The weather is hot, and so the kids are always asking for something cold to snack on. And of course if I want them to go outside, I’d better be ready to cool them off during or after. Otherwise they won’t give me any peace to do anything else.
Not to mention how miserable they get. A drink of cold water is satisfying when you’re hot, but not nearly as fun as getting a treat.
On my budget, I don’t like to buy a lot of popsicles and such. They add up too fast. But making treats at home is really easy. All you need are some popsicle molds and ingredients for popsicles. Other treats are also easy to make.
Fruit Smoothie Popsicles
Fruit smoothies make great cold, healthy treats, but they also make great popsicles. After you’ve poured them some smoothies, pour any excess into popsicle molds. They’ll freeze up pretty quick, and are just as healthy as the original smoothie.
Smoothies are easy to make. I take some frozen fruit, apple juice, a banana, carrot or whatever else looks fresh and likely to taste good in the smoothie. You just need enough juice to keep the mixer going, which is a bit lower than the top of the frozen fruit once you’ve put it into the blender, in many cases. The more liquid you add, the more runny the smoothie. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, so don’t worry too much.
Add some honey while the blender is running. If you add it while the blender has stopped, it will solidify too quickly and may just stick to the sides of the blender, not mixing into the smoothie. A little sweetening really helps most smoothies, and I’d sooner add honey than sugar.
Fruit Juice Popsicles
You don’t have to get all fancy and make a smoothie to make homemade popsicles. You can just freeze some fruit juice in the molds. Trust me, the kids won’t mind that there aren’t chunks of real fruit in them.
Then again, fruit juice with small chunks of fresh fruit do work.
Frozen Yogurt or Pudding
Take either of these and put into popsicle molds. To save on packaging I suggest buying the larger containers of yogurt, but if you have the single serve style you can try just adding a popsicle stick to these. Just remember that’s rather a large popsicle.
Similarly, I suggest just making the pudding at home. You can use the instant mix or be really brave and mix it from scratch.
Snow Cones and Shaved Ice
These were a huge hit at my daughter’s birthday party earlier this year… bigger than the birthday cake itself.
A shave ice maker doesn’t cost all that much, nor do the flavors. We experimented with blending some frozen berries with brown sugar and water to use in place of the syrups you buy in the stores, but these are much, much harder to shave. The flavor is good, though. I’m some concerned about whether this might wear out our shave ice maker too quickly, though.
Ice Cream in a Bag
You can see the instructions for ice cream in a bag by following this link. It’s pretty simple but I will warn you that five minutes of shaking can be a very long time for children, even with ice cream as a reward.
Of course if you have an ice cream maker you can just use that. The kids find waiting for the machine to finish to be pretty exciting too, but their hands don’t get tired or cold… unless you have the old hand cranked style.
Frozen Grapes and Other Fruits
Some fruits freeze delightfully. Grapes, for example. Get a bunch, rinse them off and either remove from the stems or don’t. Once they’re frozen they’ll still come off pretty well, so you can decide how lazy you want to be with this one.
We also buy frozen berries, and the kids love them as snacks.
And you can’t forget frozen bananas! The classic way is to put them on a stick and dip them in chocolate first, but you can also slice them thinly before freezing. Just make sure the kids eat them before they melt and turn into goo.
All of these are a lot of fun for the kids, and most are pretty healthy too. Do you have any other cold summer treat ideas?