No doubt about it -- kids scream for ice cream. Thankfully, not all ice cream activities have to be sugar-laden to get your toddler’s attention. As long as the ice cream activities have at least an element of stickiness or the potential to be messy, you should be good to go.
You can plan a deliciously tasty ice cream sundae party with your toddler. Pull out the chocolate syrup, crushed nuts, berries, sprinkles and whipped cream. Each of you can create your own treat; just keep an eye on your toddler as he constructs his -- you don’t want a lake of syrup that could potentially spill onto the floor or send him into sugar overload. Homemade ice cream also makes for a delicious afternoon activity. You can use an ice cream maker or mix the ingredients and place it in the freezer for a few hours. Making stacked or dipped ice cream cones can be a fun adventure, too.
Pom Pom Crafts
Your toddler can make an ice cream craft or two and it’ll be just as sweet. To make an ice cream cone craft, find a paper funnel, like the disposable paper ones you find at the gas station for oil changes. You’ll also need to grab several pom poms and some white glue. Your little one can use the funnel as the ice cream cone base, squeeze some glue on some pom poms and stack them into the funnel to create a colorful cone. If he wants to make an ice cream sundae instead, grab a small clear plastic cup, non-toxic puffy glue, pom poms and white glue. Glue the pom poms into the cup and top with the puffy paint “syrup.” Don’t forget to add a red pom pom on top for the cherry. Let the glue dry on both of these crafts before your kiddo pretends to eat it.
Paint and Paper Crafts
Paint and paper can be cool crafts, too. Cut a triangle shape out of some bubble wrap. Your child can spread non-toxic paint on the bubble side and use the bubble wrap to press an ice cream cone shape onto some paper. He can then proceed to use a few circle sponges to sponge paint ice cream balls onto the cone. If you want to save painting for a different day, you can cut several circle shapes out of colored construction paper. Offer these circles and some triangle cone shape pieces of paper to your toddler and have him use a glue stick to construct several ice cream cones. You can add a personalized touch by writing his name down the circles of his cone after he’s glued his craft together.
Books are a fun way to explore the world of ice cream without the sticky mess. You can also read some of these ice cream-themed books to get your little one excited and ready to go for other sweet activities. “Dora and the Stuck Truck” by Phoebe Beinstein, “Milk to Ice Cream” by Julie Murray, “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Ice Cream Dreams” by Nancy Krulik and “Fancy Nancy” by Jane O'Connor should do the trick.