Ice Cream Shop - Dramatic Play

Who doesn’t love a cool treat on a hot day? This interactive ice cream shop will help younger kids practice matching and coordination and can encourage older kiddos to practice their math skills. Luckily this ice cream won’t melt so your kids can play all day!

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Activity PDF

We all scream for ice cream!

Encourage helping skills, matching, cooperation and coordination with this interactive ice cream shop! This activity can be done at home with one kiddo or can be used in the classroom with a group of 2-10 kids. Children love pretending to work at shops and serve customers - lean into it and help them understand the process of serving customers, using appropriate language to greet and thank their “customers” and even count money!

📚 Books to explore: “Should I Share My Ice Cream?” by Mo Willems follows a story of an elephant who is debating if he should share his ice cream. Kids can relate to this story as sharing can be hard at a young age!

✏️Level Up: Older children can practice their writing and drawing by adding signs to their shop. Let them get creative with their flavors!

Materials

For this activity you will need:

Tissue paper of all colors (5-10 pieces for each color)

Ice cream scoop(s)

Spoons

Bowls

Brown paper

“Toppings” (sprinkles or jars of glitter/sequins)

Paper and marker for ice cream signs (optional)

Cash register/pretend money (optional)

Learning Outcomes

Domain

Social

Skills

Cooperating

Indicators:

Exchanging ideas and materials during play

Instructions

Step 1:

Set up the ice cream bar at child height on a small table. Lay out the bowls, scoops, spoons and “toppings.”

Step 2:

Separate the tissue paper by color and begin making tissue paper balls with each color as your “scoops” of ice cream. Have the kiddos help with this step - they’ll love it! Once all the tissue paper balls have been made, separate them into bowls as your “flavors.”

Step 3:

(Optional) Make signs to go with your flavors, adding drawings if needed. This will help older children practice their literacy by matching the word to the image.

Step 4: 

Encourage children or other family members to stop by the ice cream shop and order a delicious, cold treat! You can have one or two kiddos behind the counter work together to serve their “customers.”

Step 5:

(Optional) If you decided to include a cash register, give the “customers” money to pay for their ice cream!

⬆️ For older preschoolers:  Set up a cash register and encourage the children to use proper language when interacting with the customers - greeting them, saying thank you for their business etc.

⬇️ For younger toddlers: Things may get messy and out of order. They may not like “serving” customers or may just want to mix all the paper together - no problem! This will still encourage their coordination skills to fill up bowls and cones with “ice cream!”

Playful Questions

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

How much do you think each scoop should cost?

How many scoops of ice cream do you have in your bowl?

If my ice cream costs $3 and I give your $5, how much change should I get back?

What are some other tasks a worker should do?