When Nicky professed an interest in science last month, my mom had a great idea.  She combed the internet for at-home, kid-friendly science experiments and compiled them in a binder.  Last week, we experimented with various salts and sodas as mummification agents.  (On apples.  We draw the line at mummifying anything from the animal kingdom.)

Today, the boys chose to make ice cream in plastic bags.  Fun, right?

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And it was fun…for the first two minutes, which is about how long it took to put the ingredients in the bags and zip them up.  Then the shaking began.

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(We wrapped the bags in dishtowels to protect the boys’ hands from the ice.)  Unfortunately, to make ice cream takes a solid 10-15 minutes of vigorous shaking.  They didn’t last 30 seconds before they lost their smiles.

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About 12 minutes later (12 loooooooong minutes later!), we didn’t have ice cream, but we did have milkshakes!  Both boys declared this success enough.  After all, ice cream drunk through a straw still tastes like ice cream!

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Ah-ha!  The smiles have returned!

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And, since this was a science experiment, of course we all learned a few things.

The boys learned why salt makes ice melt and why that energy cools the ingredients to make ice cream.  They were reminded that NaCl is the chemical symbol for table salt.

I learned not to try this experiment again until I know they’re old enough to handle shaking a plastic bag for ten minutes without extended whining and moaning.  In fact, I’m sorely tempted to invest in an ice cream ball.  I also learned to check my stock of half-and-half before doing this again, so I have enough to make some for myself!

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