Make ice cream in a plastic bag!


Mentone Childcare and Kindergarten offers a variety of stimulating educational activities each day. As part of our curriculum, we provide our children the opportunity to explore the fields of science, math, arts, music, among others.

Today, we focused on chemistry and incorporated some gross motor skills to make this ice cream-making activity even more fun.

Following ScienceBob, we used the following materials:

  • 4 oz of milk
  • 4 oz of cream
  • 1/4 tsp of vanilla (or use other flavors usually found near the vanilla in a grocery store – you can use chocolate syrup for chocolate ice cream)
  • 4 tsp of sugar
  • A few drops of food coloring (optional – if you want colorful ice cream)
  • Lots of ice
  • Lots (half cup) of salt. Rock salt (sold at hardware stores) works best.
  • Small (quart size) zip-lock freezer bag
  • Large (gallon size) zip-lock freezer bag

Here's an easy step-by-step guide to make the ice cream:

  1. Put the milk, cream, flavoring, coloring, and sugar into the SMALL zip-bag and zip it shut (be sure it is zipped up and closed completely).
  2. Put about a cup of ice into the large bag and the cover the ice with a small handful of salt. Put the small bag with your ingredients into the larger bag.
  3. Add some more ice and then some more salt. Keep adding salt and ice until the bag is almost full.
  4. Zip it shut (be sure it is zipped) and then carefully hold opposite sides of the bag and shake the bag back and forth (like your steering a car) for about 5-8 minutes. (This is the part where we had to show some of our grooves!)
  5. Open the larger bag and take out the smaller bag – it should be full of ice cream! Rinse off the bag under running water to remove any salt that may be near the opening of the bag.
  6. Open and enjoy! (Source: ScienceBob)

The chemical reaction between the contents of the small and large bags is called the ENDOTHERMIC process. When the salt is added, it allowed for the ice's freezing point to go even lower. Meaning, the ice needed to borrow the heat from the objects close to it in order to melt and as a result, this allowed for the ingredients in the small bag to go colder and freeze up into ice cream. How amazing is that?

(Yummy ice cream in a bag!)