This 4th of July, keep cool with a little family fun by getting the kids involved in making homemade ice cream. Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy ice cream maker. For this activity the kiddos will be doing all the work. It will keep the little ones occupied while mom and dad grill up the main course, and you’ll all enjoy a sweet treat at the end of your holiday celebration.

Homemade Ice Cream Supplies

  • 1 lb. Coffee Can
  • 3 lb. Coffee Can
  • Ice
  • ½ cup of Rock Salt

If you don’t have access to coffee cans, you can use plastic baggies, but be careful of springing a leak.

Homemade Ice Cream Ingredients

  • 1 pint Half-and-Half
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar

The night before, mix your ingredients for the ice cream. Gently warm the half and half in the microwave using 30-second intervals or over low heat on the stove top. Be careful not to scald the creamer. You just want to warm it up enough so that the sugar can dissolve completely when you mix it in.

Add the sugar and vanilla to the half-and-half, stirring well. Place the mixture in an air-tight container in a cold spot of the refrigerator to chill overnight. In the meanwhile, give your coffee cans a good wash and set in the freezer to get extra cold. This will help speed up the freezing process later.

About a half hour before you want to enjoy your ice cream, give your ingredients a good stir and seal the creamy mix in the smaller one-pound coffee can. Place the sealed small can inside the larger three-pound coffee can and fill the remaining space inside with crushed ice and rock salt. Seal this can as well and hand it off to the kids to finish the job.

Instruct them to roll the cans back and forth for at least 10 minutes. An easy way to keep them engaged is to treat it like a game of hot potato—or in this case, very cold potato. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and whoever is left holding the can when the timer goes off eats last.

After the 10 minutes are up, you should have a frosty cream creation ready to enjoy. If it’s not thick enough, scrape down the sides of the inner can, add more ice to the outer can, and give it a few more minutes.

One recipe yields two cups of frosty vanilla goodness. If you have a large family, duplicate the recipe and supplies so that each child has their own coffee can ice cream project to work on.