During the hot summer months, ice cream is a popular treat. The bar, the cone, the stick, or the sandwich – they’re all a delight to children and adults. In 1984 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July to be National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday as National Ice Cream Day. Here are some activities to celebrate the tasty dessert and elicit some nostalgic family memories associated with a generational favorite – ice cream.

  • Make a batch of homemade ice cream, using a simple recipe that requires no special equipment. Ask: Did your family ever make homemade ice cream using a hand-crank freezer? Did you ever add fresh berries of the season? Share some of your summertime berry-picking adventures.
  • Show an old photograph of children licking ice cream cones. Ask: Why is ice cream one of America’s favorite desserts? What was your favorite ice cream treat as a child? Where do you remember buying ice cream?
  • Define “sweet tooth.” Ask: Did you ever satisfy your sweet tooth cravings with ice cream? What other sweets do you enjoy?
  • Reminisce about the Baskin-Robbins ice cream stores of the 1940s. Remember the “31” flavors and pink spoons? Ask: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Least favorite? Most unusual?
  • Share recollections of working in a soda shop or ice cream parlor. Display an old soda jerk uniform. Make simple white paper hats for your group. Serve ice cream sodas or floats, using tall glasses, soda spoons, and straws.
  • Hold an ice cream taste test, using various brands of the same flavor. Talk about the differences in texture and flavor and vote for a favorite. Or, hold an ice cream flavor-guessing contest.
  • Display vintage ice cream collectibles, such as scoopers, fluted sundae dishes, ice cream molds, or sherbet glasses.
  • Plan an intergenerational ice cream social.
  • Reminisce about one of the sweet sounds of summer: the Good Humor Ice Cream truck with bells and uniformed drivers. Sample a Good Humor Ice Cream Bar.
  • Name some popular ice cream makers, e.g., Ben & Jerry’s, Carvel, Dairy Queen, Good Humor, Haagen-Dazs, Schwan’s, Baskin-Robbins. Ask: Which of these ice creams have you enjoyed? What are the differences between these ice creams? Which do you like best?
  • Sample other types of frozen desserts, such as custard, sherbet, gelato, sorbet, yogurt, granita, or spumoni. Talk about the texture/taste of the treats, compared to regular ice cream.
  • Share memories of 1940s/1950s neighborhood ice cream parlors. Ask: Did you prefer family-owned ice cream parlors to national chains such as Friendly’s? Were the ice cream shops considered social centers in the town? What do you remember about the soda fountain, jukebox, and large booths?
  • Sample soft-serve ice cream and talk about a favorite: Dairy Queen. Ask participants if they enjoyed walking up to the ice cream window and placing their order. Did they prefer the drive-through service?
  • Listen to the song “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream,” by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians.
  • Set up a make-your-own sundae bar, complete with toppings, sauces, syrups, whipped cream, and cherries.


Ice cream is a sweet summer treat, for all ages. Get the scoop with this trivia quiz.

  1. When was the ice cream cone invented? At the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair
  2. Finish this popular ice cream slogan: “What would you do for a ________ Bar?” Klondike
  3. Which flavor of ice cream is the most popular in America? Vanilla
  4. What do we call the person who prepares sodas and ice cream at a soda fountain? Soda jerk
  5. Which ice cream chain is noted for its pink tasting spoon? Baskin-Robbins
  6. What is a double dip? Two dips of ice cream per cone or dish
  7. This special dessert consists of ice cream, sponge cake, and meringue, baked in the oven for several minutes. Baked Alaska
  8. What is Neapolitan ice cream? Brick ice cream in layers of different flavors, usually vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry
  9. What is gelato? Italian-style ice cream
  10. What is the brand name of the first chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream bar (formerly called “I-Scream-Bar”)? Eskimo Pie

“ICE CREAM” written by Sue Hansen. © 2008 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Reprint Policy: To reprint or republish all or portions of this entry, you must acquire written permission and agree to link back to the original source. Please contact us at [email protected] to obtain permission.