Ice Cream Parlor Dramatic Play!

Who doesn’t LOVE ice cream? Transforming your dramatic play area into an ice cream parlor is such a fun way for children to socialize, pretend, and problem solve all in the context of everyone’s favorite dessert. With some help from a couple of printables, you can sneak some great math lessons in there as well with making patterns of “scoops” or counting aloud as they scoop for their ice cream cones.

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Activity PDF

Turn your dramatic play center into a fun, interactive ice cream parlor!

The great philosopher Lev Vygotsky said, “In play a child is always above his average age, above his daily behavior; in play it is as though he were a head taller than himself.” Having fun and interactive themes in the dramatic play center allows for this to come alive in students. They will enhance their social and emotional skills as well as integrate math and writing all while having a blast running an ice cream parlor. Depending on the materials placed in the center will depend on the level of creativity displayed. As the teacher and facilitator, try not to limit their creativity. Depending on the materials placed in the center will depend on the level of creativity displayed. For example, instead of placing literal scoops of pretend ice cream, have empty cartons of milk, sugar, large pom poms that resemble scoops of ice cream, etc. so that children can pretend to make ice cream and be creative in the process. Also, instead of printing perfect signs from a website, feel free to encourage the students to make their own signs, their own menus, their own price lists, etc. The more they are motivated to write, the more confidence and ownership they will feel.


• Various costume items like a white lab coat, white paper hat (can use white card stock to create), name tags, etc.

• Empty milk cartons, empty sugar bags, empty ice cream cartons, ice cream scoops, bowls, spoons, various colors of large pom poms to be the “ice cream scoops”

• Cups, bowls, cones, (can make from brown card stock or pretend food cones)

• Ice cream order forms (see below picture for idea taken from Pinterest)

• Clipboard for the menus

Learning Outcomes




Social play


Use materials and objects to represent other objects


Step 1:

Ask parents and other coworkers to collect items for your ice cream parlor (empty milk cartons, empty sugar sacks, mixing bowl, ice cream cartons, empty chocolate syrup, white lab coat, aprons, etc.) Print out signs that say “Ice Cream Parlor” or have kids create one in the art center! Have recipe cards and books about ice cream desserts. Have a cash register with pretend money to allow for even more math opportunities.

Step 2:

Be sure the ice cream parlor is organized but not too rigid where children’s creativity can be stifled. Provide tools but allow them to see where it goes!

Step 3:

Decide how many children will be at this center. It’s fun if someone is the clerk, scooper, and customer.

Step 4:

Students can use the menu to circle what they want and hand it to the clerk. The scooper can follow the menu and prepare the order.

Step 5:

Have large Pom Poms in different colors to be the flavors of ice cream or use different colors of bulletin board paper crumbles into right, small balls. Encourage students to count aloud as they scoop or create color patterns.

Playful Questions

• How is ice cream made?

• Where does ice cream come from?

• How many flavors of ice cream are there?

• What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

• What kind of toppings do you like on your ice cream?