MOSCOW (AP) _ A counterfeiter's children unintentionally alerted police when they tried to buy ice cream with phony coins, the Communist Party daily newpaper reported today.

Alexander Ilchenko, a factory worker in Leningrad, had been forging coins worth the equivalent of 32 cents and exchanging them for real coins in automatic change-making machines, Pravda said.

Two coins escaped from Ilchenko's home mint and rolled under the television set, and his son and daughter found them and went to buy ice cream. The vendor noticed the coins were fakes and took the children to police, Pravda said.

Ilchenko was convicted of counterfeiting and given a three-year suspended sentence, Pravda said. It did not say when the trial took place.

The newspaper quoted Ilchenko as testifying that he could find no other way to get out of ''an extremely tough financial situation.''