Mimi and the Grands

Educating Through Multiple Intelligences

In-home Day Camp Week 1: Ice Cream Dreams

on May 23, 2016

I  have three active grandsons that I love to babysit several days a week, and I like to keep them busy with lots of activities that are enriching and possibly educational.  This summer I will watch the grands, Tigger (8), Kona (6), and Tahoe (4), for several weeks before the two older ones return to school in the fall and I wanted to create an in-home day camp experience for them. I decided to plan a variety of day-camp-type activities by choosing a theme and planning activities for each of the eight Multiple Intelligences when designing the day camp. I also wanted some academic focus embedded in the activities I chose. (Update: This is a great day camp unit to repeat. In 2019, I decided to use this unit again and added some new books to the program. The grandsons are now ages 11, 9, and 7 and enjoy making ice cream even more than they did in 2016.)

I have planned four weeks of day camp activities and will make each week a separate post. Here are the four themes that I will offer in this series:

Week One Theme:  Ice Cream Dreams

Week Two Theme: The Game Plan

Week Three Theme: We Like Bikes 

Week Four: Water, Water, Everywhere


Week One: Ice Cream Dreams


The weekly schedule: Each day I will “dip into” the Read Aloud Book (see Linguistic Intelligence), have the grands (or day campers) make ice cream using a different recipe or method (see Mathematics Intelligence), and offer a craft project (see Spatial Intelligence). I will prepare at least one activity from the other intelligences sometime during the week, so that all eight intelligences are covered by the end of this day camp unit. I will also mention any academic focus I plan on integrating into any of the activities. For a sample schedule for the week at the end of this post.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

Read and discuss books- It’s always nice to include books as part of the day camp experience. I usually get my books from the library. During the week these books can be used to go along with the theme:

How to Make Ice CreamNonfiction:

How to Make Ice Cream by Tom Greve is a book that gives directions for making ice cream using  zipper type plastic bags. There is also some information on the science used in making ice cream. It is especially good for grades 1-3. Academic focus: Following Directions or Sequencing-If I use the method for making ice cream described in the book, then the academic focus will be on following written directions. Otherwise, I will use this book as a sequencing activity. Since there is also a table of contents and picture glossary in this book, I will make sure to point those features out to my grands as well.


From Milk to Ice Cream (Who Made by Lunch? series) by Bridget Heos explains how the ingredients for ice cream are made (specifically milk and sugar).  Additionally, the book discusses how the milk and sugar contribute to making the ice cream at the factory, before eventually reaching the grocery store. The grands enjoyed the beautiful illustrations.  I found that this book went well with the activity I had planned in the Naturalist Intelligence section.  Academic focus: Text Features: Map and Glossary- At the back of the book there is a simple world map showing where dairy cows are raised and where sugarcane is grown. I will use this with the grands to practice reading map keys and identifying the continents where each of these foods are raised. There is also a glossary with words such as homogenizer and pasteurize, so I’ll have the grands use this text feature to make sure they understand those words.

Ben and Jerry: Ice Cream Manufacturers by Joanne Mattern is mostly about how these two entrepreneurs started their successful business. I chose to add this in 2019 to this day camp, because I wanted to show the grands how people can develop their interests into a lifetime job. The book also shows the charitable side of the Ben and Jerry’s business which I think is an important lesson for the grands. Academic focus: Vocabulary- This book has a glossary with words such as franchise, mission statement, and stockbroker which are words my grandsons don’t encounter in their usual reading, so I thought it was important I focus on helping them understand those words and how they are used in the context of this book.



Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis: This is such a cute story of a little boy who writes a letter to his grandfather about all his adventures during the summer. Interestingly, all of his summer activities seem to involve ice cream in some way. He practices his math, spelling, reading, and even learns about other countries and some history…all in the pursuit of his favorite pursuit: ice cream. The pictures are adorable because they use the ice cream cone motif in the illustrations of  sand castles, airplanes, and even maps. Academic Focus: Details-I’ll have the grands give me a few details from the story.


Ice Cream Soup by Ann Ingalls is a cute rhyming book about a boy making an ice cream cake that eventually becomes a yummy ice cream soup. I chose this book in 2019 to add to this day camp unit because I wanted a book that my youngest grandson,Tahoe, could read on his own. This book is a Level 1 Penguin Young Readers book, so it was just right for Tahoe’s independent reading level. Academic Focus: Rhyming- The story is told in rhymes, so after reading the book, I had the grands review the rhyming words and had them create their own “additions” to the story using rhymes.


Boxcar Children Choc. Sundae MysteryRead Aloud: The Boxcar Children-The Chocolate Sundae Mystery  by Gertrude Chandler Warner explains the story of four siblings (Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny) who help out at a local ice cream shoppe during the summer and solve several mysteries regarding missing parfait glasses, chocolate syrup, broken windows, and spoiled whipped cream. My grandsons love this series already, but this story is certainly a favorite since it deals with ice cream. I love how the Alden children enjoy helping others and the thought processes they use to solve the mystery. This is a great read aloud book, and is also available as an audible book (which is great to use when traveling in the car with children). Academic focus: Making Predictions:  At appropriate points in the story, I will have the grands make predictions on the solution of the mystery in the story.

Storytelling or Writing Prompts: I will give my grandsons at least one of these prompts and have them tell me a story (or write it down depending on their interest or age level.) Academic focus: Main Characters and Plot (Complete sentences if used as a written activity.)

  • The Ice Cream Shoppe down the street was having a contest to see who could make the yummiest new kind of ice cream. The winner got free ice cream sundaes for the whole family. I decided to enter the contest and went right to work… 
  • Yesterday afternoon, I accidentally left a carton of ice cream on the kitchen table and went out to play. When I returned two hours later, I couldn’t believe what I saw in the kitchen…
  • The ice cream truck was parked next to the playground so I asked my dad for some money to buy an ice cream. But when I walked up to the ice cream truck, there was no one inside…

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Make Ice Cream: There are many ways to make ice cream, even if you do not own an ice cream maker. Even if you have an ice cream maker, I think it is fun to have the children learn different ways of making this cold and yummy treat. Why not make a different recipe or method each day? Academic Focus: As part of making ice cream, day campers have to use measuring spoons, measuring cups, etc. so they are using math as part of the process.  

Here are some different recipes and methods for making ice cream:

Using coffee cans: http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-ice-cream-in-a-coffee-can-244054

Using Zipper type baggies: http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/ice-cream3.htm

Using a blender: http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-blender-ice-cream-recipes/coconut-bliss

Using an ice cream maker: There are plenty of recipes on the internet for making ice cream with an ice cream maker. Some require cooking first, but I like to use recipes with my grandsons that are easier than that. Here is one of my grandsons favorite ice cream recipes: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/140877/easy-eggless-strawberry-ice-cream/

Tigger needs to have a dairy free option so we have been using this recipe (with or without the cocoa powder) in the ice cream maker and using the ziplock bag method. In both cases, we had to place the ice cream in the freezer to finish the process. https://detoxinista.com/chocolate-coconut-milk-ice-cream/

 Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

ice-cream-cone-1What would a day camp experience be without camp songs!? Instead of creating my own, I found several websites that have songs about ice cream that I can teach my grands (or day campers):




Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

Where do the ingredients for an ice cream sundae come from? This is a great discussion or research topic for the grands (day campers). I’ll have the grands list the ingredients for ice cream and some of the other foods that might be used to make an ice cream sundae and then either tell them or have the oldest grandson look this information up on his computer. Academic focus: Use a map or atlas to identify the origins of some of these foods used to make ice cream.

Here are some ingredients we might discuss:

Cream: Cream can be produced by cattle or goats. Cattle that grazes on natural pasture usually gives cream with a slight yellow tone. Indoor fed cattle or goats produce cream that is more white. 

Vanilla: This delicious spice comes from the vanilla orchid, a vine that grows up in trees. It originally grew in Mexico and Central America, but now is grown around the world.

Sugar: Most sugar in the United States comes from sugar beets. Modern sugar beets were first cultivated in Prussia. The sugar is made in the leaves of the sugar beet plant during the photosynthesis process and then stored in the taproot of the sugar beet plant. Another popular source of sugar is from sugar cane which is a tall grass native to tropical and subtropical areas of South Asia.

Chocolate: This comes from the seed pods of a small tropical tree, the Theobroma cacao, which is native to Central and South America. It is grown in many places in the world now, with about 70% of the world’s chocolate being grown in Africa. 

Strawberry: The garden strawberry can be grown in many places in the world, but was first cultivated from wild strawberry plants in France. This compact plant can grow in small areas that get at least eight hours of full sun. (Another project could be to plant some strawberry plants in the backyard to grow strawberries to use in recipes or to top ice cream sundaes.)

