Summer boredom buster: ice cream project

Summer boredom buster: ice cream project
Stacey Wescott, Chicago Tribune

Tweens have a tendency to get bored over the summer, and nothing really sounds all that exciting or interesting to them. Several tween parents have found themselves with kids wanting endless entertainment and parents who simply do not have the time, energy, finances or inclination to provide three months of nonstop thrills.

This weekend my tween started our summer ice cream project. I wanted to find something that she would enjoy, that would be educational and that would occupy her for at least a modicum of time. She loves frozen desserts, and we have an ice cream maker that hasn't seen much use. Knowing how to make your own ice cream is a life skill, right? Even if it's not, there's much to learn from this project. Let's do this!

Step 1: Figure out how to make ice cream. I presented her with the ice cream maker and directions.

Step 2: Find recipes. The maker came with a few recipes, but this is a chance to safely use the internet for good and not evil. I also had her read some of the reviews of the recipes, both for reading practice (and to show her that poor grammar does not reflect well upon the writer).

Step 3: Make a list of ingredients we need, after checking the pantry to see what we have, and go shopping.

Step 4: Make the ice cream. She started with a sorbet and now she knows how to make simple syrup. Juicing 8 limes also took a fair amount of time. And the ice cream maker did exactly what it was supposed to do - it worked!

Step 5: Eat and enjoy!

Think you're done? No way! Here's where it gets educational.

Step 6: Math! While we were enjoying our lime sorbet, we talked a bit about how much it cost to make (limes, sugar and water

My tweens first frozen dessert of the summer: lime sorbet

My tweens first frozen dessert of the summer: lime sorbet

r totaled no more than $3, if that) compared to what it would cost to go to our favorite ice cream shop. While that's still fun, the savings was pretty dramatic. We'll also calculate the cost per serving of the different treats throughout the summer.

Step 7: Create a project report. The plan is to make a different concoction each week. To track them, together we created a Word document (if you need a copy of ours, just email me tweenusblog (at) gmail (dot) com) to track date made, kind of frozen treat (ice cream, frozen yogurt, frozen custard, sorbet), flavor, source of recipe, degree of difficult to make and ratings for taste, consistency and space for other notes. She had fun formatting and adding in clip art. Then she learned about the beauty of "save all." I'm also hoping that this will be a way to practice typing.

Step 8: Photographs! My tween is going to document each of her concoctions and the make a PowerPoint presentation at the end of the summer. She learned how to do them in school and really enjoyed it so why not make more at home?

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