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Ice cream in a jar!

Summer is here, and the most delicious way to learn science in the sun is with ice cream!

There is more to this sweet treat than freezing cream. To avoid breaking a tooth, we first need to convince the fat droplets in the cream to gather in a special formation that traps lots of air. Scientists call this formation a colloid. You can use equipment that churns the cream to trap air, but it can be kid-powered too!

What you need

  • 1 cup cold cream
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Jar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional mix-ins: fruit, nuts, chocolate chips


  • Put your ingredients (excluding mix-ins) into the jar, then play some Taylor Swift to help you shake, shake, shake! 
  • Your jar will be ready for the freezer when the mixture is double the size (because of all that air you added) and coats the back of a spoon – this will take around five minutes. Don’t shake it too much, though, or you might make butter!
  • Next, stir in your favourite mix-ins and freeze the ice cream until it hardens (about three hours).
  • Take it out, let it soften a little if you need to and enjoy your cool ice cream on a hot summer’s day.

We hope you enjoyed all that delicious science with the team at Tūhura Otago Museum. Come and visit us in New Zealand’s biggest science centre when you are next in Dunedin for explosions, chemical reactions, and hundreds of rainforest butterflies in our indoor Tropical Forest, where it is summer
all year round.


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