My girls discovered something really cool this week. They thought it was fascinating. They were completely entertained for days. It was better than any toy they own. What was it? Well, let me back up a bit and tell you this first:
Their Dad brought home a very small refrigerator left over from his college days. It had been at his parents’ house but we decided to use it for a day while we waited on our new refrigerator to be delivered. I had sold our old refrigerator to a friend and it was being picked up one day before our new one was to be delivered. We needed somewhere to put our groceries so their Dad brought home the little one. That tiny little fridge from twenty years ago, combined with a couple of coolers of ice, was able to get us through until our new refrigerator arrived. The girls thought that his old refrigerator was “cute” and “incredible.” They had never seen such a small refrigerator. But what really blew their minds was what they found inside of it.
Inside the little brown square refrigerator was a tiny little door in the top right corner and inside of that was a small, white plastic tray with eight square holes in it.
“What was it??” they wanted to know. “What do you do with it?” They carried it over to me and held out this small white tray as if they were holding something really special and mysterious.
“That,” I declared, “is an ice tray.” Before I said that, it had never occurred to me that my girls, ages eight and four, had never before seen an ice tray. During their lifetimes our refrigerators have always had a built-in ice maker. We have also bought bags of ice at the store from time to time. They know that ice is frozen water but they never knew that you could make your very own ice in your very own home.
“So, how do you do it?” they wanted to know. “Can you show us?” They were so excited about it that it was pretty funny. I explained to them how they could hold the tray under the faucet, fill it up, put it in the freezer, and in the morning they would have eight ice cubes. “Wow!!!” You would have thought that I just gave them each a free ticket to Disney World.
The four-year-old was the first to try it. She filled it up at the kitchen sink and then walked ever so slowly back to our tiny but temporary refrigerator. She carefully opened the door and then needed help getting the tiny freezer door open without spilling water everywhere. We managed to get it in the freezer and then I told them to wait and they would have ice cubes after a while. I didn’t specify how long it would take because honestly I wasn’t sure that freezer would even get cold enough to freeze ice cubes. I didn’t tell them this though. Guess how long they waited until they checked to see if the ice was “done?” Five minutes. “Nope! Not ready yet, Mom!” she hollered at me. I laughed and told them it would probably take several hours. She checked on that ice every five minutes for the next hour. Finally, I explained that it would take even longer to freeze if she kept opening the door. Eventually she got distracted and after a few hours, lo and behold, eight ice cubes had formed in that fascinating white tray.
My kids love to eat ice – all three of them. Even our little 18 month old son will munch on crushed ice from the local Dairy Queen. The girls were pretty psyched to have made their own ice but they were even more excited to get to eat it. I had to show them how to get it out of the tray. “You have to bend and twist it like this…” I explained.
“Wow! Cool!” they exclaimed. All of the ice was dumped out and they each got four cubes in a cup. They ate it as if it was the tastiest ice ever made. The race was on to make eight more ice cubes in that tiny little freezer.
We have made a ton of ice this past week – eight cubes at a time. More ice cube trays are on my Walmart list for this week. We are going to get creative and use juice and fruit in them too. It has turned into a really fun hands-on activity for them. Who would have thought something so simple would be so fun? And who would have thought that ice cube trays were pretty much obsolete? I sure hadn’t given that any thought. I think this week I will explain what a typewriter is, explain what “vhs” means, find an old vinyl record from down in the basement and let them look it over. I wonder if I have ever told them that I only watched cartoons on Saturday mornings when I was a kid? I bet that one will blow their minds…
What about your family? Can you think of something that was an ordinary item from your childhood that is nowadays pretty much obsolete and completely foreign to your kids? Do you have a similar story to the ice tray discovery?