Homemade, Kid-Friendly Summer Drink Recipes

Most of the time my kids get two choices for drinks: water or milk.

But in summer, their options open up with juices, lemonade and milkshakes. Lots of outside play and pool time means they’re hot and thirsty. So why not break from routine and cool off with some summertime sips?

Fresh-squeezed lemonade is a fun way to bring the kids into the kitchen. It’s a lesson in how much effort goes into making a seemingly simple drink. Check to see how simple they think it is after they’ve squeezed their 10th lemon.

While grocery shopping with one of my girls, she asked me if we could “please, pretty please” buy some watermelon lemonade she saw near the orange juice. After checking the ingredients, I promised her we could make an even tastier version at home. And we did – that recipe is featured below.

We drink milkshakes year-round – a habit formed when I was trying to get one of my daughters to gain weight. (The adult weight gain was an unwanted side effect.) Our blender stays busy especially in summer when my kids would prefer a shake to any other dessert. I let them choose their favorite ice cream, and we sometimes throw in chocolate chips, strawberries, blueberries and a little vanilla extract before blending with milk.

Fruit-flavored ice pops are another favorite summertime treat. I let the kids make these themselves, and they have fun blending juice with honey, fruit, water or whatever else they decide to mix into a homemade popsicle.

I couldn’t write about summertime drinks without sending some love to all the moms and dads out there, sweating through baseball games, catching their kids down the playground slide and hearing “watch me, watch me,” over and again at the pool. For us, there are iced coffee drinks just as delicious – and much less expensive – than our favorites at Starbucks.

Watermelon Lemonade

  • 4 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water for boiling
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Place the watermelon in a blender, and puree until smooth. Strain through a sieve to remove pulp.

To make simple syrup, bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 3 cups cold water and lemon juice. Add watermelon puree, and gently stir. Serve in ice-filled glasses.

This Southern Living recipe was a favorite of my kids when they were toddlers, and they still ask for it on hot summer nights. It’s also good with an added banana.

Fresh Strawberry Milkshake

  • 8 ounces strawberries, stemmed and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup milk

Blend half of strawberries, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup ice cream and 2 tablespoons milk in blender until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses. Repeat with remaining strawberries, vanilla, ice cream and milk for a total of 4 servings. Serve immediately.

Triple Berry Popsicles

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced with stems removed
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Put sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Set this simple syrup aside.

Combine blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and lemon juice in a blender and puree until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add 1/3 cup simple syrup and blend just until combined. (Save remaining syrup for another use, such as sweetening iced tea.)

Transfer purée to popsicle molds and freeze 4 hours. Insert popsicle sticks and freeze an additional 4 to 6 hours, or until frozen solid.

A friend shared this great coffee with me last summer. She says it’s inspired by the Pioneer Woman’s iced coffee recipe.

Dreamy Iced Coffee

  • 8 ounces ground coffee
  • 4 quarts cold water
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

Place the coffee grounds in a large food-safe container and add the cold water. Mix with a large spoon, then cover and allow to sit overnight at room temperature.

Strain the mixture into a clean container through a fine-mesh sieve that has been lined with two layers of coffee filters. Discard the coffee grounds. Chill mixture until ready to use.

To make the iced coffee, fill a glass with ice and fill it two-thirds full of the chilled coffee concentrate. Sweeten with sweetened condensed milk and half-and-half, if desired.

Categories: Food