable in water so if you can’t get them out of the pool, this is the one for them! Also, the camp sells out quickly so you can plan your vaycay around it for next year: classes take place April-August.

Ages: 7-10 or 11-14
Cost: $300
Where: Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
6131 Commercial Way
Spring Hill, Fl
Online: weekiwachee.com


photo courtesy Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

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Vegetable Recipes that Kids Love

Good news: dinnertime battles over broccoli and beets are about to become a thing of the past. Below are our favorite veggie-ful recipes that we (and yes, we promise, our kids) love. From artichoke pie to quinoa-stuffed zucchini, these easy veggie-centric recipes will have you breathing a sigh of relief that your kids are now getting the vitamins and nutrients they need. Click through the slideshow to get meal planning!

Black Bean Falafel Sandwich

If your kiddos haven’t discovered the awesomeness that is a pita pocket, then it’s high time they tried this new spin on the traditional falafel sandwich. Using black beans instead of chickpeas and topped with smooth avocado and stuffed into a whole wheat pita, this is one sandwich your kids will gobble up in no time. Click here to get the recipe.

photo: Daniel Means via Flickr

Leave us some ideas in the comment section below telling us your favorite veggie-ful recipes.

—Erin Lem and Susie Foresman

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Looking for Tech-Savvy Writers to Contribute to Our National Edition

photo: Simon Abrams via flickr

You’re a tech-minded writer who’s all about the digital ease. From quirky gadgets that make a parent’s life easier to clever apps that teach your kids everything from new words to mathematics, you can give it all a test run and then break down the manual into parent-speak. Sounds like something you do everyday? Send us an e-mail! We’re looking for moms and dads who are ready to get their fingers flying and share their digital knowledge for our National edition.

Ideal candidates will:

Have a sharp eye for kid-friendly and family-focused technology and apps, and in the know of the latest trends and releases

Able to explain and breakdown technological concepts in a fun, engaging way for our audience

Have a firm grasp of the English language, excellent grammar and punctuation skills…and, have the ability to adapt your writing style to the Red Tricycle editorial brand. You’re a Red Tricycle reader so you already know what type of style and design resonates with our readers.

Be active in the writing and blogging community with published work (either print or online).

Be active on social media, able to follow trends and tech blogs.

About Red Tricycle:
Red Tricycle fuels the parenting universe with daily inspiration for family fun. We believe the best memories are created when families do fun things together and we believe every day is an opportunity to create new stories. Our mission is to help every parent feel like a rock star by inspiring them to do fun things with their kids. Each month Red Tricycle reaches 20 million parents with ideas that are aspirational and actionable that you can do at home, in your city or wherever your adventures take you.

Good luck!

To apply Email gabby (at) redtri.com your cover letter, resume, and writing sample with “National Tech Writer” in the subject line.

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9 Last Minute Father’s Day Ideas to Make It Count

Father’s Day is coming soon but there’s no reason to worry: just add a homemade card to any of the following scenarios and you’ll soon have Dad feeling like King. From bacon all day to an impromptu lawn game tournament, we’ve found plenty of ways to spoil pops and have a blast with the kiddos at the same time. Scroll down for the scoop.

photo: PublicDomainImages via pixabay

1. The Dad Jar

Fill a jar with slips of paper on which you have written fun and sweet things you can do for and say to Dad. Have Dad pull one note from the jar once an hour until they are all gone, all Father’s Day long. The notes should be a combination of actions, affection and edibles. For example: Bring Dad a snack; Give Dad a hug; Tell Dad something you love about him; Give Dad a present (if you’ve made or bought him something); Draw Dad a picture; rub Dad’s feet; tickle Dad; bring Dad his favorite book and leave him alone for 30 minutes; Scratch Dad’s back, etc.

photo: Skirball Museum 

2. The Picnic Package

Pack a picnic basket full of all of Dad’s favorite food groups and take him on a picnic. You can go to a popular park or just your own backyard. No yard? Try throwing a spread right in your living room. Dad probably won’t mind so much if you happen to have it in front of the TV with his favorite movie on, or the game. Or cue up his favorite songs. Browse these 14 picnic snack recipes to jazz up your basket.

photo: Allen County Public Library via flickr

3. Have a Round of Love Charades

Let the kids write down a list of at least 10 things they love about their dad. Now have the kids “act out” the things they love without telling what they’ve written. It’s like a game of charades where Dad guesses why his kids think he is so awesome. We guarantee there will be laughs galore. Try serving a batch of red velvet brownies during “intermission.”

photo: kiethjj via pixabay

4. Take Him Out to the Ballgame

You might not have been able to score major league seats this Father’s Day but minor league games are usually a lot less crowded and more affordable. Check out the schedule for Minor League Baseball here and see if there’s one in your town, or see if your local highschool or Little League has a game on. You can also throw a game of your own, with your own set of bases, a bat, mitts and balls. Pack ‘em up and tote them to the park or your front lawn and invite some other dads and kids from the ‘hood to join in. If you’ve got time, score some matching ballcaps for Dad and his kiddos to wear. Serve dad some gourmet popcorn on the side.

photo: Intelligent Domestication

5. Grill, Baby. Grill.

When in doubt, fill his tummy with bbq, corn and a side of snuggles. Have the kiddos make a cute homemade card to give him during the day and then spoil him rotten with all of his favorite food groups, like simple BBQ mains and sides. Got a hammock? Now’s the time to hang it up and let dad nap. Feeling extra festive? Try grabbing Dad a “flight” of beer by getting one each of the following: a pilsner (light), a medium amber ale, an IPA and a porter or stout. Serve them in small glasses all in a row.

