Summer is wrought with possibilities for getting to know your neighbors, hanging out with friends, and enjoying tasty summer treats! My favorite summer activity involves all three – old friends, new friends, and really yummy food.
This summer we plan to host a neighborhood ice cream social!
It’s an easy, low-key way of showing hospitality to others; plus, it’s a hit with adults, kids, and even teens! We’ll invite the neighbors we know, the ones we don’t, and throw in a few invites to some other dear friends to join us.
How to Host a Neighborhood Ice Cream Social
There are several ways to get the word out that you have free ice cream! You can use flyers, word of mouth, or really fun invitations. It’s up to you, but the first thing you need to do is get the word out that you’re having an ice cream social!
There really isn’t a lot of decorating you need to do for an ice cream social, but there are some questions you need to ask before your guests arrive.
Where will everyone gather?
- Is there space outside for the party?
- Will you need to rearrange furniture?
How will you serve the ice cream and toppings?
- Do you need an extra table or two?
- Will it be serve yourself buffet style?
- Do you have enough bowls and spoons?
- What about napkins and cups (if serving drinks)?
- How many serving utensils do you need?
Where will everyone sit?
- Do you want to have a designated kids’ area?
- Do you need more tables or chairs?
- Can you ask people to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets?
Will you offer any beverages?
- Will you need pitchers?
- Should you get extra ice?
How can I make my guests feel welcome?
- What little details can I incorporate to help guests feel welcome?
- Can I use little labels for the food and drinks?
- Should I make a simple banner to hang over the buffet table?
- Where will the coats and purses be kept?
Think through the overall flow of the ice cream social for your guests from the time they walk in the door to the time they leave. How can you best organize your home to make them feel most comfortable?
This is the most important part. This is why they showed up. They’re here for some ice cream!
You’ll need to have ice cream on hand at the very least. You can buy some from the store or make your own. Either way is totally acceptable!
If you decide to make your own, here are some of my favorite recipes:
- Vanilla Banana Coconut Ice Cream (using a blender) at Intentional By Grace
- Easy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream @ Raia’s Recipes
- Vanilla Bean Ice Cream @ Gidget Goes Home
- Strawberry Ice Cream @ Passionate Homemaking
- Rich Berry Sherbert @ Gidget Goes Home
- Peach Ice Cream (dairy-free option) @ Recipes to Nourish
- Almund Joye @ Just-Making Noise
- Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream @ Nourishing Simplicity
Although ice cream toppings aren’t essential, they are the extra pizazz that will make your ice cream social extra special and fun.
I recommend having a few toppings of your own available, but this is a good way to get your guests involved. Ask them to bring their favorite ice cream topping to share with everyone.
It’s fun to see what everyone brings, and it ensures you have plenty of toppings.
Here are some ice cream toppings you might want to have on hand:
- Assorted candy
- Cookie crumbles
- Chocolate shavings
- Coconut flakes
- Nuts (peanuts, walnuts, pecans, etc.)
- Crushed peppermint
- Fruit (bananas, berries, cherries, and even dried fruit too)
- Pretzel chunks
- Peanut butter cups
- Cheesecake bites
Be sure to have ice cream cones or bowls for serving!
I like to have a few games, or get to know you questions on hand to help the group get to know one another. Most of the time this will happen organically, but it’s always nice to have a few ideas up your sleeve just in case.
If you’re outside, setting up some yard games like ladder ball, horseshoes, or croquet is a good idea. You can have a bucket of balls, hula hoops, and Frisbees for the children. Additionally, side walk chalk and bubbles can be a lot of fun too depending on the age of the children coming.
If you’re inside, a few decks of cards, children’s books, and blocks will help keep little hands busy while the adults chat or play a game of their own. We also love to have a family-friendly game of charades available that’s fun everyone.
If you’re looking for a way to reach out and be hospitable his summer, then I highly recommend hosting an ice cream social.
What tips would you add for hosting a neighborhood ice cream social? Do you think this is something you would enjoy doing?
About the Author: Leigh Ann’s life goal is to create a home where it is impossible to not think about God. At Intentional By Grace, she blogs about her journey of intentional living in order to make this goal a reality. She loves teaching women how to clear the clutter of their lives so they can ultimately live for Him.