Today I wanted to continue with our summer fun by sharing this adorable ice cream play set that I created for my twins. Their capacity for imaginative play is growing by leaps and bounds right now- every day I see them acting out more elaborate and creative play scenes with no modeling or input from me, and it just makes me SO EXCITED to think of all the fun that lies ahead for all of us as they are able to tap into their imaginations more and more. Not to mention the huge amount of cognitive and linguistic growth that accompanies the development of symbolic play!
I was able to create this fun ice cream play set in just one afternoon using items I already had on hand. The set contains six different flavors of pom pom “ice cream” (two per color), two felt cones, an ice cream scoop, two sundae dishes, and a handy container to store it all in that doubles as the ice cream carton during play. I also made an easy color matching game to go with it. Here’s how you can make your own:
To create the pom poms you will need yarn and a pair of sharp scissors. First, cut a piece of yarn roughly six inches long and lay it on a flat surface. Next, wrap your yarn about 80 times around the four fingers on one of your hands (see photo #1 below for reference), making sure to leave enough slack so you are able to slide the yarn off fairly easily. When you are done wrapping your fingers, carefully slide the yarn off and place in on the middle of the piece of yarn that is hanging out on your table (photo #2). Take each end of the pom pom string and tie a knot as tight as you can around the middle of the yarn clump (photo #3). Then, using a sharp pair of scissors, cut through the loops in the pom poms (or have your long-suffering mother do it so you can have hand to take photographs), tousle them up, and then trim the uneven strings to your desired length (photos #4 and #5).
For each cone, you will need a piece of light brown felt (or two depending on the size of your cones), some thick fusible interfacing (found at craft stores), a hot glue gun, an iron, and heavy duty brown thread for detailing (optional). I made a pattern for my cone pieces by making a cone of the desired size with a piece of cardstock, securing it with tape, and then cutting straight down one side with a pair of scissors and unfolding the cone (see photos #1 and #2 below). Once you have your pattern piece, trace it onto your interfacing and cut this piece out (photo #3). This will make your cone stiff and keep it from collapsing during play. Next, sandwich your interfacing between two pieces of your felt (I was able to fold my felt piece in half and place my interfacing between the two layers) and follow the instructions on your package for fusing the interfacing to your felt with your iron (photo #4). Once your felt is fused to the interfacing on both sides, cut out your shape leaving a small margin of felt around the piece of interfacing (photo #5).
Now you are ready to add any detailing you desire to your cones. I used my sewing machine to add wavy lines uniformly down the body of the cone, following the curve at the top of the cone (photo #6). You could also use a straight stitch to create a diagonal cross-cross pattern across your felt, similar to a real sugar cone. If you prefer not to sew, these would be cute plain or you could add a pattern with fabric markers or paint. I used a zigzag stitch to outline the edges of my cones- if you don’t sew you could run a thin line of hot glue or liquid stitches down the sides to keep your layers from peeling apart over time.
After I completed all my detailing I rolled the felt into position and used my glue gun to secure the overlapped sides together, creating a felt cone the perfect size for our pom pom ice cream (photos below). How stinkin’ cute is that?
Are you hungry yet?
I decided to add a set of color matching ice cream cards to the set for an additional activity. I was given a huge supply of scrapbook paper and card stock by my husband’s crafty godmother (sounds like “fairy godmother” but even better, right?) so I dug through it until I found colors that matched the yarn I used for the pom poms. I cut two of each color (just like the pom poms), mixed them up, and glued them in pairs onto green card stock rectangles along with triangles made of plaid scrapbook paper for cones. I’ve since laminated them to protect them from wear and tear. To play, I lined them up on the table and let the twins match the pom poms to the corresponding scoops of ice cream on the cones.
No ice cream play set is complete without a carton to scoop the icy treat from, so I covered a large coffee can with rainbow-patterned scrapbook paper and filled it with the multi-colored pom poms. Not only is it a cute, durable container, but it it the perfect size to contain all the parts and pieces of the play set for storage.
My twins have had tons of fun with this set already. They spent the afternoon making “sundaes” and double dipped cones for the entire family, matching the poms to their new cards, and practicing dishing up the ice cream with the ice cream scoops. They’ve had the most fun with the pom poms- they’ve been cheerleaders (waving the pom poms in the air complete with cheers of “sis-boom-bah!”), basketball stars (tossing the poms into the coffee can from increasing distances), and even pirates (the cones make great pretend spyglasses because they have small holes in the ends). So fun to watch!