In the heat of the summer, it’s important to drink plenty of liquids. That’s especially so for children as they play in the sun. But water quickly gets boring and kids don’t usually like it anyway. So what can you do to help them, and yourself, stay hydrated this summer?

Here are some ideas:

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  • Puree fruits and freeze them into ice cubes. Use the ice cubes in lemonade or other drinks. Peaches, raspberries, and cherries work well. Strain the fruit puree before freezing to make it smooth.
  • If you don’t want to go to the work of pureeing and straining fruit, use a fruit pancake syrup. We made ice cubes from blue berry syrup and used them in lemonade, as shown in the picture above. Dilute the syrup with two parts water for one part syrup before freezing the ice cubes. Other syrup choicesinclude boysenberry, cherry, raspberry, peach, and strawberry.
  • Add pancake syrup to your lemonade to make cherry lemonade, strawberry lemonade, and so forth.
  • Add fruit juices or fruit syrup to soda water.
  • Add fruit juices or fruit syrup to lemonade.

Still need help? How about trying some of these beverage recipes:

Strawberry Lemonade Slush

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Fresh is always better. If you have a food processor or blender, here is a great way to convert a couple lemons and a tub of strawberries into a wonderful, fresh beverage.



  1. Puree the lemon juice, sugar, and, strawberries together in a blender or food processor. Add the food coloring.
  2. Add the ice cubes one at a time and process until smooth. (If you are using a blender, you can remove the round handle from the lid and drop the ice cubes in the blender one at a time.) Continue adding ice cubes until the mixture is diluted to the desired taste. Add more sugar for a sweeter drink.

Baker’s notes: If you add enough ice you will have a slush. If you desire a more frozen beverage, place the blender jar in the freezer and in a half hour, scrape the forming crystals from the sides. Repeat if desired.

Tropical Breeze Smoothie

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As with all smoothies, this is quick and easy to make. And as with all smoothies, you can vary the quantities of ingredients to fit your taste.



Mix all ingredients together in a blender. Add more honey if desired. You can buy pia colada flavored yogurt in individual serving-sized cups at the grocery.

The Best Strawberry Shake

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What could be better than a tall strawberry shake? You’ll find that you can deliver a better shake than the local car hop. This is a thick strawberry shake made with plump, ripe berries and premium ice cream. It’s topped with sweetened, flavored whipped cream.

The following recipe makes two shakes. So as to not overfill the blender, make a half at a time. 


  • 2 1/2 cups of ripe, fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • about 3 cups premium vanilla ice cream
  • 2/3 cup half and half (or a 50:50 mixture of milk and whipping cream)
  • sweetened whipped cream for topping


  1. Wash, trim, and slice the berries. Sprinkle the sugar on the berries and let them soak at room temperate for two hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Place half the strawberries and half the ice cream in a blender plus half the juice from the berries. Puree until smooth and combined. Add half of the half and half and mix.
  3. Put the shake in a tall, chilled glass while you make the second shake.
  4. Top the shakes with whipped cream and an optional strawberry and serve.
  5. There are some tricks to making a very good strawberryStart with the very best berries. If they are not fully ripe, they won’t be flavorful but if they are starting to get mushy, they may have an off-taste. And put the right amount of berries in the shake. Judge the amount by the color of the shake; it should be a rich but pastel pink. If it’s too light, add more berries.
  6. Taste the shake before you serveIf it does not have enough strawberry taste, add some strawberry flavor.
  7. Before making the shakes, chill the blender and glasses in theIt’s hard to make a thick shake in a warm blender; it melts the ice cream. Your ice cream should be rock hard. (Use an ice cream spade, not scoop, to pry out hard frozen ice cream.) Don’t mix the shake any longer than necessary; the friction from the motor causes heat that will melt the ice cream.

For the whipped cream topping

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (the fat content should be 35% or more)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or other flavor


  1. Chill the cream, the utensils, and bowl that you will be using.
  2. Beat the cream at medium speed until soft peaks
  3. Add the powdered sugar and flavor and continue beating until stiff peaksDo not over whip.

  4. Instead of vanilla, try a different flavor. Strawberry of course works but any of the “warm” flavors willFrench vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel flavors are all good choices. 

Italian Sodas

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Summer Sunrise Soda


Pour sparkling water into tall glass filled with ice. Add Torani syrup and stir well.

Berry Blast Soda


Pour sparkling water into tall glass filled with ice. Add Torani syrup and stir well.

Raspberry Cream Soda


Pour sparkling water into tall glass filled with ice. Add Torani and stir well. Slowly top with milk


Dennis Weaver is the founder of The Prepared Pantry. He is the author of How to Bake, a 318 page book about the art and science of baking. You can download a free copy of How to Bake here.  Kindle, Nook and iPad versions available.