Ice Cream Play Dough

Alistair Bryce-CleggUncategorized7 Comments

Last week I found myself at the TTS ‘Time for Two’s’ Conference in Manchester. I was delivering a Keynote and a couple of workshops alongside Alice Sharpe amongst others.


It was a great day with some brilliant ideas and resources for those working with two year olds (not to mention plenty of great food!). I am sure TTS will be doing more conferences, so keep an eye out for them.


During her keynote Alice talked about the amazing things that happen when you mixed cornflour with hair conditioner. What she didn’t do was tell the delegates what actually happens!

So, for any of you who were there and were left wondering and those who are now wondering…It makes a really lovely dough that you can both squeeze and snap. Yes, snap. It is definitely worth a try.

Here is a link to a blog post that I did last year when I made some dough using shampoo with my Niece Mabel. Just substitute the shampoo for condititioner – it is a very similar outcome!


The brilliant thing about this dough recipe is that you can also use it to make…

‘Ice Cream Play Dough’.

15It doesn’t have any ice cream in it, but it looks like ice cream, smells like ice cream and you can even put it in the fridge/freezer so that it feels like ice cream. But, it is dough so stays solid!

This is how you make it…


You need

  •  1 1/2 cups of cornflour
  • 3/4 cup of hair conditioner (I used the cheapest Tesco had to offer)
  • a few drops of food colouring
  • flavouring (either real or essence)

What do do

  • put the conditioner in into bowl


  • if you want coloured and flavoured ice cream playdough then add the flavour and colour to the conditioner and mix well




  • add the cornflour SLOWLY and keep stirring


The trick with getting the dough to look like ice cream is to keep adding the cornflour a bit at a time. If you don’t add enough you will end up with goo! If you add too much then you get a more solid ‘squeeze and snap’ dough, which is no bad thing, but not what you were going for.

8Once you have made it, you can let the children play with it straight away or put it in the fridge for a few hours. This will make it slightly more solid and colder. If you put it in the freezer, it goes ‘rock hard’ and softens up as the children play with it.

For this lot I divided the recipe into three and mixed red food colouring and strawberry essence into one lot of conditioner, green colouring and mint essence into another and yellow coloring and lemon juice into the third. They smelled fab!13

You could also use cocoa powder for chocolate or throw in some coffee granules. Herbs like rosemary and lavender would also make great flavourings.

You can always give the children lots of lovely bits and pieces to decorate their ice cream with before they get stuck into the dough.

Whether it is ‘squeeze and snap’ or ‘ice cream play dough’ you go for, it is cheap and easy and great fun.




7 Comments on “Ice Cream Play Dough”

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  2. Made this yesterday with my preschool class and they loved it! And the adults all loved how soft and smooth it was! But it did dry out quite quickly and startled to crumble all over the table… any ideas to make it last longer then a few hours?

  3. Our children in Early Years will love this. Play dough is such a favourite with them, we can’t make enough of the stuff and to smell and look like ice-cream is definitely a bonus! I’ll certainly give it a try!

  4. Sounds lovely! We’ve been experimenting this weekend for the ‘sensory play tray’, plain flour and baby lotion made a really pleasing crumbly dough but the best so far has to be the loo roll and grated soap (morrisons value so very cheap). With the addition of blue food colouring, peppermint essence and some blue glitter it was fab for the plastic penguins and also really mouldable and fun with the ice cream scoop, tea bag squeezer and measuring cups. I’ll be making the ice cream dough next I think.

    1. I don’t quite understand the loo roll and grated soap activity you have mentioned – can you explain a little more – maybe a visual aid? Very intrigued.

  5. My children at preschool love making this and yes they always call it ice cream playdough!!! Smells lovely with coconut conditioner!!

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