You don't need to spend lots of money on commercial products for little ones when it comes to role play scenarios such as this - especially if you want a decent amount of play-dough and made from ingredients that you know will be safe (although a bit salty!) if your little one decides to explore by putting it in their mouth (highly likely!)
This activity is aimed at toddlers to primary school age - so again, another one for us to try again once Arthurwears is a bit older!
Depending on how you use this activity, it can cover so many areas of development and learning for young children. Working alongside other/another child(ren) will allow them to build up their relationship making skills, speaking and listening skills, turn taking etc.
If mummy or daddy joins in - you can extend the challenge by giving prices for different ice creams and paying with real money - allowing your child to count, add up, find a total, find the difference, give change (depending on their age and ability) and you can introduce order forms and receipts to help with their reading and writing skills (young children can still 'make marks' and say what these marks represent even without the ability to read and write actual words and sentences).
Play-dough is great for physical development - squeezing and kneading the dough builds up the muscles in the hands which are needed in order to be able to eventually hold a pencil and become a great writer!
Obviously, role play activities of this nature also help your little one to build up their imagination skills, to explore and use different media and materials and helps them to understand different people within the world and their community by pretending to work at an ice cream parlour or on an ice cream van!
Here is how I made the materials in the photo above:
For the play-dough, follow the recipe above (I used a saucepan on the hob as I felt I could control this better).
For the different 'flavours' of ice cream include the following:
Vanilla - no food colouring, just vanilla essence.
Strawberry- red/pink food colouring and strawberry flavour/essence
Lemon - yellow food colouring and lemon essence
Mint choc chip - green food colouring, peppermint essence and dried brown rice
Chocolate - cocoa powder
Each flavour was made separately and then put into empty ice cream cartons (have fun emptying them!). I also made some pretend whippy ice creams by playing the plastic lids from squirty cream canisters inside empty yoghurt pots (see photo).
There are so many ways you can extend this activity, including making your own (real) ice lollies and experienting with different flavours and ingredients, or taking a trip to your local ice cream parlour together, designing a new fabulous ice cream and writing recipes, the list is endless!
Why not have a look at some of my other activity ideas: