Old-fashioned ice crusher makes a perfect hot weather distraction

Here's how Eugenie keeps her toddler busy and cool at the same time:

I'm always desperate for things to keep my very active 20-month-old boy busy in the kitchen while I'm cooking dinner. I recently pulled out our old-timey, crank-style ice crusher, and voilá! He and I carefully fill the top with ice cubes, we turn the crank together (it's much too hard a job for tiny hands alone), and I remove and place the top in a safe place. He loves the ice chips that fill the bottom half, and enjoys eating what he's "made". We repeat as necessary, until I'm finished cooking or he's ready to move on. The best part? It's just water, so if it gets everywhere, it's not a problem. You can find old crank-style ice crushers at yard sales, or on eBay for as low as $10.

Or, if you have an ice crusher built in to your fridge, you could just fill a bowl with crushed ice and let your kid have at it. Not quite as fun as the crank, but would do in a pinch.

Related: Dinnertime rattle: ice cubes in a Tupperware container


  1. k says

    Is there any concern for his finger-safety? I’ve got visions of wee little fingers getting crushed by the ice-crusher. *shudder*

  2. says

    Great strategy to keep the kids busy while you have work to do in the kitchen. I think this hits the nail on the head. Your investment of time is short (to help chop the ice) and your payoff is big (the time you get to do your thing while your child is eating the ice.

    Glad to see another parent who agrees that water is no big deal!

  3. Liz says

    Anyone else concerned about damaging teeth with chomping on ice? Maybe the crusher makes them small enough where they just melt, but I had a thing for chomping on ice during my last pregnancy, and ended up cracking a molar. Four years later a chunk of the molar broke off and I spent the morning of my daughter’s birthday at the dentist – and have a crown in my future – all because of eating ice.

    Playing with ice, now that’s a whole other thing, which I totally approve of.

  4. says

    it is an exciting idea but im just a little concern..im such a protective mom, will it not harm his little fingers?