Today we had an ice cream social—make your own sundaes. Since it was about 90 degrees outside it was a big hit. This is actually a very simple activity to do, with a little preparation and a few extra hands to help.
The main thing you need obviously is the ice cream. Note: Don’t buy it until immediately before the event, unless you have a very large freezer! And, be sure to have an ice chest on hand. The motel we had the ice cream social at actually provides refrigerators for the residents, so we would have been able to store extra ice cream there, but this is the exception, not the rule.
We served a crowd of about 50 children and adults. We did fine with one very large tub and three cartons. There was even some leftover for anyone brave enough to want seconds. Even after Baskin Robbins 31 flavors, vanilla is still the #1 favorite flavor in American. No one refuses it.
Next come the toppings. This is where you can get as creative as you want to. Just walk down the candy, cookie and baking aisles. You’ll get lots of ideas. The possibilities are endless. We used small marshmallows, plain and peanut M & Ms, gummy bears, mixed nuts and sprinkles.
Syrups can be as easy as a couple of bottles of Hershey’s chocolate syrup, or the gamut of flavors available. No matter what flavors you get, get double or triple the chocolate. It’s always going to be the favorite flavor.
Then came the whipped cream. Four large cans took care of everyone. Last of all was the cookies. We chose Oreos. They come in several different flavors now, so they make the perfect ice cream accompaniment—in addition to original you can get golden, double stuff, triple stacked, peanut butter, lemon, raspberry and cookie dough. Heaven!
The set-up is something you want to arrange carefully, to avoid chaos and a sticky mess. Also, do as much prep work as you can before so you don’t have a fidgeting crowd and melting ice cream waiting for you. Put the toppings and cookies in plastic containers, ready to be served from. Put plastic spoons in the toppings so little fingers aren’t tempted to just pluck what looks good. Have lots of napkins, paper towels and wet wipes available. Be sure to bring plastic tablecloths. You’re going to need them!
Have a couple of card tables and place everything on them so people can go down them assembly line style. This keeps the line flowing and helps keep everyone cheerful and patient on a hot day. Assign volunteers to go along with the children or they will pile their bowls as high as they can with whatever they see. The potential waste is less of a problem here than the probability of the child becoming very ill from overeating. And guess who has to deal with that?
Be prepared to have fun. This is one of the most popular events we do and we try to do it several times during the long, hot summer. The sticky hugs and kisses are just a bonus!