Summer is almost here (and summer vacation is definitely in full swing!) so what better theme than the most yummy of all cold treats- ice cream! Ice cream is one of my favorite desserts, and of course both kiddos love it too! Plus it’s just so darn cute with the fun colors and cones and sundaes! I hope you enjoy the activities below- I’ve also decided to add a supply/shopping list at the end of my plans for those of you who are doing all of the activities just to make life a little easier! That way you can be sure to have all you need on hand to complete the lessons! I’m only including items that weren’t already listed on my “Basic Supplies” post and I’m including all of the items you’ll need to also do the sensory play and art activities in my toddler ice cream post (since they’re perfect for preschool aged kids too!)
-Sprinkle letter hunt: throw a few large containers of rainbow sprinkles in a cake pan, shoe box or large tupperware. Hide letters in the sprinkles (we did the letters in my preschooler’s name, but you could do this with all of the ABCs too!) and have your little find them, identify them and either use them to spell his or her name or put them in ABC order.
-Write a true story about ice cream: Have your little narrate a story about all the things they know about ice cream or about a time they ate ice cream and draw a picture to go with it. My little guy drew “blue ice cream in a blue bowl with bananas and sprinkles”. I did have to ask him questions to prompt more details for his story (like “What else do you know?” “When do you eat ice cream?” and so on), but he’s pretty new to non-fiction writing (and story writing in general) so that makes sense.
-I is for Ice Cream writing practice: I made these pages using dots then tucked them in a sheet protector so that they can be used again and again with a dry erase marker! We practiced one of the pages and reviewed the letter “I” each day!
-Ice cream scoop name practice: Cut out ice cream cones from construction paper and write the letters in your child’s name- one on each cone. Cut out ice cream scoop shapes in a few different colors and write the same letters on each one. Have your child lay the cones on the floor so that they spell his or her name. Then have them pick up a scoop shape at a time, name the letter on it, and match it to the correct cone. To cut out several shapes at once and save time, fold the paper into eighths! This can be saved in a baggie to do again!
-Ice cream alphabet matching: This activity mirrors the one above, however you are using capital and lowercase letters. You can either do it by writing capital letters on the cones and having your kiddo match scoops with lowercase letters on them, or you can focus on just the letters in their name. We chose to do the letters in my little’s name since those are the most important letters to the child and are therefore the ones they should learn first (in my opinion). I used the same cones from the previous activity, I just added in capital and lowercase letters for each of the letters in his name!
-Ice cream patterns: Draw colorful ice cream cones in different patterns with one blank ice cream at the end of each pattern. Have your little make playdough balls that match each color (check to see that you have the playdough colors you want to use first!) and then figure out what color would come next in the pattern. This is even more fun if you pretend your little owns an ice cream shop and these are the orders they have to make for their customers (that’s what we did!). We also counted up all the “orders” he filled when we finished the page. I wish I would’ve stuck the paper in a page protector first though because it got so gooey I had to toss it! Oh well!
-Ice cream scoop number recognition and counting: I used the Melissa and Doug giant paper roll for this because it gives you 18 inches to work with height-wise, however a regular sheet of paper may be fine if you draw circles for your little to dot and count instead of letting them do it on their own. To create the page, make 10 ice cream cones out of construction paper, write the numbers 1-10 on them, glue them to the bottom of your page, and have your little use a do-a-dot marker (or bingo dobber/regular marker) to count out scoops of ice cream that match each number.
-Giant ice cream number recognition: cut out a cone and several colorful circles from construction paper (you can also do this with ice cream scoop shapes, but I used circles because they can also be used to make a “counting caterpillar” I found on Pinterest and it saves you prep-time!) To get the circles perfect I traced a small toddler bowl then cut it out! When the circles are cut out, write a number on each one. Scramble the numbers on the floor and have your little find and name each one in consecutive order. Have them place each “scoop” on the cone as they go until they’ve made a GIANT ice cream! (My little was delighted with how big it was!) We did numbers 1-10, but you can easily extend this beyond that if your little is ready!
-Homemade vanilla maple ice cream: This is a fun and easy activity for kids (and adults!) of any age! I got the instructions on Busy Toddler and just modified the ingredients! We used 1 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of real maple syrup (because liquid sugar mixes in to a cold liquid SO much better than solid sugar!) Pop those ingredients into a small Ziplock, throw THAT Ziplock into another small Ziplock (if you don’t double bag, you may just end up with salty ice cream…YUCK!) then throw the whole thing along with 5 cups of ice and 1/3 cup of rock salt into a gallon Ziplock and shake it up for about 10 minutes! We had fun shaking the bag all over the place (it helps to wear mittens and take turns because it gets COLD) and the ice cream turned out really yummy!
-Melting ice cream experiment: This activity follows the scientific method of question, hypothesize, observe and collect data, and conclude. Ask your child the focus question “Will ice cream melt quicker in the sun or the shade?” Have them justify their thinking using what they know by asking “Why do you think that?” Set up the experiment by putting the same amount of ice cream in each of two bowls, and setting one in the shade and one in the sun. Watch them melt and discuss what you see. Use your observations to answer your focus question.
-Build a sundae: Using construction paper cut out a bowl, ice cream scoop shapes, and topping shapes such as syrup, bananas, sprinkles, blueberries and cherries. Place the toppings in a mini muffin tin so that they are easy to see. Have your little glue ice cream scoops and toppings into the bowl to make an ice cream sundae!
- cream (or milk or a milk substitute)
- chocolate syrup or vanilla extract
- rock salt
- quart ziplock bags
- gallon ziplock bags
- Melissa and Doug paper roll
- cake pan
- ice cube tray
- ice cream
- squirt bottles (the kind used for condiments)
- shaving cream (Barbasol is my favorite because it comes out foamy)
- food coloring
- do a dot markers (or regular markers)
- pom poms
- sidewalk chalk
- page protectors