When was the last time you made yourself an ice cream sundae? It’s one of our family’s favorite activities to do at home and with summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to have some fun and make delicious, yummy, and creative ice cream sundaes.
My kids are 8, 13, 15, 16, and 17 years old, so as you can imagine, it gets more and more difficult to find activities that we can all do together. When I find something that all 5 of my kids love to do together, I hold onto it because it’s so special to me. Ever since my kids were little, making ice cream sundaes at home (or at grandma and grandpa’s) has always been their favorite thing.
Nothing beats seeing their eyes light up while each of them creates something different and scrumptious in their ice cream sundae bowls. They all might be siblings, but their taste buds couldn’t be more different! Each one prefers a mixture of different ice cream flavors, toppings, and syrups. But for me, it’s watching them interact and create. The laughter, the happiness on their faces, and the giddiness between each other. It just brings me so much joy!
I started doing ice cream sundae bars for our family when my oldest was a toddler. My mom used to do these for me and my siblings when we were young and I used to look forward to those summer nights more than anything. The second I saw ice cream stocked up in the freezer and candy and syrups in our pantry, I knew something was brewing. That simple pleasure, anticipation, and excitement was something I wanted my own kids to feel, and I’m so glad I’ve brought it to them, too.
As you’re coming up with different ideas and activities to do with your own family, make sure you add creating an ice cream sundae bar to your list. It’s easy to do and will bring so much delight and happiness to your kids (and you, too!).
Bring It Outside: What I love to do during the summer is bring my family’s ice cream sundae bar outside. We have a side porch that we love to use, but you could also use your backyard. The weather is just perfect for outdoor living, and since ice cream bars can sometimes get a little messy, it’s nice to have my set-up be outdoors. *Note: when we do our ice cream sundae bar during the colder months, I will place a disposable tablecloth on and underneath my table to scoop (pun intended) up any messes. It’s an easy parent hack that makes it easy for clean-up afterwards.
Perfect Bowls and Spoons: One thing I love to do is make sure I have stacks of bowls and spoons that are perfect for ice cream sundaes. My kids prefer deep bowls (extra space for toppings, syrup, and ice cream), so we always use a particular kind of bowl that we have now named at home, “the ice cream bowls.” And for the spoons, my kids prefer bigger spoons for bigger bites!
Ice Cream: I love to make sure my kids have options, so I go with 3 classic flavors that I know will make everyone happy: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. For reference, with our family of 7, we go through about 2 gallons of ice cream at once.
Toppings and Syrups: This is the most important part for my kids (and for me!), it’s ALL about the toppings and syrups on top of the ice cream. To be honest with you, the toppings and syrups make the actual ice cream sundae bar. Since we love having fun and making sure there are many options for everyone… we go all out! We’re huge Hershey fans, so what we do is stock up on all of their favorite treats: HERSHEY’S milk chocolate bars, REESE’S peanut butter cups, REESE’S PIECES candy, KIT KAT bars, YORK peppermint patties, HERSHEY’S KISSES chocolates, and TWIZZLERS candy. These favorites help make up our candy bar, but then we add the extra fun with HERSHEY’S chocolate, strawberry flavor, and caramel syrups. The great thing is that you have the option to buy snack-sized or miniature bars, which makes it easier for a sundae bar.
Family Fun: One thing we love to do is have a contest after all of the sundaes have been created. If the kids want to do this (which normally they do), my husband and I won’t watch them create them, and then they will all place them on the table and make us choose the “best” looking one. The one with the more toppings seems to be the one that usually wins!
Hopefully, these tips will help you plan a fun and exciting ice cream sundae bar with your family. Take this beautiful time of year and enjoy your family. There’s nothing more important than family time together, and this is a wonderful way to make it happen.
Happy sundae, everyone!
Audrey is a nationally recognized parenting expert (and mom of 5) who has appeared on national and local broadcast stations. She has worked online as a parenting influencer for 16 years, and the founder of MomGenerations.com, an online destination for mothers. She has been named one of the most influential moms online and is a long-standing contributor to the TODAY Show Parents Network.