Ice cream is summer’s favorite treat! So why not treat your kids and their friends to a fun ice cream social. Setting up an ice cream bar is super simple, very inexpensive, and lets your guests pick out their favorite things. Plus with so many adorable, easy ice cream crafts and recipes, you can get the whole family involved in planning.

We’ve put together this great step-by-step guide of simple tips, recipes, and idea, so you can host the perfect ice cream social this summer.

Make The Guest List

The first thing you want to do is figure out who should come to your ice cream social. Sit down with your kids and make a list of all their friends they want to come. Don’t forget to invite their parents so they can join the fun. Though it’s affordable to feed dozens of kids at an ice cream social, remember not to invite too many because it could turn out to be a big, sticky mess.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Throwing The Best Ice Cream Social

Prepare Some Fun Invitations

To get everyone excited for your ice cream social, you want to send out some really fun invitations. There are two great ways you can go about inviting people to your ice cream social. The first is with paper invitations. You can buy cute invitations online or at your favorite party store, but since there are so many cute DIY invitations, why not make some with your kids.

Here are three of our favorite and simple DIY invites to get your inspiration flowing:


Printable Ice Cream Party Invitations: Printable ice cream party invitations could not be easier to make. Just print out the free layout of ice scoops, cones, and spoons and then cut and layer the shapes for a clever and personalized invitation.


Ice Cream Cone Invitations: These adorable little invitations look just like ice cream cones. To make them you simply use a printable template on your favorite craft paper then cut them out and tie them together with your favorite ribbon.


DIY Popsicle Invitations: Using paint chips and popsicle sticks, you and your children can make these super cute popsicle invitations. These are extra special because you will handwrite the party details on the back.


The second options is to send out email invitations like these two free ice cream social themed e-vites:

Plan Your Decorations

Once you’ve got the invitations out, it’s time to start planning some really fun decorations. Party stores will have all kinds of things you can use for your ice cream social like pastel streamers, pop-up centerpieces, and ice cream cone door wreaths. Though to add some real charm to your ice cream social, you should check out some fun ice cream DIY decorations. That way, not only will your party be extremely adorable, in the days leading up to the ice cream social you and your children can spend some quality time making fun crafts together.

Here are some fun DIY decoration ideas to get you started:


Ice Cream Cone Bunting:

Simply, print out this easy template. Then cut out the shapes and string them together with yarn. You can hang these buntings anywhere you want to add some extra flair.


Ice Pop Garland:

Using a combination of colored craft paper and popsicle sticks, you can make the cutest ice pop garland with your kids. Just get creative with how you layer the paper and this garland will add a fun pop of color anywhere.


DIY Ice Cream Cone Balloons:

By wrapping craft paper around the base of balloons, you can make some delightful ice cream cone balloons. You can either blow the balloons up yourself and mount them against the wall or buy balloons filled with helium and have them float around your table.


DIY Tissue Paper Ice Cream Cones:

Bunched up tissue paper stuffed in a craft paper cone, makes this the easiest DIY on the list. You can hang these from the ceiling or stick them in vases around the house.


Paper Mache Ice Cream Cones:

These adorably realistic ice cream cones can be made with supplies found around the house. The best part is, you can make these paper mache ice cream cones in any size, shape, or color you want.


Pom Pom And Burlap Ice Cream Cones:

You can scatter these little notions along tables and buffets or give them out as party favors. Either way, these sweet little ice cream cones will add charm to your ice cream social.


Ice Cream Cone Printables:

These welcoming ice cream cone printables could not make an easier decoration. Simply print them out and display them in your favorite frames.


Parfait Bouquet Centerpieces:

By placing pink and white carnations in a classic sundae glass, you can make an adorable centerpiece that looks just like an ice cream parfait. Add a couple of bending straws and a cherry for a more realistic look.


Ice Cream Social Flower Decor:

Another cute tabletop decoration is made by placing flowers inside ice cream cones. The petals of the flowers look just like ice cream.


Ice Cream Cone Button Art:

If you are looking for great way to use all the spare buttons lying around house, this button art ice cream cone is a perfect project. Simply glue the buttons into an ice cream cone shape and then frame your masterpiece.


Pick Out Your Tableware

Though we may be tempted to use all of our own dishes, cups, and silverware. Doing so means we have a lot of cleanup at the end of the night. So instead you should pick up some cute ice cream themed disposable dinnerware. They are cheap and will make cleanup a breeze.