photo: bsugarmama.com 

6. Bacon, Bacon, Bacon

Make it a bacon day. Start him off with a traditional bacon and eggs breakfast. Segway to lunch with bacon, corn and potato chowder or pasta and peas with bacon. For dinner, put out some bacon appetizers while you finish up the slow cooker, bacon-wrapped apple BBQ chicken. And for dessert? Well, bacon bourbon pecan pie, of course!

photo: stux via pixabay

7. Shave & the Paper

Go old school this year and greet Dad on Father’s Day with the Sunday paper, a steaming mug of coffee and some home-made shaving cream. Let him have a leisurely morning sipping and shaving.

photo: Mike Gifford via flickr

8. Organize a Lawn Game Tournament

Make a cardboard box cornhole, bust out the bocce and kick the soccer ball around an obstacle course you and the kiddos have laid out. If you’ve got fellow Dads in your circle of friends, get them over for an afternoon of fancy lemonade (or mint limeade fizz) and hot dog sliders. Click here for 10 outdoor games the kids will love setting up and participating in! 

photo: Ruth Hartnup via flickr

9. Stage an Outdoor Laboratory

Swing by the hardware store for a few ingredients and a couple extra pairs of protective eye-goggles and set up your backyard for science! Just be sure to get everything you need and have it all prepped so that all Dad has to do, is explode things. For science!

What are your plans for making Dad’s day extra special? Share your ideas with our community in the comments below. 

—Amber Guetebier

featured image: peterjbon via pixabay


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Tea-Infused Mocktail Recipes

This summer, whether you’re lounging by the pool or staying inside with the A/C on full blast, you’ve got to have some cool drinks in your arsenal. That’s where these tea-infused mocktails come in—with freshly brewed iced tea, in-season fruit and splashes of soda, they’re just the thing to keep you going until fall. Click through the slideshow below and let the relaxation begin.

Jasmine Ginger Iced Green Tea

Floral jasmine green tea pairs perfectly with spicy ginger beer in this fantastic recipe from Kingfield Kitchen. Topped off with lime and strawberries, it’s sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike. To see the recipe, click here.

photo: Kingfield Kitchen

Do you have a favorite tricked-out iced tea recipe? Share with our community in the comments below. 

—Susie Foresman

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5 Easy Recipes Your Kids Can Help Make

Even the best chefs get a little assistance in the kitchen sometimes! Involving kids in the cooking process is a great way to get them interested in exploring new foods, flavors and textures (Plus, it’s fun bonding time!). We’ve got five super delish, totally simple recipes that are perfect for you to whip up with your little helper. Grab your aprons, grab your mini sous chef and get cooking!

photo: Apron Strings

1. One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
If you’re looking for a quick no-fuss meal, this one-pot pasta recipe is the definition of easy! Best of all, since you just need to dump everything into one pot and let it cook, there’s time for a quick story or snuggle while you wait for dinner. Check out the recipe right here.

What the Kids Can Do: Little kitchen helpers can pick basil from the stem and tear the leaves, pour all of the ingredients into the pot and garnish the dish with parmesan when it’s done.

photo: GI 365

2. Honey Garlic Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry
This simple stir-fry from Kari of GI 365 is big on flavor and comes together in less than 30 minutes. You can substitute any protein that you like in place of the chicken, or switch it up with any veggies that need to be used up in the fridge. This one is sure to be a hit with everyone in the family! You can find everything you need here.

What the Kids Can Do: They can whisk the sauce, peel the broccoli or crush the garlic in a garlic press.

photo: Amazing Almonds

3. Crispy Parmesan-Crusted Fish
You’ll never reach for a box of frozen fish sticks again once you see how fast you can make these yummy fish fillets with a crunchy parmesan and panko crust, courtesy of !Hola! Jalapeno.

What the Kids Can Do: Mini chefs can jump right in by squeezing the lemon, seasoning the fish by sprinkling it with salt, mixing the panko and parmesan and helping to coat the fish. Get started with the recipe by clicking here.

photo: Gabriel Bergin via Flickr

4. Grilled Flank Steak with Rosemary
Grilled flank steak in three easy steps sounds like a dinner dream come true! With the addition of this sweet and savory marinade, you’ll have a fast summer meal that everyone will cheer for. Click here for the recipe.

What the Kids Can Do: Your sous chef can help with dinner prep by picking the rosemary from the stem, stirring up the ingredients for the honey-spiked marinade or mixing the steak and marinade in a Ziploc bag.

photo by Dairy Made Easy

5. Baked Roasted Veggie Pasta
Packed with colorful veggies and topped with tangy feta cheese, this delicious pasta dish from the cookbook Dairy Made Easy is a treat for the eyes as well as hungry tummies! Check out the full recipe here.

What the Kids Can Do: Little fingers can help out by washing the tomatoes in a colander, tossing the veggies with olive oil, tearing basil leaves or crumbling the cheese on top.

Do you plan to try any of these recipes? What are your best tips for having kids help in the kitchen? Let us know in the comments below!

—Anna Doogan

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7 Meals That Don’t Require an Oven

As temperatures keep on climbing, the last thing we feel like doing is using the oven to make dinner. Luckily there are plenty of amazing recipes that don’t require long bakes. From Southwestern-style salads to barbecue beef sandwiches, these recipes can all be made without breaking a sweat.

Southwestern Black Bean Salad

Salad doesn’t have to be a side dish—this colorful creation by Cook Nourish Bliss is hearty enough to stand on its own. And it’s super easy to throw together in no time at all. Click here to grab the recipe.

photo: Cook Nourish Bliss

What’s your favorite meal to make that doesn’t require the oven? Let us know below.

—Susie Foresman

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