Disclaimer: Looking at pictures of ice cream may cause you to crave and or eat it. I cannot be held responsible for my own ice cream eating, let alone yours!
Every summer we make ice cream with the children. We read a recipe, gather ingredients, follow directions, and measure ingredients. (Keep reading for my favorite recipe!)
Some years we've made a book about our ice cream experiences. I've made a simple class book about it, which is available at TeachersPayTeachers if you are interested.
Another fun way to extend the learning for young children is to have them cook up a batch of dough and pretend. I grabbed bowls, cups, spoons, etc. from my toy kitchen, added dough and kiddos, and we made all kinds of delicious concoctions. As they played and pretended, the children cooperated, worked their finger muscles (important for writing skills), spoke and listened to each other about what they were doing, and more. Child's play is how kiddos learn, and as you can see, they were all very engaged with what they were doing.
Another fun way to get "hands on" is with ice cream puffy paint. I found the idea on pinterest, from http://www.gettingmessywithmsjessi.com/search/label/ice%20cream. It's just a mixture of shaving cream, white glue, and tempera paint. The kiddos mix it up, then paint the ice cream on top of their cone. When it dries, it is still textured, and feels beautifully soft and silky. (We painted it with our hands too, for more sensory fun!)
Some years I like to do a taste test with the children, giving them several flavors to try. Of course, we graph which we think we will like best, and then which one they actually prefer. The children are often surprised to discover a new favorite!
There are so many ways to engage our students in learning, and I have to admit, I'm not above using ice cream or other food to reach them. Here's another ice cream themed game I've made, for students who are ready to learn to tell time.
There are lots more brilliant ideas about engaging students with food, I've gathered some of them on my Food and Nutrition Pinterest board - I hope you'll check it out!
As promised, here's my favorite recipe! It was hand written on the back of an envelope by one of my daycare mommies years ago, so I can't tell you who wrote it, but I can absolutely tell you we love it!
In your ice cream machine, put 2 or 3 cans of sweetened condensed milk, 1 or 2 cans of evaporated milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring, fruit or chocolate chips as you prefer, and then top off to the fill line with milk. Churn until done, then EAT!
I'd love to hear how you engage your students too. In the meantime, I'm off to find some ice cream!