Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Inspiring Imaginations: The Ice Cream King

The simple discovery of a wonderful book called The Ice Cream King by Steve Metzger led to amazing imaginative play for my daycare kids!  This discovery was made on an otherwise uneventful Saturday afternoon while browsing through Barnes and Nobles.  On my way home, I had some errands to run at Target. While there, another discovery added to this first....vanilla flavored lip balm.

Immediately, the gears started turning.

That Monday I plopped The Ice Cream King. We read it again, and again and I do believe 2 more agains. When all the "read it agains" had subsided, I took out our mystery bag (handy drawstring bags I found at Ikea for $3 which was a wonderful discovery for a non-sewer like myself). I shook the bag. We passed the bag around the circle. What could possibly be inside?

(Recall the vanilla lip balm? Well...they also had chocolate, banana split, strawberry, blueberry, mango tangelo and many, many more ice cream topping sounding names. The gears turning came up with the following which has been a daily activity since the very first time we did this over a month ago.)

I reached in and pulled out the vanilla and chocolate lip balms. I called up the first child and said, "Would you like chocolate or vanilla ice cream today Mam?"  This child played along, "Vanilla please". I opened the vanilla lipbalm and rubbed it on the back of her hand. Then asked her if she would like a topping, she did, and so she reached into the bag to pull out a topping.

As each child anxiously awaited their turn, the children who had their "treats" were "sharing" with each other, offering bites of their delicious smelling deserts.

I had also picked up some ice cream scoops at the Dollar Tree, and my friend Jenn had picked up some ice cream cone shaped bowls and spoons for me about a month prior to this (funny how the perfect purpose always pops up!).  So now, we needed some imaginary ice cream to play with!

We mixed together flour and baby oil, adding just enough baby oil to make a playdough like substance in a large tub...all hands were involved!

We then added ONE Liquid Watercolor color at a it a special name. For example, yellow was banana split, red: strawberry etc.  The wonder of adding Liquid Water Color to oil soaked flour is the water soluable coloring will not mix in the flour. It forms tiny little speckles...just like sprinkles on top of ice cream!  So by the time we were finished adding coloring, we had a delicious looking tub of ice cream!

This photo was taken before we went crazy with the coloring....note to self (and you), stop at this point!

The ice cream scoops and bowls were added and the kids took it from there for days of fun! 

Notice how dark the mixture is in this photo? That's what happens if you add too much coloring.  We had made a batch a few months ago by accident (that's how we discovered the Liquid Watercolor sprinkles)...we were making the flour and oil mix and I wanted to change it up a bit, oil soaked flour is very blah looking, it's fun to play in, but it's blah.  So we were just experimenting, I had no clue it would "sprinkle" it up like it did.  So anyway, the second time we did it, we wanted to see what would happen if we added lots more color.  What happens is it gets more of a sandy texture -- still fun to play with.  Just mess around and have fun exploring different combinations!

The flour and oil mixture never dries, and , I don't believe it builds mold -- (as least not yet, and we have had this sitting around for a month and a half now!)

Imaginations were sparked even more with the plopping of sliced swim noodles and cut up PVC pipes. My friend Jen had called to tell me what her crew did with this mixture of items, and so I had to try it with mine -- we ended up having the same results, which doesn't always happen!

Just look at what they thought of!!  How clever!

  SAFETY NOTE: make sure your pvc pieces are at least 4"inches long to avoid a choking hazzard.

Notice Elsie selling her ice cream treats?  The rest of the kids were making money out of construction paper, and counting out the correct amount to give to her.  Elsie was walking around yelling "ICE CREAM!  GET YER ICE CREAM!" They were ordering by "scoops" and she was handing them their requests accordingly. So much math and language being explored right alongside imaginations soaring -- I LOVE it!!

After two weeks of imaginary ice cream play, we enjoyed an ice cream party where the kids got to scoop out and create their own ice cream treats! 

All of this from the simple "plop" of a book!  Go!  Inspire imaginations!!  Plop something and follow where the children take it!