{AMAZING} Ice Cream Dough

Ice Cream Dough

This afternoon Gracen and I tried out a new sensory material originally created by Jessie of Play Create Explore (if you’re a parent and haven’t checked out her blog before, you definitely should – she’s got hundreds of sensory play ideas, fun bath ideas, and tons more) and it was AWESOME.

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The ingredients seem a little strange, but they work perfectly together to create a hard ice cream-looking texture.  The main two ingredients are cornstarch and conditioner – yes, hair conditioner – the cheapest variety you can find.   The other stuff is just food colouring and cheap imitation extracts to make it look and smell more like real ice cream.

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We decided on making 3 ‘flavours’ (coconut, strawberry, and hazelnut), Gracen started us off by putting an equal amount of conditioner in 3 bowls.

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Then she added our food colouring – none for coconut, red for strawberry, and a combination of red, green, and yellow for the hazelnut.

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Then she added a generous pour of extract into each of the bowls…

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And mixed them up.

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One thing I will say is that we should have spend a little more time looking for an unscented {or at least a very lightly scented} conditioner.  At $1.28, the price was certainly right, but the strong ‘fresh’ scent gave our imitation extracts a serious run for their money.  Even something food scented would have been better…  Next time we’ll look for something of the strawberry / coconut / mango variety.

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Next up was the messy part…  Mixing the cornstarch into the conditioner mixture.

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After gently folding and blending the cornstarch and conditioner together, this was the end result.

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Isn’t it crazy how much it looks like REAL hard ice cream?!

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Here’s a close up view.

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And as long as it’s handled like hard ice cream usually is (not rolled or smoothed over too much – thanks for the tip, Jessie!), it scoops perfectly – just as ice cream does. ☺


We followed Play Create Explore‘s ratios exactly, so please visit the original post here.  The amounts we used for these batches, along with details on the colouring and extracts are as follows:

Coconut Ice Cream Dough

  • 1/2 cup of cheap hair conditioner
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon of imitation coconut extract


Strawberry Ice Cream Dough

  • 1/2 cup of cheap hair conditioner
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • 6 drops of red food colouring
  • 1 tablespoon of imitation strawberry extract


Hazelnut Ice Cream Dough

  • 1/2 cup of cheap hair conditioner
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • 4 drops of red food colouring
  • 4 drops of green food colouring
  • 12 drops of yellow food colouring
  • 1 tablespoon of imitation hazelnut extract




See how we put our ice cream dough to use in our pretend play ice cream shop.

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4 thoughts on “{AMAZING} Ice Cream Dough

      1. I made it tonight. It was realistic and I know the kids in my class will love playing with it. How long does it keep? I put mine in the refrigerator. Hope it makes it 5 days! :)

        Thank you for sharing. My 9 year old and I had a blast making it!

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