Beat the Heat with a DIY Summer Ice Cream Social

Summer-friendly desserts are light, refreshing, and delicious. That's why my family always turns to ice cream when it's time to wind down from a busy, hot summer day. If you want to get the neighborhood kids, your family, or a group of friends together, a DIY summer ice cream social is a simple idea that everyone can enjoy. With five simple steps you can put together a stress-free gathering that'll delight kids of all ages!

1. Resist the urge to tell everyone the unspecific, "just bring something to share!" Be specific when asking everyone to bring something-what will you do with 5 chocolate sauces? Take personal responsibility for the most important components so that you don't need to worry about a table full of toppings and no ice cream. Don't forget paper products, cups and cones, and toppings galore.

2. Don't go flavor-crazy. Resist the urge to purchase 5-10 different ice cream flavors for your ice cream social. You'll just end up with several untouched tubs of ice cream and some empty tubs that everyone wanted. This is one party where less is more. Stick to a flavor that packs a punch and might meet everyone's needs, like Dreyer's/Edy's® Slow Churned Light Ice Cream , which will appeal to both the chocolate lovers and those who want their toppings to do the talking.

3. Set a simple table. The best ice cream socials I've been to and hosted have been those where ice cream is pre-scooped (you could even scoop the day before the party and stick the bowls back in the freezers to reduce your work on the day of!) and toppings are on their own table. A red and white checked tablecloth and matching bowls add a fun and festive touch to this summer get-together. As an added bonus, you'll have less clean up with paper products.

4. Not every one of your guests will be an ice cream lover (the horrors!), but that doesn't mean that won't enjoy your ice cream social. Consider some non-traditional toppings (freshly sliced fruit and chocolate chip cookies, for instance) that could double as dessert options for those who want to skip the sundaes. Even soda can make an impromptu ice cream float for someone who isn't enamored with toppings.

5. Don't forget the beverages. You'll need a few drinks to wash down those delicious sundaes with. Be sure to have water, milk, lemonade, and some soda for the adults in attendance at your ice cream social.

Content by Kelly Herdrich.