Fun Frozen Desserts to Make with Kids
Quick and easy rocket pops, frozen bananas, and more frosty treats to make the whole family happy
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Article and featured recipes and photographs by Ashley Strickland Freeman
Summertime is my favorite season. I’m married to a college professor who has summers off from teaching to do field work and research. It’s our family’s opportunity to travel and spend lots of time together. My son and I love cooking together, and the summer is a great time for us to get in the kitchen and work on some culinary projects we may not have bandwidth for during the school year.
When it’s raining outside or we want a break from the heat, we like to whip up some treats to enjoy throughout the week. Ice pops and frozen desserts are easy for kids to put together with a little assistance and supervision, and we often have most of the ingredients on hand. I also like to keep some in the freezer on standby for days when we miss the ice cream truck rolling through the neighborhood.
One treat we love making are Chocolate-Peanut Butter Banana Pops. My kiddo is a banana fiend and has been since he was a tiny guy. These pops are perfect for little hands, and as a bonus, they’re not too big, so there aren’t issues with a crazy sugar rush.
We also love making homemade bomb pops — you know the ones — the red, white, and blue popsicles in the shape of a rocket ship. One of my favorite memories growing up was visiting my grandmother in Washington, D.C. every summer and going to the National Zoo. I would always choose the bomb pop for my zoo treat and try to eat it up as fast as I could before the scorching summer sun caused the whole thing to melt and dribble down my arm. Now whenever I indulge and have an ice pop with my son, I gravitate towards one of those pops like I had as a kid.
If these are sounding like frozen treats your family would love as well, read on to get my recipes and learn just how easy they are to make with kids. Then check out the collection I’ve put together of more family-friendly frozen desserts from Yummly contributors.
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How to make Chocolate-Peanut Butter Banana Pops
As a kid, I remember the magic of Magic Shell — the bottled chocolate topping that transforms as soon as you pour it onto cold ice cream. This first recipe includes instructions for making your own topping. All you need is milk chocolate and some coconut oil.
The trick is to freeze the banana pops for a couple of hours first. Once you give them a dunk in the melted chocolate, the coldness causes the chocolate to harden, creating the perfect chocolate shell coating. A drizzle of melted peanut butter chips provides a canvas and sticking power for the sprinkles your kid will add to the top.
I like to keep these pops on the small side so my son doesn’t go bonkers from the sugar. I buy small to medium bananas and miniature wooden craft sticks. I also make sure to melt the chocolate in a 2-cup glass measuring cup so there’s plenty of room for dipping. This also means there’s leftover melted chocolate and peanut butter. You can pour both onto a parchment paper-lined baking pan and swirl with a toothpick. Pop it in the fridge or freezer, and voila! Chocolate-peanut butter bark.
How to make Red, White, and Blueberry Pops
If summer could be summarized in a handful of flavors, for me it would be watermelon, lemonade, and blueberries. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a wedge of juicy watermelon on a hot summer afternoon or sipping a sweet and tangy lemonade on the porch as a summer storm rolls in. We always kick off the season with a visit to the U-Pick farm for blueberry picking, so for me that’s a key summer flavor too.
I’ve combined all of these flavors in these festive rocket pops that also happen to be super patriotic and great for July 4th. (Keep them in mind for Labor Day and Memorial Day, too.)
You’ll need special rocket-shaped ice pop molds for this recipe. The kit comes with a holder, making freezing super easy. You’ll also get plastic sticks included with the molds. For non-layered ice pops, those are great, but for this recipe you’ll want to use regular wooden craft sticks instead, which are sturdier.
If your child is like mine, the hardest part will be the waiting game. Each layer needs about 2 hours to freeze and set up before you add the next. After the watermelon layer is frozen and you spoon in the lemonade layer, you can add a wrapping of aluminum foil to help the sticks remain in place while the pops freeze.
Once the final blueberry layer is frozen, dunk the mold in warm water for 5 to 10 seconds to allow the pops to release. Unmold the pops and eat immediately, or freeze on a tray until ready to serve. You can easily try different flavor combinations to change things up.
More easy frozen dessert recipes
Looking for additional kid-friendly frozen desserts ideas? From dairy-free frozen desserts to gluten-free frozen desserts, there are plenty more types of frozen desserts recipes to tempt the whole family. Here are some of my favorites.
Banana splits for a crowd have never been easier. Pull out that 9x13-inch casserole dish and get your little kitchen helper to pitch in on the layering fun. A simple crust of crushed vanilla wafers is topped with layers of Neapolitan ice cream, sliced bananas, and whipped topping. Just before serving, kids will love to help drizzle on hot fudge sauce, dust the top with sprinkles, and add maraschino cherries to the top.
Looking for another kid friendly frozen dessert that’ll feed a crowd? This one is also made in a 9x13-inch casserole dish, and the bottom layer happens to be homemade rice cereal treats. Topped with vanilla ice cream, salty peanuts, and chocolate syrup, this one will appeal to the adults, too. Leave one side peanut-free and add sprinkles instead if your kiddo isn’t a fan of nuts.
I love this 4-ingredient recipe for an ice cream base, and just as the name promises, there’s no ice cream maker required. It’s so fun to pretend to be at a gourmet ice cream shop where you can stir in your favorite flavorings. We love crushed Oreos mixed with finely chopped peppermints; pound cake pieces and minced fresh strawberries; and shortbread cookies and a swirl of jarred lemon curd. The possibilities are endless, and your little ones will love to help come up with new flavor combinations.
If you want an easy frozen dessert that’s more on the good-for-you side, try these individually portioned fruit bites. (They can actually double as an easy breakfast.) A granola crust sweetened with peanut butter and honey goes on the bottom, topped with your favorite yogurt and fresh fruit.
Along the same lines as the frozen yogurt bites is this satisfying frosty snack. Topped with dried cranberries, raisins, strawberries, dark chocolate, and shredded coconut, this treat is probably best for older kids or those with sophisticated palates. The great thing about the recipe, though, is that it can be customized to your family’s tastes. Top with mango, blueberries, milk chocolate chips, nuts, or other favorite toppings.
Baby and bridal showers always seem to have the best punches. Inspired by a classic celebration punch, these ice pops combine ginger ale, rainbow sherbet, and fresh raspberries. Just pour them into ice pop molds and freeze.
I remember pudding pops as a kid. Jell-o used to make them, and they were the best, with a silky-smooth texture. These ice pops use pudding mix for the same result. Dotted with chunks of Oreo cookies, they’re are sure to be a hit with the whole family.
If you’re looking to sneak some fruits and veggies into your kids’ desserts, then this recipe is for you. The pops are vibrant and prepared in ice pop pouches just like the ones you probably had at summer camp (although these have much less sugar!).
Rounding up the ice pop collection are these creamy ice pop treats. They also have pudding in the mix along with whipped topping and fresh peaches for a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
I felt like we needed a float in the mix, and this soda fountain favorite is a classic. You’ll top chocolate ice cream with cream soda for a fizzy, frosty treat.
Finally, milkshakes are always a crowd pleaser, and I love this unexpected rendition using blueberry syrup instead of traditional chocolate. Feel free to experiment with other flavors of sundae syrups to change things up.
Keep cooking with your kids
Summer is the perfect time to unleash the kids in the kitchen. Here are plenty more ideas to inspire them!