I do not know a four year old that doesn’t like ice cream. I think Monkey probably asks for it almost everyday. Not that he gets it everyday! So when I was offered a children’s ice cream maker to try out I of course said yes. Like many young kids Monkey is fascinated by preparing food and will often help out at meal times. To be honest we don’t probably do enough cooking and baking with him. Silly really as its a great way to teach him to follow instructions and bring numbers into everyday life through measuring and in this case pouring.
So what do you get in the box? There is a plastic tray to keep everything together, an ice cream maker tray, little plastic chopping board, jug and four utensils for preparing the ingredients and actually churning the ice cream.
The first job is to fill the ice cream tray with freezing agent. Don’t worry its easy to make your own, all you need to do is mix 270ml of lukewarm water with two tablespoons of cooking salt. We used table salt which I think is pretty much the same thing and it worked fine. You need to place this into your freezer for 4-6 hours before wanting to use it. Ours was in for 7 hours in total.
Then there is the discussion about what flavour ice cream? I had some lemon extract so very much fancied that, although Monkey was more interested in chocolate and strawberry! Needless to say we ended up with chocolate, for flavouring we used milkshake syrup, but you can use anything you want. Although its important to try and keep the cream and flavouring as cold as possible to make the tray as effective as possible.
Monkey mixed the syrup with 250ml of double cream, and then we measured out 75ml into the little green jug. The tray will make up to three jugs at a time, so the full 250ml of cream. We also had strawberries and chocolate chunks to sprinkle over the top. There is a a space on the try where you can crush nuts or chocolate to sprinkle over the top and cut up the strawberries.
Then he poured it into the tray. I’m not sure it exactly mess free as it claims but then Monkey is only four an older child may have more luck in keeping the cream mixture in the tray. Once the mixture is in all you need to do is wait for it to start to freeze, and then churn it yourself using the provided spatula.
To be honest it was a little bit hard work for Monkey and Daddy helped out. Thats probably because he is only four and his patience is not up to it as it takes a few minutes to start to solidify. The ice cream it produces is similar to the soft whip ice-cream available from the ice cream trucks. The instructions do say to put any made ice cream in the freezer while you make the next batch. That didn’t happen in our house as Monkey couldn’t wait to get stuck in!
For the second batch we actually went against the instructions and added in the chunks and strawberry pieces to the cream mixture. It still worked fine, I think if the pieces are small enough it works fine. Monkey is already thinking about the next flavour combinations he wants to try out!
Things we loved:
- The idea behind children being able to make their own ice cream and the educational benefits of doing this – i.e. learning how things are made and flavour combinations
- Its bright and colourful and well made. The plastic is good quality
- It doesn’t require batteries or a power source
- Everything you need apparatus wise is supplied
- Because you can choose your own ingredients you can make ice cream to meet your dietary requirements and avoid your artificial colours and flavours
- Its easy to wash up!
The only improvement I could see would be a bigger ice cream tray to save having to make multiple small batches.
We really enjoyed testing out the ChillFactor Ice Cream Magic Tray and I am sure we will be developing all sorts of flavour combinations in the coming weeks. It is recommended for ages three plus. Its RRP is £19.99 and is available to buy from Character Online or all good retailers.
We were given the ChillFactor Ice Cream Magic Tray to review all opinions and mine and Monkey’s own.
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