Pop Some Learning Into Making Popsicles!

We have been talking about practicing skills for school while doing everyday, fun activities-otherwise known as embedded learning. What could be more fun on a hot summer day than making popsicles? It’s a simple activity that kids of all ages can enjoy and you don’t need any fancy equipment to do it. And for a bonus, you can embed a little learning in the activity! Let’s find out how…..


  • 12 small (3 oz) paper cups (or 12 popsicle molds-you can find them at Walmart and Target)
  • 12 popsicle sticks
  • aluminum foil
  • measuring cup
  • pitcher


  • 4 cups lemonade

Directions for making popsicles (with embedded learning)

  • First, count out 12 cups and 12 sticks.
    • For young children, this might be a stretch to do by themselves so you could count with them. Or let them get as far as they can by themselves and then help out.
    • For older kids, you could have them count out 12 cups and sticks and then divide them into groupings like “How many groups of 6 make 12? How many groups of 3?”
  • Measure out four cups of lemonade.
    • Young children can help to pour the lemonade into the cup measure. You can tell them “We are measuring the lemonade to make sure we get just the right amount. Can you think of other things that we measure?….Do you remember when you were measured at the doctor’s office so they could find out how tall you are?”
    • Young children can also help to pour the lemonade from the cup measure into the pitcher, if it has a wide top. While they are pouring, you can talk about how the lemonade is in liquid form right now and get a little science in. “See how the lemonade pours into the pitcher? That is because, right now, the lemonade is a liquid. That means it is like water. You can pour it or drink it from a cup….When we put this lemonade into the freezer, it is going to change…It is going to become a solid. We won’t be able to pour it anymore. And we won’t be able to drink it. What do you do with popsicles instead?…. That is right! You lick them!”
    • With older kids, you could also ask them about what else you could do to make the liquid change into something else. “Some liquids, like this lemonade, can become solids when they are frozen. What would happen if we made this lemonade really hot? Do you know it would turn into then?….That’s right!…It would turn into steam.”
  • Pour the lemonade into each of the cups. Fill them about ¾ full.
    • You can work in some math here by talking about how you are only filling the cups part of the way. “We are filling the cups ¾ of the way full. That is only part of the whole cup. If we filled the whole cup, we would fill it to the top. If we filled it halfway up, we would only fill it this far (fill one cup ½ full), see? Then it would be ½ empty.”
  • Place foil over the top of each cup and then put a stick through the foil into each cup.
    • Again, your child can help you count the sticks as you put them into the cups.
  • Put the cups into the freezer. Leave them there for about 3-4 hours. Then take them out and enjoy!
    • You can remind your child that when your first put the lemonade in the cups, it was liquid. Mention that now the lemonade is solid and has turned into ice. You could also talk about how the ice is cold. You could wonder will happen as the lemonade warms up and talk about how your solid can become a liquid again.
    • You could talk with your child about how the popsicle tastes. “Is it sweet? Is it sour? Do you know what do those words mean? What else is sweet? What else is sour?”

There are lots of other things that you can do to embed learning in this activity, like talking about the fact that the word “popsicle” starts with the letter “p” and practicing the sound. Or you can talk about the color of the lemonade and what other things might be the same color. Or you could make up a story about how you made the popsicles.

Most importantly, enjoy the activity with your child! And your popsicles!!


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