Make ice cream last by turning it into a fun activity.

Ice Cream Activities for Toddlers

by Shara JJ Cooper

Not many kids say no to ice cream. With that kind of enthusiasm, you can easily grab even the trickiest tot's attention with ice cream-themed activities. You can enjoy ice cream treats any time of year but you and your tot will really enjoy these activities in the hot summer months when you need a refreshing break.

1. Crafts

Your tot is going to love anything that has to do with ice cream, right? Especially, if he gets to cut and create his own cones. An easy one is to help your little rugrat create his own ice cream cones from felt. All you need is felt in various colors and some kid scissors. Cut out cloud shapes in the colors your child wants to use for the cone: green for peppermint, brown is chocolate, you get the idea. Cut out a long triangle for the cone, then attach the felt pieces to your felt board, or if you want to continue crafting, paste the pieces on paper. Let your child decorate the cone using buttons, sparkles and small pieces of felt for cherries, sprinkles and chocolate chips. Just be sure to keep an eye on your kids to ensure they don't put anything into their mouths.

2. Cooking

You can make a simple or fancy dessert with ice cream. Your toddler probably already knows that, but I bet he didn't know he could make ice cream at home! All you need is milk, vanilla, sugar, crushed ice, salt and zip close bags. You'll also want to put gloves on your child so his fingers don't turn into icicles. Pour 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1 tbsp. sugar in a quart-sized bag. Squeeze out the air and seal it up tight. Give it to your toddler to shake and mix. Put this bag inside a second quart-sized bag so it is double bagged. Remove the air and seal it. Now, put the ice cream solution inside a gallon-sized zip lock bag and fill the bigger bag with ice. When you are finished, sprinkle 4 tbsp. salt on the top and seal it with as little air as possible. Now's the best part. Your tot can squeeze, shake and rub the back to get it to form smooth ice cream. Let him work at it for 5 to 8 minutes. Open up the bags and remove your finished ice cream!

3. Reading

Let your child read ice cream-themed books to explore outside his world. Depending on your tot's age, he can learn something as simple as counting and colors with books like the "Ice Cream Colors" board book by John Fosberg or "I Am An Ice Cream Truck" by Ace Landers. Or you can teach him about sharing with books like "Should I Share My Ice Cream?" by Mo Willems. If you are giving your child ice cream for a treat on a hot summer's day, you might want to check "Wemberly's Ice-Cream Star" by Kevin Henkes out of the library. In this book, Wemberly finds out the hard way what happens to ice cream on a hot day.

4. Vocabulary

Teach your preschooler some new vocabulary with ice cream-related words as part of a word find. Use words like ice, cream, milk, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, chips and peppermint. Give him the word list and help him find the words. For children this young, simply make the words to go from left to right since they haven't mastered more advanced skills yet. You can also create ice cream-related words using letters you have around the house, like letter blocks and fridge magnets.

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