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Who could go for a giant ice cream treat right now? I’ll take mine in the pool please! This heat and I are not getting along! Thank goodness my preschool room is in the basement. My girls and I are just chilling downstairs dreaming up our next favorite cool treat!
This is somewhat of an open ended art activity. Hopefully you can make the supplies you do have work for your own ice cream treats.
- child scissors
- toppings : sequins, foam pieces, tinfoil, paper scraps, stickers, string, glitter
This activity involves a bit of preparation on your part. First you’ll want to cut out some cones and scoops of ice-cream.
Next choose your toppings. Anything can be used for your toppings. Choosing items that have a different feel adds a sensory experience to the activity. I chose foam pieces, colored circles, sequins and tissue paper. These tissue paper squares are some of my favorite additions to my art shelves.
SET UP TIP: I almost always do my prep and set up when the children are elsewhere or sleeping. I like the peace and quiet while I get things gathered and laid out. I also happen to be a praise junkie, so the look on my littles face when they come downstairs to a new activity all set up makes me a little giddy. I can almost hear them say, “Your the bomb mom!” As a mommy you learn to take what payment you can get, huh?
SET UP TIP AGAIN: This is one of my favorites! I learned this wonderful tip while working in a developmental preschool at Utah State. Try to make your set up inviting! Sounds strange right? However, I have seen how effective this step is. The idea is to make it look tidy and pretty, like a very neat and somewhat simple child just stopped playing with the activity. This tip works with anything. I dare you to spend 10 minutes setting up your child’s legos in a half built house, add a person or an animal and then let them at it. Children are more likely to be attracted to an activity if it looks inviting.
Now its time to introduce your children to the activity. (TIP: I did add a bit of scrap paper for under our activity, a table cloth would work too. You only need this if you have a child still working on their glueing skills!) Your littles can choose the cone he/she wants and then a scoop or two of the color they want. Depending on the age of your child you can step back and watch as they problem solve where to glue the scoop, or you may want to step in and give a few helpful instructions. My almost 2 year old and I worked as a team on this part, so she wasn’t frustrated. My 4 year old was completely capable of doing it on her own.
Next you can ask your child what toppings they want on their ice cream!
If you are working with a pre-preschooler you may want to help with any cutting or glueing they may need. Let the child lead. Your role is to ask questions and show options when they get stuck. This activity encourages conversation, teamwork, and creativity for your child and you! If you and your little choose to cut some toppings small make sure not to cut too small. It can be frustrating for little fingers to pick up tiny items, especially considering those fingers will quickly be covered with glue! My daughter LOVED working with the scissors! She was so focused, and excited. It did involve a lot of my help, I helped her get her finger placement right and held the paper.
For younger children I would highly recommend buying training scissors. There is a little lever that helps push open the scissors after they cut a piece of paper. You can get them almost anywhere. This is what Amazon sells. click here
If you are working with an older child ask questions about their favorite toppings, and how they can recreate them with the supplies they have. I like to encourage a little extra snipping of things! My preschoolers worked on this activity for over 30 minutes. Why? Because they loved cutting the foam pieces into tiny sprinkles. The same enjoyment could happen over some pretty scraps of scrap paper. Sometimes the children would get so caught up in snipping I’d remind them to stop and glue once in a while!
The girls and I had so much fun! They loved picking out toppings. I loved the conversations we had. “What flavor is the purple one?” “What toppings are you putting on you orange cream?” My oldest was involved in the activity for about an hour. My younger was involved for about 20 minutes. She then wandered off to play with some cars and then came back for another 10 minutes. I was actually surprised at how long the activity kept her attention. And the end product was so unique and wonderful!
WARNING, after you complete this activity you and your children might have to make some real ice cream treats! Coldstone anyone?