Who doesn’t love ice cream? And why should it only be seen as a Summertime treat? I guess we must have be dreaming about summer this week when I created this Pom Pom Ice Cream Shop sensory and math bin for my son.
Read on to see how to set up a bin for your child and get my free printables!
Ice Cream Sensory Skill Building
This bin lets kids explore different textures (pom poms and rice) while also practising their scooping, pouring, and dumping fine-motor skills. It also lends itself well to imaginative play as you’ll see!
I also created an Ice Cream Shop Menu printable to go along with the bin that can be used to practise counting to 5 and colour matching.
- At least 30 2 Inch Multicolour craft pom poms (2″ ones are the best and look most like scoops of ice cream!)
- Small red pom poms for cherries
- Paper ice cream cups
- Ice cream cone set or water-cooler paper cone cups
- A large plastic scoop and/or an ice cream scoop
- Small spoons or ice-cream treat sticks
- Coloured rice for “sprinkles” (see this post for our easy recipe for making this beautiful multi-coloured rice!)
- A small shaker container for the “sprinkles”
- White shredded paper for whipped cream
- Our FREE printable Ice Cream Shoppe Printable Menu
Click on the picture below to download your free printable!
One of the first things you can decide is if you want this to be more of an open-ended sensory activity, or a pretend play activity. The bin above is set up more for pretend play – like an Ice Cream Shoppe sundae station.
If you have a toddler, or just a child who likes more open-ended sensory play activities, then present the materials like this…
Onetime enjoyed both these set-ups, but really liked “playing Ice Cream Store!”
The first thing he went for in the bin was the sprinkles shaker! So much fun to shake and pour into treat containers!
Onetime also had a lot of fun scooping and transferring the ice-cream from cone to container and back to the main ice-cream bin.
While we were playing, we chatted a lot about different flavours of ice cream and Onetime decided to make a special sundae for Daddy and me.
He made sure there were lots of sprinkles for Dad, whipped cream for me, and even a cherry on top!
Level Up the Learning
After lots of time just playing, I brought out the Ice Cream Shoppe Menu. I showed it to Onetime and talked with him about what a menu is, and what the numbers and dollar signs mean.
Then I asked him if he could match the colours of ice-cream on the menu with our pom pom ice creams. He enjoyed this and we had fun labelling the different coloured pom poms with fun flavour names like, “Green Chocolate!” and “Fuzzy Blueberry!”
Once all the colours were matched, we looked again at the money amounts and practised our counting! Onetime also felt the need to add sprinkles and a cherry on that last 5-scooper!
After an hour’s worth of play, we had many different sundae creations for various family members!
What a fun morning we had! I know this bin will continue to be a favourite over the next week.
Our Pom Pom Ice Cream Shop was a hands-down success. Onetime had a great time pretending and it was satisfying for me to see him extending his language and math skills in a fun and creative way!
Hope you give this a try with your little one or ones. If you do – I’d love to hear about how it went! Please leave a comment.
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