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How to save your sanity with single-serving coffee can ice cream.

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Picture of How to save your sanity with single-serving coffee can ice cream.
It's one of those slow moving Saturdays. Your oldest kid is having a playdate with one of his best buddies. They've torn through all your son's toys in record speed, argued twice over who can "force push" and who has the power to perform a "Jedi Mind Trick" and have played the Wii WAYYYY longer than you meant to allow them. You don't want your kid's friend to report home that all they did was play video games and because you're "the boss," and mean, you turn off the blasted system. Bored, sad, and down-right grouchy (basically driving you insane) you need something to rescue you from this self-induced Swamp of Sadness your quickly sinking into. Now is the perfect opportunity to pull out the old timey "Let's make ice cream in a coffee can" trick. The beauty of this project is the single-serving size means they don't even have to share..thank god.
 
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Step 1: Gather necessary materials and ingredients

Picture of Gather necessary materials and ingredients
The beauty of this project is it's one of those activities you can pull out when you're in need of something fun to do with the kids. Most of the ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard with the exception of saving a few empty containers and purchasing a box of rock salt.

For a single-serving of quick, yummy homemade vanilla ice cream you'll need:

1 empty medium sized coffee can. We used a 13oz can.

1 empty container with a lid that'll fit inside the coffee can with extra space around it for ice and salt. We used small empty jelly jars and plastic yogurt containers

(Now is the time to pat yourself on the back for recycling and having a mini-lesson with your kids about the importance of reusing items, consumption and global warming)

You'll also need:
1 Tablespoon measuring spoon

1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon

1/2 cup measuring cup

1 small spoon for stirring

For the vanilla ice cream you'll need:

1/2 cup milk. We used non-fat because that's what we drink. However, any milk will work and I even hear soy milk also works for you lacto-free folks

1-2 Tablespoons granulated sugar depending on how sweet you want your ice cream. We used 2 and it was a bit too sweet for my kids. My son's friend is pretty much sugar-free so he used 1 packet of Splenda and it turned out pretty tasty.

1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. The kids found 1 teaspoon of vanilla to be a little bit too over-powering

Small chunks of ice. Enough to fill the surrounding space around the small container inside the coffee can.

1-2 Tablespoons rock salt. We actually found ours at Von's and it was specifically made for ice cream

Optional ingredients:
1 teaspoon chocolate syrup substituted for the vanilla extract if you're craving chocolate
1-2 Small snack size Hershey's Chocolate bars or other chocolate that can be chunked up if you want to make chocolate chip ice cream



Step 2: Measure and pour the milk

Picture of Measure and pour the milk
Measure out 1/2 cup of milk and pour it into your small container. Try your best not to spill too much.

Step 3: Measure and pour the sugar

Picture of Measure and pour the sugar
Measure between 1 and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar (we found 2 tablespoon to be a little too sweet, perhaps 1 1/2 Tblsp) and pour it into your small container with the milk.

Step 4: Alternative sugar option

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Remember, if you're looking for a sugar-free alternative 1 packet of Splenda works nice too.

Step 5: Measure and pour the vanilla extract

Picture of Measure and pour the vanilla extract
Measure between 1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and pour it into the small container.

If you're looking to make chocolate ice cream instead substitute the vanilla extract with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup. Yum.

Step 6: Stir the ingredients

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Now stir, stir, stir all the ingredients in the jar until everything is well mixed.

Step 7: Top it off.

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Securely lid onto container and make sure it's sealed really tight.

With the yogurt container we wrapped some duct tape around the container to make sure the lid stayed in place.

Step 8: Place small container into larger coffee can

Picture of Place small container into larger coffee can
With the lid tightly in place, put the small ice cream mixture container into the coffee can.

Step 9: Add ice

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Fill the remaining space inside the coffee can with small chunks of ice about half way up. Make sure the small container inside the coffee can is centered in the middle of the coffee can and surround it with ice chunks.

Step 10: Add rock salt

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When the coffee can is about half filled with ice chunks sprinkle between 2-3 Tablespoons of rock salt all over the ice in the coffee can.

Step 11: Ice it up

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Continue to fill up the coffee can with ice chunks all the way to the top making sure to cover the top of the small container inside the coffee can.

Step 12: Put a lid on it.

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Secure lid on the coffee can making sure it's completely sealed. This is very important because when you start shaking things up you don't want any small containers flying out of the coffee can. A bit thrilling but very dangerous.

You might want to secure the lid to the coffee can with some good ol' duct tape.

Now get ready to shake, rattle and roll those icy cold coffee cans.

Step 13: Shaken not stirred

Picture of Shaken not stirred
And now to shake things up a bit. The key to making this frozen treat is to keep the coffee can in motion as much as possible for about 15-20 minutes. Our ice cream was complete after 20 minutes.

This is where the real fun begins and you get 15-20 minutes of free time. Just enough time to do a few, much needed, strength training and yoga reps on the Wii Fit...possibly opening that new boxing level. Or read the front page of today's newspaper and down a cup of coffee. Either way, it should be fairly uninterrupted, well-deserved "me time."