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

Craft projects: The grands love to do art projects, so I always have lots of activities in this intelligence. Lot of materials that you already have around the house can be used to make the crafts including egg cartons, cotton balls, paper plates, and playdough.


Here are links to some crafts that I will use for the day camp:




I will be using a few more craft ideas from these links:




Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

Circle Storytelling: Sit in a circle and start a story. Have the day campers take turns going around the circle and contribute to the story. An example of a story starter is: The ice cream store down the street has so many new flavors. Each day last week I went to the ice cream store and tried a different flavor. On Monday I ordered……

Dramatic play: Running an Ice Cream Parlor-I will have the grands pretend that they own an ice cream shop. Besides using household objects to create their ice cream parlor, I will have my three grandsons design a menu of ice cream cones and sundaes for this shop. Besides having them plan their own special items for the menu, I will encourage them to name each of the items using the names of book titles or storybook characters, such as “Pete the Cat’s Too Cool Banana Blast.” Then the grands can work together to make a poster of the featured items at their ice cream shop.

Ice Cream Social: Plan a party for friends, family, or neighbors using ice cream that the day campers make themselves. Have them make invitations and menus for the party (which is also a Spatial Intelligence activity).

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)


Racing for Toppings: In this physical activity, the grands (day campers) will have to run back and forth a few times to pick out the toppings they want on an ice cream sundae. The winner, of course, gets their ice cream sundae made first. To prepare for the race: Find a place to hold the race, whether it is in your backyard, playground, or playroom. Make pictures of the different toppings and/or ice cream flavors from which the day campers can choose such as  chopped walnuts, chocolate syrup, strawberries, cherries, whipped cream, etc. (The day campers can make the pictures or you can find pictures on the internet and paste them onto paper. I will make multiple pictures of each item so more than one grand can choose the same topping during the race.) Spread the pictures out at one end of the racing lanes. Then decide how many toppings you want the day campers to have on their sundaes. The object of the race is to run and pick up one topping each time the day camper runs to the end of the lane. So if you have allowed each child to have three toppings on their sundaes, they will have to run back and forth three times.

Ice Cream Exercises: To prepare ahead of time: Cut out eight paper circles (to represent scoops of ice cream). On one side of the circles, write a letter from the word ice cream. On the back of each circle, list an exercise. Put these circles in a container such as a bag or basket. To play: I will have the grands take turns picking a circle out of the container. They will read the letter on one side and then read the exercise on the other side.  Then all the grands will do the exercise before the next child gets to pick out another circle. Here are suggestions of exercises I will use for my grands (day campers):

  • Ten jumping jacks0523160737a-1
  • Two forward somersaults
  • Run in place for 20 seconds
  • Hop on one foot ten times
  • Ten mountain climbers
  • Hold plank position for ten seconds
  • Hold downward facing dog position for ten seconds
  • Do a crab walk for ten feet


Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)


  • Discuss individually with each grand: What is your favorite ice cream? Why?
  • I leave the library books in a convenient place for the grandsons so they can browse or read them on their own.
  • Journal: I will give each day camper a little booklet, and have them write or draw their favorite experiences from this day camp theme.







For more activities and books based on an ice cream theme, look at these links from educators:




Sample Daily Schedule for Day Camp


Musical Intelligence (Music Smart): Sing “Take Me Out For Some Ice Cream.http://www.preschooleducation.com/sicecream.shtml

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read How to Make Ice Cream by Tom Greve and Ice Cream Soup by Ann Ingalls.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart): Make vanilla ice cream in zip-lock baggie (and offer sliced strawberries or blueberries for topping). http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/ice-cream3.htm

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read several chapters from read aloud book while grands are eating the ice cream they made: The Boxcar Children-The Chocolate Sundae Mystery

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart): Start making list together of ingredients that are in ice cream. (Save and add onto this list in the next few days.)

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart): Make ice cream cone art from construction paper. http://artasticartists.blogspot.com/2012/03/we-scream-for-ice-cream-and-cupcakes.html

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart): Write (or draw) in journal about their favorite part of the day camp today.


Musical Intelligence (Music Smart): Sing “On Top of My Sundae.”  http://www.preschooleducation.com/sicecream.shtml

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read From Milk to Ice Cream by Bridget Heos. Begin Ben and Jerry: Ice Cream Manufacturers by Joanne Mattern.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart): Make vanilla ice cream using coffee can (may offer chocolate syrup for a topping) http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-ice-cream-in-a-coffee-can-244054

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read several chapters from read aloud book while grands are eating the ice cream they made: The Boxcar Children-The Chocolate Sundae Mystery

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart): Add to the ingredient list started on Monday. Discuss the origin of some of the ingredients (as mentioned in the Naturalist section) or have each grand do some research on one of the ingredients and report back.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart): Ice Cream Exercises activity.

