It’s summertime, and you know what that means–time for ice cream. Whether you and your kids like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cookie dough or some other flavor entirely, there is a holiday for you. National Ice Cream Day is July 16th, and it’s the perfect excuse to load up on this sweet, chilly treat. We all scream for an ice cream dream and plenty of fun with Fort Magic!
All About National Ice Cream Day
Every year, National Ice Cream Day falls on the third Sunday in July. Historians believe that ice cream started as far back as the second century B.C., though no one knows for sure who invented it or where. We know that Alexander the Great liked to have a bowl of snow sweetened with honey as a treat. Marco Polo brought a recipe that is much like modern-day sherbet back with him to Italy. This recipe evolved over time, and sometime in the 16th century, Europeans (although mostly just the nobility and royalty,) were enjoying what they called “cream ice.”
Until about 1800, ice cream was difficult to make, since ice itself was hard to keep. This meant that only the upper classes had access, except perhaps on special occasions. Around 1800, though, insulated ice houses allowed for keeping ice available year-round. The 1840s brought the invention of small, hand-crank ice cream makers. In 1851, Jacob Fussell of Baltimore, Maryland, built the first ice cream factory. After that, the popularity of ice cream exploded! In the 1870s, soda shops appeared, selling ice cream sodas.
Fun fact: the ice cream sundae started in the late 1890s when religious people criticized others for eating “sinfully” rich ice cream sodas on Sunday. This made the ice cream sellers leave out the fizzy water and invent what we now know as ice cream sundaes! So, now that you know a bit about the history, let’s look at some fun ways to celebrate!
Fun Day with Sundaes!
Of course, one of the easiest ways is to simply indulge and eat ice cream. You can do this by visiting a local ice cream stand, waiting for an ice cream truck to come by, going to your local grocery store and purchasing your favorite flavors or by making your own!
There are recipes available online for every flavor of ice cream imaginable, but here is one that is very easy to make and does not require an ice cream machine. Instead, you just need some plastic freezer bags and basic ingredients.
When you make homemade ice cream, it’s important to do so safely. Many recipes (especially for flavors like French Vanilla,) call for adding raw egg yolks to a custard mixture that may not be cooked. If you want to eliminate the risk of bacteria, find a recipe, like the one linked above, that does not call for eggs. Or, look for one that has you cook the custard before turning it into ice cream. You may also use pasteurized eggs or and egg substitute, but pay attention to any suggestions the recipe has for these substitutions to make sure your ice cream turns out smooth and creamy! If your homemade ice cream needs some troubleshooting, check out this article for some tips on how to fix common ice cream problems.
Once you have your base, stock up on your favorite toppings. Here are some fun ideas:
– Crushed cookies
– Gummy candies
– Whipped cream
– Hot fudge or caramel sauce
– Crushed or small candies
– Chopped nuts
– Sliced fruit or berries
So now you have your ice cream, where should you go? To the fort, of course!
Setting Up a Soda Shop or Sundae Stand
A fun way to incorporate fort building into your National Ice Cream Day celebration is by building a Soda Shop!f Look up pictures of old-fashioned soda shops, build a basic fort and decorate the inside to look like an old shop. Bring in a table and maybe some stools to use as a countertop. Add your ice cream, toppings and dishes. Find recordings of music from the era to set the right tone, then enjoy!
Another option is to build a Sundae Stand! This would be a great alternative to the typical lemonade stand. Build a stand setup for your fort and set it outside where you can sell treats to passers-by. Bring out a cooler full of ice and keep your ice cream inside to prevent it from melting. Use this as an opportunity to teach your kids about setting up a business, including setting the price for their sundaes and designing a sign! Consider donating the money you get from your National Ice Cream Day Sundae Stand to a charity or maybe a food bank in the area.
Hopefully, this has given you plenty of good ideas on how to celebrate National Ice Cream Day. Whether you prefer a bowl, a cone, or a bowl made out of a cone, have a happy National Ice Cream Day, and don’t forget to celebrate!
How will you celebrate National Ice Cream Day and what type of fort will you make to do it? Share your ideas with us below!
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