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How to Make Ice cream and Boost Language Skills!

Summer is officially here, or as we like to refer to it, it's The Season of Yes! This year, we are doing less time at camp and spending more time doing family activities.

Once the weather turns warm we love making homemade frozen treats- and eating them! Not only is this a fun activity that I do at home, but I love cooking in my therapy sessions. Did you know pairing a cooking activity with a book is an engaging way to practice life skills while enhancing language development too?

In my summer-themed picture book, The Season of Yes! the main character Luce loves spending time with her mom. The story ends with the loving pair enjoying ice cream at home. *If you haven't read the book yet, it is a joyful story full of summer vocabulary (ice-cream, summer, season)⁣ describing words (adjectives), basic concepts, rhymes and so much more!

So now that you have the perfect book, let's get to the sweetest part- making the ice cream! No ice cream maker? No problem! You can easily make Ice Cream in a Bag in less than 15 minutes from start to finish! This one is guaranteed to be delicious and is a kid-friendly summer activity.

As a speech therapist, I recommend reviewing the recipe and gathering/ shopping for all of the ingredients together. Make your shopping list and head to the pantry or the store together. This is another covert way to expose kids to new vocabulary and improve their ability to follow directions. You can also begin to talk about how to measure ingredients and the importance of following every step of the recipe in sequence to avoid any mishaps! (Critical thinking skills activated!)

Here's what you will need:

▢ 2 gallon-size freezer bags

▢ 2 cups heavy cream half and half, or whole milk (you can use plant-based milk too!)

▢ ¼ cup granulated sugar

▢ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

▢ 6-8 cups ice

▢ ⅓ cup rock salt

▢ toppings (sprinkles, Oreos, nuts, fruit, whipped cream, etc)


Add the heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk along with the sugar and vanilla extract in one of the ziploc bags. Remove as much air as possible and seal the bag well. Squish everything around to mix it up and dissolve the sugar.

  • Add the ice to the other gallon-size ziploc bag, along with the rock salt. Place the bag with the ice cream into the bag with the ice and seal the outer bag, pressing out as much extra air as you can.

  • Shake the bag for 5 to 10 minutes, squishing the cream mixture to freeze it and make ice cream.

  • When the ice cream is ready, carefully open both the outside and inside bags. Scoop it into a bowl and add your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

That's it! With just one activity, we engaged fine motor skills, reading, language, literacy skills, problem solving, sensory skills- but most importantly, we had fun and created a new summer activity and memory!


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