Make Believe Frozen Snow Cone Stand
Last week our family went to an event at a local church where free snow cones were offered. Of course our boys devoured them and thought they were the greatest thing ever. I don't mind giving my children the occasional treat, but generally speaking a snow cone is not something I would want my kids to eat. Since making our frozen smoothies paint the other day I have been brainstorming more ideas for frozen summer fun. The smoothie paints greatly resembled ice cream or sherbet. I originally planned to set up a make believe ice cream shop, but after seeing how much the boys loved snow cones I knew that a make believe snow cone stand would be a huge hit. Better yet, making edible snow cones made from whole foods would combine a sensory activity, imaginative play and a healthy summer treat!
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I used fresh fruit for the snow cone syrups and did not add any sugar or sweetener. I pureed each fruit in my Vitamix. If you use a standard blender I suggest adding a bit of water to help the fruit blend well. Once all of the syrups were prepped and ready I set up the invitation to make snow cones. I set everything in place before crushing the ice. I used the Vitamix to crush the ice, and it amazed me by crushing the ice in literally only three seconds.
I made the snow cone papers out of craft foam. I secured each rolled piece of foam with a piece of packing tape. I put a small ball of foil in the bottom of the foam to stop the hole. Of course as the ice melted the syrups dripped past the balls, but most of the ice and syrup stayed in the foam. These sillicone snow cone papers are on my wish list now for the next time we make this simple summer treat.
J-Bug (4) is my little guy who loves imaginative play. He enjoys sensory play, but he really gets going when there is a story and characters. The make believe snow cone stand was right up his alley, and he didn't waste any time getting started.
I was the customer, and he was the "worker guy".
He took my order then proceeded to tell me which flavors were the best and which ones I would like.
The strawberry, blueberry and watermelon purees were sweet and tasty. The citrus flavors were tart. With sugar they would probably taste much better, but with a goal of keeping the ingredients to whole foods for a wholesome treat I would prefer to not add any sweetener. The citrus flavors were still fun to create with, especially the orange as it created a vibrant color. The aroma from the citrus syrups heightened the sensory experience.
I try to set up activities using squeezy bottles several times a week. They are so stinking fun, and they help develop the muscles needed for writing, building fine motor skills.
J-Bug served his customers (Dad and Mom) first, and then he eagerly sampled his own creation.
The snow cones were a huge hit, both for play and eating. If I was setting this up as make believe play only I would use Kool Aid powders for the syrups. They are inexpensive, produce dazzling colors and smell amazing! I'm glad I used fresh fruit, because on a hot day this was the perfect frozen treat.
As you can imagine with all of the fruit purees being squeezed and the ice melting in the heat, this activity was a little messy. I covered our picnic table with a show curtain before setting up the supplies. I tossed that in the washing machine on a rinse cycle and hosed off the containers we used. Clean up took maybe five minutes. Here are my best tips and tricks for messy play as well as laundry tips to avoid stains.
For more ideas for imaginative play follow my Make Believe board on Pinterest.
Click the images below for more frozen summer fun!