Ice Cream in a Bag - Science Experiment

Shake up some homemade ice cream on a hot day! This science experiment can be done with any age group. Younger kiddos will enjoy the sights and sounds of shaking the bag and older kiddos will enjoy the science behind the salt and ice!

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Activity PDF

Enjoy this cold summer treat on a hot day!

This fun activity can be done inside or outside and is super fun to make without any fancy tools or machine. The children can visually see how the salt affects the ice and watch in real time how the liquid ingredients become more solid inside the bag, creating ice cream! This ice cream activity is hands-on, and if your bags are durable enough they can get out some energy from kiddos by shaking and throwing the bag around!

🍦Explore with flavors! Add some chocolate syrup, cut up berries or sprinkles to the mix to switch up the ice cream flavors!

💧Did you know? When salt is added to water, the freezing point of water is lowered, causing the ice to melt. This lowers the temperature of the water even below the freezing point of fresh water.

Materials

For this activity you will need:

1 cup whole milk or whipping cream

½ cup sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

⅓ cup rock salt

Ice

1 gallon size bag

2 sandwich size bags

Learning Outcomes

Domain

Cognitive

Skills

Inquiry

Indicators:

Collecting and interpreting information

Instructions

Step 1:

Pour milk, vanilla, and sugar into the sandwich bag. 

Step 2:

Push the air out of the bag and seal it closed. You might want to double bag to avoid spills. If so, place your sandwich bag inside another sandwich bag and seal it.

Step 3:

Add ice to your gallon bag until it is about half full. Add the salt.

Step 4: 

Place your sandwich bag inside the gallon bag and seal it tight.

Step 5:

Shake, shake, shake it up until your ice cream freezes – around ten minutes in most cases. Watch the salt and ice melt together to get the creamy liquid inside the bag super cold! 

⬆️ For older preschoolers:  You can start the conversation about freezing and melting and how the salt affects the ice to help the ice cream process.

⬇️ For younger toddlers: Little hands may get cold easily; have them wear oven mitts or wrap the ice cream bags in a tea towel to help them shake it up!

Playful Questions

Why do you think the salt makes the ice melt?

Have you ever seen what happens when we put salt down on a snowy/icy area in the playground?

What would happen if we didn’t add the salt to the ice?

How can we slow down the melting process?

How can we speed up the melting process?