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You can see the skepticism on this young 4-H’ers face! Try this activity with your kids and see this same look change to amazement and laughter when ice cream really does come out!

That’s right! It’s National Ice Cream Day, and you know in 4-H we learn by doing.  So let’s beat the summer heat and make some ice cream!


1 c. half-and-half

2 tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3 c. ice

1/3 c. kosher salt

Toppings of your choice


1.     In a small Ziploc bag, combine half-and-half, sugar and vanilla. Push out excess air and seal.

2.     Into a larger Ziploc bag, combine ice and salt.

3.     Place small bag inside the bigger bag and shake vigorously, 7 to 10 minutes, until ice cream has hardened.

4.     Remove from bag and enjoy with your favorite ice cream toppings.


I know this activity doesn’t seem to fall under the heading of healthy lifestyles, but it does support our dairy industry- bonus! – and it’s riddled with science concepts. You can talk to your youth about salt being a catalyst, why we have to shake the bag for it to be creamy, or the awesome invention of ziploc bags and how people come up with ideas like that- aka the engineering design process.


But more than this, every time you do something new with your kids, not only are you making memories and strengthening relationships, you are building their confidence too. They are mastering new skills and becoming more independent. They become excited about sharing their new knowledge and experiences which improves their communications skills.  It’s a win-win-win!

So whether you’re home with your own kids, are helping with summer day camps, or are planning club kickoff meetings for the fall, try this easy activity with your 4-H members, and have fun. Because sometimes learning is fun!

Whitney Cherry

Whitney Cherry is a 4-H Extension Agent in the NW District.