Create this super fun and engaging Fizzy Ice Cream Shop Sensory Bin for your kids this summer (or anytime of year) using common household ingredients! This is an easy STEAM activity for toddlers, preschoolers and even older kids!
Ice Cream You Cream We All Scream for Ice Cream
In this fun activity, you’re going to create an ice cream shop using a special type of dough made with baking soda. This dough is moldable so your little one can form scoops of ice cream with it but since its also made using baking soda its perfect for doing acid-base STEAM experiments!! When you add vinegar, carbon dioxide gets released in the coolest way!
How to Make a Fizzy Ice Cream Shop Sensory Bin
- In a bowl combine baking soda, water, dish soap and a drop of pink food colouring.
2. Mix the ingredients until you have a moldable dry dough. The dough should not be too wet but it should stick together when you hold it in your hand and make a fist. If its too dry, add a few drops of water.
3. Repeat these instructions for purple and brown or any other colours or “flavours” your little one enjoys.
4. Place the different coloured dough into a sensory bin. Add ice cream cones. We used real and play plastic ones. Add scoopers, we also used real and toy scoopers. You can also add small bowls and any other ice cream shop toys you have. We also added an ice cream container. I’ve seem people save their containers to add into sensory bins like this. Super fun!
5. To hold the ice cream cones, I used our test tube stand. You can also use a popsicle stand, if you have one.
6. Finally, add rainbow sprinkles and pom poms. I actually used rainbow rice. You can either use rainbow rice or real sprinkles. I just didn’t have any rainbow sprinklers left to use but I did have rainbow rice. (Did I mention that I am a kid’s activity blogger!). Learn how to make rainbow rice here.
How to Play with your Fizzy Ice Cream Shop Sensory Bin
Let your little one scoop and play with the baking soda ice cream dough before adding the vinegar. They can pretend to take orders and set up all the various cones of ice cream. Let them make banana splits, sundaes, whatever they like. Once they have used up all the dough, its time to add the fizz!
Fill a squeeze bottle with half water and half white vinegar. This will allow you to save vinegar. Believe me, this activity will quickly go through all the vinegar you have if you don’t. You can also experiment with different vinegar solutions, giving them more or less vinegar in different squirt bottles.
Hand them the squeeze bottles and let the fizziness begin!
Science Behind the Fizzy Ice Cream Shop Sensory Bin
What happens when you combine baking soda with vinegar? Fizz! But why does this happen with two seemingly common ingredients. Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid. When an acid and a base mix they produce a gas called carbon dioxide.
The release of this gas causes the eruption and fizzy sound that comes from the ice cream dough.
One of the things my kids loved to do was to pick up the ice cream dough, add vinegar and make it fizz in their hands! It feels very cool. Make sure your kids give it a go!
This activity is good for kids 3 years and up. My kids are 4, 4, and 8 year old.
This is a mess level is high.
Difficulty to Create
Skills Developed in Fizzy Ice Cream Shop Sensory Bin
Sensory play, language development, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, imaginative play, creativity.
Supplies for Fizzy Ice Cream Shop Sensory Bin
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- 1 cup of baking soda
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 1 tablespoon of dish soap
- Food colouring
- Sensory Bin
- Ice cream shop toys
- Scooper (real or fake)
- Ice cream cones (real or fake)
- Squeeze bottles
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