First, have the kiddies, armed with their very own coffee can concoctions, make their way to an open OUTSIDE area with some space to move. Trust me, it gets a little wet from the melting ice so you'll want those babies outside.

Have the kids begin with some "kick the can." The kids can just kick the coffee can around and watch it roll. We had kicking races where the kids had to kick the can from one side of the patio to other. First one to make it to the other side and back won.

*Side note: I wouldn't recommend kicking the can in sandals. My son was so excited about the ice cream project that he insisted he had no time to change shoes. OUCH!


Step 14: Coffee Can Roller Crash Derby

Picture of Coffee Can Roller Crash Derby
Next, we made up a game we decided to call "Coffee Can Roller Crash Derby." I make no apologies for the name. I'm working with 2, 8 and 9 year olds here. However, only the 8 and 9 year old played. I think more players could play. Just make sure the cans are marked to keep them straight.

The rules of "Coffee Can Roller Crash Derby":

1. Decide who'll go first with a quick best three out of five round of "Rock, Paper, Scissor."

2. All players stand on the same side of the patio.

3. Using his hands only, player one makes a "roll out" move by rolling his can across the patio to the other side.

4. The next player makes his "roll out" move by trying to "crash derby roll" his can into player one's can.

5. If his can "crashes" into player one's can he gets a point. If it doesn't hit player one's can then it's player one's turn to try to "crash derby roll" his can into the other player's can. Player one starts his roll from wherever his can stopped the first time around.

6. The first player to "derby crash" by rolling his can into the other player's can wins a point and the round is ended.

7. Begin the next round by having all players go to the same side of the patio (see step #2).

The kids played to five points. The perfect amount of points to keep the game fresh. They played this game twice.

Step 15: Coffee Can Bowling

Picture of Coffee Can Bowling
To keep that coffee can in motion we next played "Coffee Can Bowling."

How to play "Coffee Can Bowling":

1. Stand up six empty containers in a bowling configuration of your choice. We used six small empty plastic water bottles that we removed from our recycle bin . We started with a traditional bowling pin set up, but found it to be too difficult, so my son's wise BFF came up with the configuration you see in the photo. It worked really well.

2. Play a quick round of "Rock, Paper, Scissor" to decide who'll go first or loser from "Coffee Can Roller Crash Derby" goes first.

3. After arranging the pins have the kids stand on the opposite side away from them and draw a "Do not cross line" with some sidewalk chalk. This line will be the line they can walk up to before rolling their can.

4. Use basic bowling rules to play the game. Have the kids take turns knocking down the "pins" by rolling their can into the "pins." Each player gets two rolls before tallying up their total.

5. The player not "bowling" is responsible for resetting the pins after the other player's turn is finished.

6. The first player to reach 12 points wins the game. Ideally you could make the points as low or high as you wish. Twelve points seemed to be the magic number for us.

Step 16: Freeze Dancing before a cool treat.

Picture of Freeze Dancing before a cool treat.
You're almost finished. One more activity to go before enjoying some tasty, fresh ice cream.

To really shake things up the last activity is "Freeze Dance." Very simple to play. Taking a break from Wii Fit it's your turn to play DJ.

How to "Freeze Dance":

1. Dripping wet and freezing cold coffee cans in their hands, have the kids stand in the middle of the patio with plenty of space around them.

2. Turn up some major tunes. We especially like to blast anything from Central Services Presents...Board of Education.

3. When the music starts bumping, the kids start busting some major ice cream coffee can moves, making sure to shake, shake, shake it up.

4. From time to time pause the tunes. When the music stops the kids freeze..like ice sculptures. Continue starting and stopping the music at different times tricking them into total dancing chaos, whipping them into a groovin, "Freeze Dance" frenzy. Two songs should do the trick.

Step 17: The cool, sweet pay-off

Picture of The cool, sweet pay-off
Now that the kids have worked themselves into an ice cream making sweat it's time for the big reveal. Open the coffee can and remove the small container from inside. Open it up and PRESTO CHANGE-O, delicious, sweet, cold, homemade, single-serving, vanilla ice cream ready to be gobbled up right out of the containers.

