Bag It and Eat It: Ice Cream Activi-treats

Summer and ice cream just go together.  But, taking the family out for this sweet treat can be costly!  How about making your own with the kids?  It’s easier than you might think, makes for a fun activity, and saves money over going out. No appliances are needed. 

What you need:

Ice cream
  • Milk, half-and-half, or even dairy-free “milk,” such as soy or almond, or a combination (use milk for lower fat)
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Salt (any kind works, but chunkier salts, like kosher salt, work better)
  • CAUTION: do NOT use snow-melt salts, or any salts that have toxic chemicals in them.  Only food grade salts.
  • Two plastic baggies – one sandwich size, and one large size.  
  • Helpful, but not necessary: a strong tape, such as duct tape or masking tape.

Here’s what you do.  For each person:

1. Mix 1 cup milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and pour into the small baggie.  Seal well, squeezing out any excess air, and cover the seal with tape if available.

2. Fill the large baggie half full with ice.  

3. Add ¼ cup of salt, and shake together with the ice

4. Place the small baggie with the ice cream mix inside the large bag, fill the remainder of the large baggie with ice, and seal carefully. 

Now the fun begins! 

Shake the bag for 10 minutes. This can be even more enjoyable if you make it a game by tossing between people every 15 seconds or so, using it as a counting game, playing music, etc. Get the kids’ suggestions too!

After 10 minutes of shaking, open both bags, add your favorite topping such as sprinkles, nuts, crushed cookies, syrup, or just eat it plain.  Yum!

Bonus: This is a fun science project as well.

The salt in the bag lowers the melting point of the ice, just like salting the roads during the winter makes it harder for ice to form. Adding salt to the ice in the bag makes the bag colder. To demonstrate this, fill a bag with just ice, no salt. The bag with the salt will feel colder, and will freeze the ice cream mixture by pulling out the heat. The shaking, and the properties of the added sugar and fat in the milk mixture prevent ice crystals from forming in the ice cream so the result is a smooth consistency. 

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