Ice Cream Chemistry

The Seasons

(Chemistry for ages 4+)

Ice cream is one of the best treats, especially on a warm spring or summer day. Did you know that making it, and almost any other treat you make in the kitchen, relies on science. More specifically, chemistry is the key to successfully making culinary delights.

The video above shows a fun and quick way to make yourself some creamy delicious ice cream. Here’s what you’ll need:


2 quart-sized zipper bags
1 gallon-sized zipper bag
Ice cream toppings (optional)
Adult supervision (Adult supervision at all times please)


  1. Start by filling the gallon-sized bag half to two-thirds full of ice. Add 1-2 tablespoons of salt to the ice and mix it all together. Set this aside while you prepare the ice cream mixture.
  2. In one of the quart-sized bags, add ½ cup milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Seal the bag.
  3. Place the sealed bag with the ice cream ingredients inside the other quart-sized bag and seal it. Make sure both bags are well-sealed to prevent leaks.
  4. Place the double-bagged ice cream mixture inside the large bag filled with ice and salt. Seal the large ice bag tightly.
  5. Shake this bag for 10 minutes. You should be able to see the cream mixture thickening as you shake. If after 10 minutes, it is still liquid, just keep shaking. How long does it take to make your ice cream the right texture?
  6. When it is ready, scoop it into a bowl and add any toppings you would like. How does it taste? Better than you expected? Worse than you expected? Store any leftover ice cream in the freezer to enjoy later.


Milk and sugar require extremely cold temperatures to properly harden and make ice cream. The ice alone in your large gallon-sized bag would not get cold enough to freeze it. Adding the salt to the ice lowers its freezing point making it much colder than it would normally be.

Shaking the bag for several minutes allows the extra cold ice to completely cool the milk and sugar mixture to form your delicious dessert.