Step 18: Add-in

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The kids decided they were in the mood for a little chocolate chip ice cream action. So, after finding some chocolate Statue of Liberties hidden in the back of the pantry we chopped those mamas up and stirred the pieces right in. Yummy.
michaelko3 years ago
You can mix mixed berries
nroper3 years ago
I´m from Costa Rica!!!
Tarrazu´s area coffee is one of the best. Nice to see that you appreciate really good coffee!
jany3 years ago
what a way to make personalized ice cream and keep the kids busy. I loved the bowling idea. Genius. I think you should get a 20 for the great directions and pictures.
Suggestion: Plastic coffee cans and mittens. And they make some really nice small reusable plastic storage containers too. I just cringe at the idea of a glass jar in a metal can with ice and shaking and... label me overprotective.
Laura F6 years ago
I super love this. but the splenda in the hand of a child---eeek. otherwise, mmmm ice cream
I agree, I know how much damage that stuff can do to the body! Stevia is much better, but it can't be dumped like those packets.
They sell Stevia in packets Meijers has it.
ssinn55 years ago
 I think this is a great, practical instructable, with some great game ideas and very easy to follow instructables. I know, from personal experience, that the games are really fun! Thanks a Heap!
Jyssa5 years ago
Lol - I LOVE your intro!! I am having one of those days today - even without the friends over (just my own kids!) and I need a damn good distraction. :) And probably some coffee and icecream for me lol.

Nice 'Ible! :)
link6055 years ago
nice instructable, i want to do that tomorrow P.S. im turning 11 in 2 days
meejenbea5 years ago
Awesome post, your kid's adorable btw.
Mig Welder5 years ago
great game ideas!!
PKTraceur6 years ago
Nice! Are there any other container mediums I can use? A ziploc Bag? -PKT
I love the NBC shirt lol
unfortunetly, i've had nightmares from that movie....*shivers* altohugh you have to love Jack!
how did you manage that?!?!
i don't know, maybe too little expeirince with it as a little kid. I tihnk it's kinda like that wallis and gromet thing. It's jsut plain freaky to me.
hahaha now that, i can relate to.
At least you can.... my 7 yr old cousin like, LOVES it. i cant stand him either so.....
hahaha
hammer98766 years ago
"1 empty medium sized coffee can. We used a 13oz can" (sigh) Remember when coffee came in 1 pound cans? Great instructable.
skunkbait6 years ago
Great Ible! I love it!
srilyk6 years ago
One word: Awesome! Great writing, great ideas, great pics. This is all around a great 'structible
momjeans836 years ago
awesome! can't wait to try this with my moms neighborhood kids since mine are under two. i'm sure their parents will appreciate it too!
This is a great activity. It also works well by putting the ingredients in a snack-sized zip-lock bag and then putting that into a pint-sized freezer bag, we did stuff like that at the beginning of the semester to get people involved with college clubs. It's a cheap way to entertain a lot of people at one time.
stimps6 years ago
This is a very cool instructable, but part of it shocks me. When I was a kid oh so long ago, having ice cream was cool enough, no matter what was in it. You didn't get to decide what was in it down to the teaspoon. Ah well.
aglaranna6 years ago
This is an awesome instructable! I am passing it on to my friends with kids!!!
finfan76 years ago
Good work.
le-Sid6 years ago
really nice instructable!! gotta try it someday _
rob-e6 years ago
Ice cream! Coffee cans! Not to mention wonderful pics and a very cool narrative--this rocks--thanks!
zachninme6 years ago
Great Instructable! (with great narrative to boot!)

Nice way to keep the brats wonderful children occupied.

How well did the fat-free milk work? I thought you needed heavy cream (or at least half-and-half) for it to have the right texture... maybe not?

(Small thing, step 16, the link didn't work. Use this syntax:
[http://www.otterhop.com/content/central-services-presentsthe-board-educationim Central Services Presents...Board off Education].
)
DoubleDutchery (author)  zachninme6 years ago
Thanks so much. I fixed the link. The fat-free worked just fine--freezes up like a charm. Obviously the fat-free isn't creamy like half-and-half, more like iced milk, but it was what we had to work with and the kids didn't seem to mind.
Ha, it's amazing what low quality rubbish kids will eat if they made it themselves! Brilliant Instructable, well worth the Feature.
PKM zachninme6 years ago
Nice way to keep the brats wonderful children occupied.

Here's a funny thing- this would be a great Instructable without the ice cream. This is exactly the kind of childhood I had (turn off the bowling game on the computer, create a bowling game out of empty bottles in the garden) and I firmly believe that is what gave me a passion for making/improvising stuff. There are sadly people out there who would benefit from reading an Instructable "How to play with your children"... now there's a collaboration idea for you :)

Anyway, that's enough misty-eyed reminiscence- great detail, great Instructable, now I want ice cream...
Nice way to keep the brats wonderful children occupied.

LOL!

Nice One!

technick296 years ago
Great stuff. The best part about this isn't the ice cream -- though it looks delicious -- but the well constructed Instructable. Plus all of the bonus games! Keep up the good work!
slientbob6 years ago
you can do this same with a very large bag, but it is not as fun.
suziwollman6 years ago
This is worth a 10 just for the pix and directions (but I like the ice cream, too!). Never read an instructable this good!
dxf2246 years ago
Wonderful... I am thrilled with the lovely simplicity.... and you used duct tape. Holy cow ... to be served with beer can chicken.... You could also do hot stuff like real potatoes in a can. ...or real creamed corn or real beets... and serve at a barbecue by putting all the stuff on the patio and asking the guests to keep their supper moving around for a while.