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart): Make ice cream cone craft using egg cartons and cotton balls. http://intheplayroom.co.uk/2015/04/18/egg-carton-ice-cream-cones/

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart): Journal writing or individual discussion: Describe the taste of ice cream using as many descriptive words as you can. The grands are free to read the books from this unit independently whenever they have a break.


Musical Intelligence (Music Smart): Sing “Hot Fudge, Cherries, Toffee Crunch.”  http://www.preschooleducation.com/sicecream.shtml

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis. Continue reading Ben and Jerry: Ice Cream Manufacturers.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart): Make peach ice cream using blender (and offer sliced fruit as a topping). http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-blender-ice-cream-recipes/coconut-bliss

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read several chapters from read aloud book while grands are eating the ice cream they made: The Boxcar Children-The Chocolate Sundae Mystery

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart): Dramatic Play – Owning an ice cream shoppe.

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart): Make a poster advertising the ice cream shoppe they created in dramatic play.

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart): Journal writing, independent reading, or individual discussion: What is your favorite ice cream. Why?



Musical Intelligence (Music Smart): Sing “Here’s the Scoop.”  http://www.prekfun.com/themes/prekthemes/g-m/IceCream/IceCream__Songs.htm

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Finish reading Ben and Jerry: Ice Cream Manufacturers.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart): Make strawberry ice cream using ice cream maker (and offer chocolate chips for a topping)  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/140877/easy-eggless-strawberry-ice-cream/

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart): Ice Cream Exercises activity while waiting for the ice cream maker to finish making the day’s ice cream.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read several chapters from read aloud book while grands are eating the ice cream the ice cream maker made: The Boxcar Children-The Chocolate Sundae Mystery

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart): Use an atlas or map and find the locations where the ingredients from ice cream originate. The grands can use the ingredients list and research they have done during the week.

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart): Plan an ice cream social for Friday. Choose who to invite and which ice creams and toppings to offer.  Remind them that there were four methods they learned and try to make an ice cream with each method. (Make a grocery list too which is a Logical/Mathematical activity.)

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart): Make invitations and menus for ice cream social.


Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart): Racing for Toppings-Have grands do this activity to choose the toppings they will use on their own sundae at the ice cream social.

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart): Circle Storytelling

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart): Make the ice cream recipes that were planned on Thursday.

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart): Prepare for the ice cream social by setting up the ice creams, toppings, bowls, and utensils. Hold the ice cream social with the ice cream the grands just made.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart): Read (and hopefully finish)  The Boxcar Children-The Chocolate Sundae Mystery.

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart): Paper plate ice cream craft. http://www.hellowonderful.co/post/12-OF-THE-SWEETEST-ICE-CREAM-CRAFTS-EVER

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart): Journal writing, independent reading, or individual discussion: What was your favorite part of this day camp?


I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


I love to add my blog posts to link parties such as:





13 responses to “In-home Day Camp Week 1: Ice Cream Dreams

  1. swapna says:

    Great! Thanks for sharing at Practical Mondays.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah says:

    This is amazing! You’ve done such a wonderful, thoughtful job of creating theme-based activities for your grandkids. Thank you for laying out your plans so articulately. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linnae says:

    Wow, your grandchildren are so lucky to have you teaching them! This looks like so much fun! They’ll hardly realize they’re learning. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mbethany says:

    What lucky grandkids!!! This sounds so fun : )


  5. What a creative grandma! I am sure your grandkids are blessed. This strikes me as a full-scale preschool curriculum any school should love! Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.


    • Thanks so much. I am having such a wonderful time with my grandsons and my mind just spins with ideas for them when I see all the wonderful children’s literature that is available. I love the LMM Linkup!


  6. […] In-home Day Camp Week 1: Ice Cream Dreams Jun […]


  7. Rosemary says:

    So glad I found you on Monday of Many Blessings linkup. I too am a mimi of three grandsons. They live two hours away, so I can’t do a day camp, but they will be visiting this summer, and I’ll use some of your great ideas. Fantastic work! I’ll be sharing on Pinterest and also with friends. Thank you!


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