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Ice Cream Lesson for Kids: History & Facts

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Millions of people around the world enjoy cold, creamy ice cream! In this lesson, learn about the history of how this dessert came to be, and how it became one of the top-selling sweets in America.

What Is This Sweet Treat?

Imagine a hot summer day where you have been playing outside. What dessert would help you cool off? Ice cream, of course! You've probably had ice cream many times. But do you know the history behind this popular dessert? Let's find out about this cool treat.

Kids eating ice cream

Ice cream is made from milk or cream. Sugar is added for sweetness, and other ingredients can be included such as fruit or candy. Many types of frozen desserts may seem like ice cream, including frozen yogurt and popsicles. But true ice cream has the key ingredient of milk or cream.

With all of the ingredients combined, the mixture is frozen. An important part of making ice cream is called churning. This is where the ingredients are moved by big paddles or machines so that ice crystals do not form. Churning keeps the ice cream smooth and creamy!

First Types of Ice Cream

Frozen or icy sweets have been around for thousands of years, but the earliest forms of ice cream were very different from the kind we eat today. Many stories have been shared about who may have discovered ice cream, but it's not clear who actually invented it. Some stories include famous historical figures like the explorer Marco Polo and the French Queen Catherine de Medici enjoying frozen treats.

The ancient Greek King Alexander the Great would enjoy icy drinks that were sweetened with honey. There are even parts of the Bible that refer to frozen drinks. It is written that King Solomon would have these drinks during special times of the year.

King Solomon drank sweetened icy drinks thousands of years ago.
Biblical king

Thousands of years later, the recipe was changed to include milk or cream. Only very wealthy people could afford to enjoy ice cream then. But in the 1800s, inventions were made to make it much more affordable and help produce ice cream and keep it cold. Soon, everyone was able to experience ice cream. Now, over one billion gallons of ice cream are made each year, and that's just in America!

History of Ice Cream in America

Ice cream has been popular since America was first founded. You may have heard of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson? They were big fans of ice cream and ate it regularly!

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