How to Host a Kid's Ice Cream Party

Ice cream is appreciated globally, and in nearly every city there is a local flavor or custom relating to the sweet treat. That's why throwing this kind of party for your child makes perfect sense, especially during these troubled economic times - an ice cream party is inexpensive to hold, and has a mass appeal that cannot be duplicated. Simply put, an ice cream party is a great way for your child to celebrate any special occasion with their friends.


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    Pick a location and set a date. The party's location should be both accessible to most guests and safe for children. Ideally, you will be able to accommodate the party at your own home, but since special circumstances do exist, it is possible to hold the party at a friend or family members home. This will take additional time to arrange - for both you and the homeowner - so communication is a must. If the party won't be at your home, ask the homeowner for permission at least three weeks in advance, to ensure they have no prior plans. As for setting the time, the party should be kept between two and four hours, depending on what other activities you have planned for the children.
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    Make a guest list. Decide how many people your location is capable of holding and then ask the "hosting child" who they want to invite to their party. Since it is more than likely they will want to invite too many children, it will be your job as an adult to filter through the guest list with the child's help. Target for between five and twelve children, depending on the space you have available and how much money you are willing to spend on food.
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    Make or buy the invitations and send them out. Although there are multiple ways to send your invitations, giving your child the invites to hand out is both easy and free. Send out invitations about two weeks before the party. On them, be sure to ask guests to RSVP within the week to either a phone number or through email. This will give parents enough time to see if they are free, but also enough time for you to pick up ingredients.
    • Ask if the child is allergic to anything or has special requirements on the invitations. That way, when your guests RSPV, they can let you know if there is anything special they require such as a dairy-free ice cream or a peanut-free party.
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    Plan other activities for before and after you eat. Ask your child what kinds of games or activities they have in mind. Try to allow for a balanced mixture of downtime and activities, since too much free time can turn into a hassle for the party host. Depending on the time of year, your party could include games such a Hide-and-Go-Seek or Ghosts in the Graveyard. Family-friendly movies are also a great idea, but stick to movies rated G and PG, unless you have parental permission to show PG-13.
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    Make a shopping list. There are a few different "food sections" you'll need to shop for, so use the following list as a very general guide. Customize it based on your preferences and needs. All food besides fresh berries should be picked up about three to four days in advance of the party.
    • Ice Cream. Since this is an ice cream party, having ice cream would definitely be a plus. When calculating how much ice cream you need, allow about two servings of ice cream per child. That equals about a cup of ice cream per kid in attendance. Try to get a diverse variety of ice cream flavors, but don't forget the originals. Purchase vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice creams as your base flavors, but feel free to experiment with new flavors or brands. If there will be any vegetarian guests at the party, make sure that no ice creams contain gelatin. Vegans coming? Plan to buy a bit of dairy-free ice cream, or make your own.
    • Fruit toppings. Who could ever forget the famous cherry on top? Although fresh fruit may have a bit more flavor, it can be pricey, especially when it is out-of-season. Your best bet is to buy mostly frozen fruits that can be thawed out on the day before the party. Buy the fruits that are most compatible with your budget and tastes. These could include cherries, strawberries, banana slices, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
    • Nuts. Although they can be a bit more expensive than traditional ice cream social fare; almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and pecans are all excellent additions to ice cream. Still, it is best to use precautions since people can be highly allergic to them. Even if someone has never experienced a reaction before, it is best to keep the nuts separate from other foods.
    • Cookies, candies, and cereal. Who doesn't enjoy cookie crumbles or their favorite candy bits on a sundae? Have a few different brands of cookies and candies on hand for the children to sprinkle over their ice cream. For a unique twist on the sundae, allow the children to experiment with cereal toppings such as Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Puffs.
    • Sauces and other toppings. Hot fudge, caramel, cherry sauces, and marshmallow fluff all fit into this category. Marshmallow fluff is a fantastic substitution for real marshmallows since most brands don't have gelatin in them, a big "no" for vegetarians.
    • Other snacks. You may decide to throw in a few pizzas or pizza rolls into the oven for the adults, or you might want to leave out a few bags of chips for a salty contrast to the sweet ice cream.
    • Bowls or ice cream cones, napkins, and spoons. Decide if you will be using bowls and spoons from home or if you will be picking up disposable dishes. Reusable items from home are best for the environment, but if you are expecting many guests disposable bowls may be a good option for you. Try to use paper, not Styrofoam or plastic, both of which are non-biodegradable.
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    Decorate your house. Balloons and streamers are an easy and inexpensive way to make the party look festive and exciting. Post a sign outside of your home so people can easily find the party. Add a few balloons and the hosting child's name for a personalized touch.
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    Set the food up about half an hour before guests are expected to eat. You can wait a little longer if the ice cream is already soft.
    • Smash large cookies and candies and put them (and the other ingredients) into bowls with large spoons. This allows the children easy access to their favorite toppings without them having to touch everything with their hands.
    • Make sure that there will be a place for every kid at the table. Lay out their silverware, napkins, and bowls.
    • Heat any hot toppings about ten minutes before you eat, and pour them into small dishes. This allows any sauces to sufficiently cool down enough for safe handling, but still be pliable enough to pour over the ice cream.
    • As stated above, you should make sure you set the nuts away from the other dishes slightly, with their own spoons.


  • Make your own ice cream using fresh fruit, candy, syrup or sauce. Get your guests to make their own.
  • If accommodating vegetarian guests, be wary of candies and ice creams containing gelatin. Watch out for many cereal bars, gummy candies, and marshmallows.
  • When using toppings. Make sure no child or children are allergic to any of the toppings.

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Categories: Parties for Children