A fun pretend frozen "dough" that melts like real ice cream.  Smells just like the real thing - and is edible (taste-safe) and also reusable (refreezable).  From Fun at Home with Kids
S and I love ice cream.  So naturally when we saw Play Create Explore's recipe for ice cream dough, we had to try it.  And we loved it!  The only sad part for me was that it isn't edible - so I got to wondering - could I come up with a recipe for edible (not tasty - I'd leave that to the real thing) pretend ice cream?  I thought for weeks and couldn't come up with anything great.  Then I saw Growing a Jeweled Rose post her Freezy Dough (that scoops and melts like real ice cream!) and inspiration struck!  I could freeze the ingredients I'd been considering to make them stick together like ice cream!!!  So last week, S and I decided to try an experiment - frozen, melty, pretend - but EDIBLE! ice cream!!!

And so our Pretend Ice Cream was created:

We made vanilla and chocolate and they smell DELICIOUS.

You may notice it's shaped a little differently.  Our Pretend Ice Cream does not scoop.  But it does melt just like real ice cream - and it is COLD like real ice cream.  In fact, if you aren't actively handling it, it stays frozen for an hour or more (and one of the days we were playing with it last week it was above 80 degrees out).  Another really cool trait is that it is totally reusable.  You just add a little water, stir, and pop it back in the freezer for another day of play.  We've been playing with our batch for a week now and it's still just as good as new!  If you do plan on reusing it, I'd recommend something reusable for sprinkles - we used plastic pony beads.

S checking out how cold it is!  Brrrr!

Doesn't it look just like chocolate ice cream?

S had so much fun dripping melted Pretend Ice Cream over the chunks that were still frozen.

So realistic!

As you touch it with your finger, it starts to melt.

Decorating an ice cream sundae for me.  :)

S loved having several different sized bowls in play.  She would transfer and melt, drizzle and drip - she played for about three full hours!

Here's an example of how the Pretend Ice Cream behaves.  These were both taken out for play at the same time, but the bowl on the left has been heavily handled.  The more you handle it, the more it melts.  If you are not handling it as much, it will retain its shape and temperature for an hour or more!

And one of the best parts is how fun it is once it's melted!  So squishy and goopy!

And drippy!

Once melted it will grip the spoon and container it's in for several seconds when upside down - so you can hold it over your head and watch it momentarily defy gravity!  Amazing!

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To make the vanilla, I used a flat Gladware container (any container will do) and add:

1-2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract (depending on how strong you want the scent to be)
1.5 cups cornstarch
Just a little over a cup of water

For chocolate:

2-3 Tbsp cocoa powder (depending on how strong you want the scent to be)
1.5 cups cornstarch
Just a little over a cup of water

You want to add just enough water that you can easily and smoothly stir the mixture - it should be the consistency of cake batter.  Once you've mixed thoroughly, pop in the freezer for 4 or more hours.  Though all ingredients are safe for consumption - it does not taste good and is not intended for eating.  I did take a taste and it was gritty and bitter, so I'm guessing most toddler would be deterred by that alone.  But nevertheless - this is not intended to be food, so please do not encourage active eating of it!

I used a kitchen mallet to break it into chunks (it is REALLY frozen when it comes out).

It was a HUGE hit.  We've played with it every day - and S is just mesmerized by it.  I can't get over how much it smells, looks, and melts like real ice cream.  Too much fun!

We very much hope you will give it a try!  It can be messy as it melts, so I did use the tips I outline in Managing Messy Play to contain it.

PS - Just as I posted this, Growing a Jeweled Rose posted about all the fun they had with Freezy Goo - same substance but used in a totally different way - be sure to check out the crazy colorful fun they had with it.  Oh, and she has the same feelings I do about it - it is just too cool to not try!

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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children.  As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family.  I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision.  Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies).  Observe caution and safety at all times.  The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.


  1. Replies
    1. You have to try it, Dyan! The boys will love it! :)

  2. This looks awesome. I love cornflour play recipes! We mixed it with shaving foam and froze it for some snow before. That was fun too! Will definitely have to try this! Thanks for sharing. I love Play Create Explore's ice cream dough that you mentioned too!

    1. Thank you! And ooh, I hadn't seen that recipe of yours before, Kat! It sounds like so much fun!!! Cornflour is also one of the ingredients in your famous bubble dough, right? Yes, Play Create Explore's was our first experience with ice cream dough - it's wonderful! :)

  3. So, I finally got a chance to read this post all the way through instead of just looking at all the gorgeous pictures...and five minutes later I had a batch ready for the freezer. I can't wait to try it out tomorrow! It already looks like ice cream!

    1. AWESOME!!!!! I hope the Little Engineer and his trains enjoy. ;)

  4. Ok, we are totally trying this here! I love the way this stuff looks! Thanks so much for sharing with us today!

    1. YAY! I am so excited for the Hooligans to give it a try. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment, Jackie! I always appreciate it. :)

  5. So we tried out this recipe again (the first time we just froze regular oobleck to see how the kids would like it - of course they loved it!) and made chocolate and vanilla ice cream goo. They played with it for hours... and then we discovered something super fun. When the ice cream goo was pretty melty, Munchkin dropped in a few of his hematite magnets and we watched what happened. They looked like they were swimming through the goo to find each other! Munchkin had so much fun holding magnets above them to make them move around, or rather, as Bean called it "doing the magnet dance." I figured S would be interested in playing with magnets and oobleck so I thought I'd share our discovery with you. :)

    1. WHOA! That is so cool, Kristan Price! S has a set of magnets so we will have to try this the next time we do our pretend ice cream (or regular oobleck). Thank you for thinking of us - totally up her alley!!!

  6. What great fun! My daughter and I had a blast with this....we added in some fun with "strawberry" ice cream, too. I used some pink food coloring, and a couple drops of strawberry candy flavoring that I happened to have around (to add the smell). We loved it! Thanks for the great play idea!

    1. Oooh yum!!! And so glad to hear it!! :) :) :)


Well, hello there!

Welcome to Fun at Home with Kids! I'm Asia, a teacher (M. Ed) turned SAHM mom to two young kids: X and S. Around here we like to do a little bit of everything - science, art, crafts, sensory play, and small world play. Click here to read more about us!

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