Home > Science Experiments and Activities for Kids > How To Make Ice-Cream in a Bag with Kids

How To Make Ice-Cream in a Bag with Kids

We love ice cream, who doesn’t? This is such a fun activity to do with the kids and the bonus is a treat of some delicious homemade ice cream to eat afterwards. We’ve got a top tip further down which worked out really well with the kids when their arms start to ache. We made the ice cream in the bag with vanilla flavor but watch out we’re perfecting a chocolate recipe and will be sharing that soon as well. So here we go How to Make Ice-Cream in a Bag with Kids.

Ice-Cream in a Bag – Cooking and Science for Kids

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image of ice-cream made by kids in a bag with bright pink spoons text reads How to Make Ice-Cream in a Bag

Although this is a fun cooking activity for kids that they can do there is some real science behind why it works.

I used to use it in Science Lessons with the kids at school when we discussed the states of matter as it was a fun and delicious way to transform a liquid to a solid without freezing.

If you would like to learn about the science and how this works read on if not click the button below to take you to the activity to do with the kids.

delicious ice cream in a bowls made using ice-cream in a bag activity with kids

How Making Ice Cream in a Bag Works

Ice-cream in a bag is a fun delicious state of matter experiment that you can do with the kids (or you can of course just make it in the bag for fun! In fact, the process mimics what an ice cream maker would do!

girl doing the ice-cream in a bag experiment

The science though is interesting. Most experiments for states of matter are easy to move from a solid to a liquid – melting ice-cream soup is a fun one, liquid to a gas – boiling water. However, going the other way can be trickier.

With this cooking with kids activity, you can show liquid transforming to a solid without popping anything in the freezer.

The ice which would normally form at the point water freezes 0C has the freezing point lowered by the salt. The more salt added the lower the freezing point.

But the ice will melt it absorbs heat from the environment – in this case, because of the bags from the milk – as the heat is extracted from the milk the molecules in the milk start to freeze and form mini ice crystals.

The ice will be VERY cold which is why our top tip below is one that helps you could, of course, hold the bag with a towel or with “oven gloves” to protect your hand however our top tip works just as well and the kids won’t complain that their arm hurts.

Top Tip for this Easy Ice Cream Science Experiment and Recipe

Without a doubt, the ice gets really cold especially when the salt is added but my kids complained most about their arms hurting as they shock the bag. It’s a great time to turn your kitchen into a summer dance party as you shake the bag around. But even that couldn’t help and we did use the top tip below.

make ice-cream in a bag and use a bucket instead of the biggest bag much easier on the arms and kids will continue to mix and stir longer

SO…. instead of shaking the bag we placed the salt and ice into a bowl and then the freezer bags with the ice-cream mix in the middle and used a wooden spoon to stir the mixture moving it around.

This worked really well to create a creamy ice-cream without huge ice crystal and prevented the moaning about arms hurting as well.

Snackable Science – Even More Fun Science that Tastes Delicious

Our friend Emma over on Science Sparks has just released a fantastic new book full of delicious science experiments that the kids and you will love to make and eat at home!

Snackable Science is a fantastic new book which has over 60 tasty and fun science experiments to make and try. Aimed at kids from preschool up there is something for everyone. My kids particularly like the edible layers of the earth model.

Ingredients needed for Making Ice Cream in a Bag

  • 250 ml Whole Milk (approximately 1 cup milk) heavy cream will work as well and speed up the process a little
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar (we used caster sugar)
  • ¼ teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Equipment Needed for this Ice-Cream Science Experiment

  • 2 x zip top bag of different sizes. I have been recommended a quart-sized bag and gallon-sized bag in the USA and a large freezer bag and a sandwich bag in the UK
  • Bucket
  • 1 Bag of Ice
  • 12 Tbsp salt we used rock salt but table salt will work as well

You may want to supply your child with oven mitts to hold the iced bag whilst the ice cream makes.

How To Make this FUN Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe with Kids

1. Place the smaller bag inside in the bigger bag

2. Pour the milk, tablespoon of sugar and teaspoon vanilla extract into the ziploc bag and expell as much air as possible.

adding the ingredients to the double bags

3. Seal both bags close

4. Fill a bucket with ice

5. Add the rock salt to the ice

6. Place your bags of milk in the ice

girl doing the ice-cream in a bag experiment

7. STIR, SHAKE, RATTLE the bag of ice cream mixture has to keep moving within the ice

8. After about 10 minutes open your bags and scoop out the vanilla ice cream

9. Add some sprinkles or chocolate syrup and enjoy they are especially great with cookies.

delicious ice cream in a bowls made using ice-cream in a bag activity with kids
delicious ice cream in a bowls made using ice-cream in a bag activity with kids

Ice- Cream in a Bag

Cerys Parker
Simple recipe for making Ice-cream in a bag with kids. This easy and delicious ice-cream also doubles up as a fun science experiment.
3.60 from 10 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine English
Servings 1 Bag of Ice-Cream


  • 2 x ziplock bags
  • Bucket
  • 1 Bag of Ice


  • 250 ml Whole Milk
  • 1 Tbsp White Sugar
  • ¼ Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 12 Tbsp Rock Salt


  • Place one ziplock bag inside the other bag
  • Pour the milk, sugar and vanilla extract into the bag
  • Seal both bags close
  • Fill a bucket with ice
  • Add the rock salt to the ice
  • Place your bags of milk in the ice
  • STIR, SHAKE, RATTLE the bag of milk has to keep moving within the ice
  • After about 10 minutes open your bags
  • Scoop out the vanilla ice cream
  • Add some sprinkles and enjoy
Keyword Cooking with Kids, Desserts, ice-cream
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

More Science Fun at Home that Tastes Delicious Too

Why not try some more of our delicious edible science experiments that kids will love to do, learn and eat afterwards.

Help your children understand the formation of the different types of rocks with this simple edible sedimentary rock activity that they can make and eat.
Easy Recipe to cook with kids to make edible moon rocks inspired by Tanner Turberfill and the Moon Rocks

Why not make different sorts of rocks – try the delicious sedimentary rocks, honeycomb for an edible igneous rock and an amazing slow cooker fudge for a metamorphic rock model. The kids will love to make them and you can teach them about the rock cycle as you cook together.

Although not quite a science this recipe for moon rock is a great snack to cook together as you head off into space and explore this out of this world science topic with the kids.

Let’s Cook! Pack for More Activities and Recipes with Kids

Let's Cook Pack of Activities for 2 to 8 years olds from the Virtual Book Club for Kids

This is one of the 15 activities that you can find within the Let’s Cook Activity Pack from us over on The Virtual Book Club for Kids.

Aimed at toddlers through to school kids each activity has a full step by step guide, extension and simplification ideas plus book recommendations, songs and finger play that you and the kids can do at home.

Buy for just $9.99, download and print your copies. Then on your next rainy day bring it out and have fun in the kitchen whilst the kids learn a little too!

collage of making ice-cream in a bag text reads how to make ice cream in a bag plus a top tip for doing it with even very young kids
3.60 from 10 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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