It may be mid-summer, but for many, the hottest days of summer are just beginning. You want the kids to get outdoors and be active, but running around can build up a thirst. Ice pops are a great way to cool off and keep hydrated. Still, with some brands costing nearly $5 for a box of six, store-bought treats can be a pricey option. Luckily, homemade frozen pops are easy to make and the flavor possibilities are almost endless. That’s a win-win for frugal families.
The easiest ice pops to make at home are the old-school version: pouring some juice in a paper cup, covering it with plastic wrap, sticking a popsicle stick in the middle and freezing until solid. Even with these, you can get creative. Try different juices — grape is a go-to standard, but why not strawberry-orange-banana or pomegranate?
You can also fill the cup half-way, freeze, and then fill the remainder of the cup with a different juice, then refreeze for a fun, layered pop. But, if you’re ready to step it up a notch, give the ideas below a try.
When I was a kid, I loved Jello Pudding Pops. They are no longer produced, but I was dying to let my kids enjoy those creamy treats. I gave it a whirl with these basic DIY Pudding Pops, which turned out to be pretty good. Then I decided to experiment a bit more and found lots of options. The yummiest looking are Chocolate Vanilla Swirled Pudding Pops, Salted Caramel Pudding Pops and these Oreo Pudding Pops.
Smoothies are cool and refreshing, but on a hot day, a smoothie Popsicle is even better. Here are few that pass my taste test: Banana Blueberry Smoothie Pops, Green Smoothie Popsicle Rockets or Mango Smoothie Pops. And of course, you can turn any of these smoothies into a Popsicle with a paper cup and a Popsicle stick.
The paper cup/plastic technique described at the top is an simple, inexpensive way to make homemade popsicles, but sometimes you want to change things up with a different shape or package. These Zipzicles are a fun (and cheap) way to make homemade ice pops.
And if your kids complain about handling a cold pop like mine do, I found these inexpensive holders that can be used with store-bought ice pops, too. Or if you’re handy, you can try a DIY version of ice-pop holders. You can get these molds in a traditional or star shape and they’ve received great reviews. And these are perfect for mini pops.