It’s that time of year again when the weather starts to get warmer and you can now start thinking about fun ideas for kids parties that can be executed outside. With all the Fiesta parties, birthday parties, and end of the year parties coming up- what better way to celebrate than with an ice cream sundae bar! (Also a great idea for adult parties- I did this for Stacy’s surprise party last year and it was a hit) The fun thing about an ice cream sundae bar is that it can serve as many different things- dessert, an activity, and a really great visual focal point for your event.
First you have to start with the ice cream. I recommend a flavor that does not have a lot of flavors already in it that would compete with the toppings, for example: chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. If you want to do something a little more creative you could do coconut and theme the toppings around tropical flavors or choose a color and theme everything around that idea. To really elevate my ice cream sundae bars, I make all the toppings and sauces from scratch- which is a lot easier than it sounds. There are a lot of great recipes for hot fudge sauce and caramel sauce available online and these can be made several days in advance and heated up right before your party starts. I also recommend making your own whipped cream which does not take long and tastes way better than the stuff you buy in the can. This can be made a few hours before the party and stored in the refrigerator until right before you start serving the ice cream. I always like to include fruit toppings as well. I make a cooked pineapple topping and strawberry topping that are very simple but very delicious. Depending on the season any kind of berry or tropical fruit would make a great addition to your sauces, even fresh bananas are a great way to incorporate something healthy.
My favorite part is picking the toppings and candy to go with the ice cream sundae bar. This is where you can really create your theme and create something very visually stunning. I like to serve the toppings in vessels that vary in size and height to create a fun look.
Below are some suggestions for topping themes and combinations:
Healthy Theme: Frozen Yogurt- granola, honey, variety of fresh fruit, yogurt covered raisins, toasted almonds, other assorted nuts
Traditional Theme: Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream- assorted sauces, whipped cream, sprinkles, nuts, marshmellows, chocolate chips, variety of fun candy
Tropical Theme: Coconut Ice Cream- Pineapple Compote, Rum Caramel Sauce, Toasted Coconut, Fresh mango, banana chips, macadamia nuts
Pink Theme: Strawberry Ice Cream- strawberry sauce, pink whipped cream, pink sprinkles, cherries, raspberry white chocolate sauce, assorted pink candy
Another thing that you should keep in mind when planning your Ice Cream Sundae bar is table décor. I would recommend using a plastic tablecloth because these can become very messy- even when serving adults. I always like to decorate with fresh flowers that fit the theme of the table. It is also fun to theme the containers to the party. My go to is usually the Chinese food take out containers because they are deep enough that the toppings will not fall out if your guests get over zealous and load up on candy. These can be a great opportunity to get really creative without breaking your budget and at the same time providing an interactive activity for your party guests.
Inspired Occasions was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do an Ice Cream Sundae Bar for the Cast Party for the musical Annie. Below are some pictures of the event.