Here are some of our favorite disposable tableware that will fit right into your theme:

Decide How You Will Serve Your Ice Cream

Next you need to figure out how you will serve your ice cream. You should offer a good selection for everyone’s tastes. So make sure you grab bowls, sugar cones, waffle cones, and classic cake cones. If you want to get extra fancy you can dip some of your cones into melted chocolate and sprinkle them with your favorite toppings. You can also make bowls out of chocolate with balloons. You can find the instructions here:

Shop For Toppings

Once you have all your decorations figured out. You’ll need to put together a grocery list and collect all the fun toppings for your ice cream bar.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Throwing The Best Ice Cream Social

Here are some suggestions for great ice cream toppings to get you started:

  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Chopped peanuts, pecans, or walnuts
  • You favorite candies like M&M, gummy bears, and crushed candy bars
  • Chocolate, toffee, or white chocolate chips
  • Fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries, and bananas
  • Granola
  • Crushed cookies like Oreos, chocolate chip cookies, and graham crackers
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Magic Shell syrup
  • Caramel syrup
  • Strawberry syrup
  • Marshmallow syrup
  • Whipped cream
  • Maraschino cherries

You can also get root beer or any other soda flavor for people who want to make ice cream floats. If you are worried about not getting enough toppings or getting the toppings your guests will love, you can always make the toppings bar BYOT (bring your own toppings). If you provide the basics and make your party BYOT, you’ll make sure everyone gets their favorites and you’ll end up having even more toppings.

Pick Your Ice Cream Flavors

You can pick up some of the standard flavors of ice cream at the store like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. However, you should consider investing in an ice cream maker. Ice cream makers come in a range of affordable prices and are so easy to use, that even your children can make ice cream. If you have an ice cream maker you can make your own flavors for a truly unconventional twist on your menu.

Here are some recipes for our favorite ice cream flavors that will be a big hit at any ice cream social:

Cotton Candy Ice Cream:

This delicious ice cream tastes like everyone’s other favorite summer treat. It is especially good covered in strawberry syrup.


Cake Batter Ice Cream:

If you love Cold Stone Creamery’s Cake Batter ice cream, this recipe tastes just like it! Add some sprinkles and it will taste just like Funfetti.


Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream:

Toasted marshmallows are another summer favorite. With this recipe you can bring the taste of the campfire to your ice cream social.


Red Velvet Ice Cream With Cream Cheese Swirl:

Everyone’s favorite flavor of cake as ice cream, what’s not to love? The creamy cream cheese frosting swirl adds an extra burst of flavor.


Easy Nutella Gelato:

To be fair, this decadent recipe is more for the adults. Though the rich flavor of Nutella and thick texture of gelato will have all your guests swooning.


Banana Pudding Ice Cream:

A Pinterest favorite, Banana Pudding ice cream is a delicious treat. Top with a little chocolate syrup and Nilla wafers and you will be as in love with this recipe as everyone else!


Set Up Your Ice Cream Bar

On the day of the party you want to set up your ice cream bar. So pick a table, surround it with your DIY decorations, and then lay out all the toppings, dishes, and spoons. Also make sure you put out plenty of napkins, because kids and ice cream can quickly become a sticky mess. Make sure you make labels for all the toppings so your guests know just what everything is. When serving the ice cream you can either keep it in your freezer or have it out on the table chilled on ice. If you are ambitious and really want to step up your ice cream bar design, you can make an ice cream truck out of cardboard and paint. You can read more about the design here:

Plan Some Fun Games

What party would not be complete without some fun party games? You can play the standard party games like charades, Pictionary, or duck, duck, goose, but why not also incorporate some ice cream themed party games?

We’ve found some really fun ice cream party games that your guests will love:

Pin The Cherry On The Ice Cream Cone:
An ice cream spin on the classic pin the tail on the donkey game. You can make your own or download a free printable.


Printable Ice Cream Coloring Pages:
If you want to keep the kids busy so the adults can get a break, have them color! These adorable printable coloring pages fit right into your ice cream theme and will entertain kids for hours.


Ice Cream Cone Headbands:
These fun headbands are the cutest. Just set up a craft area where kids can make them. The best part is when the party is over they can still wear them!


So if you are looking for a great way to bring your friends together, consider throwing an ice cream social. It’s a cheap and adorable way to celebrate summer. With some great DIY decorations, a fun ice cream bar loaded with goodies, and a few party games, everyone is sure to have a delicious time!