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Pop Goes Summer!

Ice pops are the perfect summer treat. But who invented them?

A man holds a young girl who holds a popsicle.

Bettmann/Getty Images

Frank Epperson and his granddaughter, Nancy, both loved Popsicles. Frank invented them!

What’s the perfect summer treat? It may just be the ice pop, or Popsicle. An ice pop is cold, refreshing, and a lot easier to make than ice cream. In fact, the very first ice pop was made by accident. And its inventor was 11 years old!

In 1905, a kid from San Francisco, California, named Frank Epperson decided to make himself a soft drink. Back then, soft drinks could be made by mixing a sugary powder with water. Epperson made the drink in a cup, mixing the ingredients together with a wooden stirring stick. At some point, he forgot about it and left it on his porch overnight. 

The next morning, Epperson discovered that the liquid had frozen with the stirring stick inside. Using the stick as a handle, Epperson pulled the whole thing out of the cup and began to lick it. It was a delicious treat! Epperson named his invention the Epsicle. The name was a combination of his last name and the word icicle.

A patent drawing showing liquid in a mold with a stick, a frozen popsicle, and five popsicles in a mold.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

This drawing was part of Frank Epperson’s patent for his frozen treat.

In 1923, Epperson decided to get a patent for the Epsicle. (A patent is a paper from the government that say no one else is allowed to sell a product.) He started making the frozen treats in many different flavors, and his kids loved them. What they didn’t like was the name. Since they called their dad Pop, they called the treats “Popsicles.” And that’s the name we know today!

In 1925, Epperson sold his idea to a company that started selling Popsicles at outdoor amusement parks. Today, Popsicles are sold all over the place—even in grocery stores. People also make their own ice pops, just like Frank Epperson did, back in 1905.


More Summer Stories!

Teens ride a roller coaster with their arms raised.

© Joe McBride—The Image Bank/Getty Images

What was the first roller coaster like? What is a hot dog eating contest? How can you make ice cream at home? You can read about all of this in In the News!

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Did You Know?

Pink frozen substance in plastic cups, each with a stick.

© Arinahabich08/

Many people make popsicles in their own freezers using juice. If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can put the juice in any of these containers. Don’t forget the popsicle sticks!

  • plastic or paper cups
  • a muffin tin
  • an ice cube tray
  • yogurt containers

Summer Fun!

Check out these easy activities you can do on your own or with friends! Be sure to check with an adult before you try any of these.

Blowing Bubbles!

A boy blows bubbles through a wand as kids in the background run through bubbles.

© Seventyfour/

You will need: 

  • a bubble wand. You can buy wands at a toy store or online. Or you can make a wand from a pipe cleaner, a string tied in a loop, or a cookie cutter.
  • ½ cup of dish soap
  • 1½ cups of water


  1. In a bowl, put the dish soap into the water. Stir slowly and carefully. Don’t let any bubbles form.
  2. Add the sugar. Stir again.
  3. Dip the wand into the liquid and blow your bubbles!

Try Tie-Dye

A woman and a girl dying a rolled and banded shirt with tie dyed clothing hanging in the background.

© Six_Characters—E+/Getty Images

If you do this indoors, cover your table with newspapers to protect it. 

You will need:

  • something you can safely dye (like a white T-shirt)
  • a large bowl
  • water
  • white vinegar
  • food coloring (different colors) 
  • plastic water bottles (one for each color)
  • a plastic bag
  • a pair of plastic gloves, if you have them


  1. Put equal amounts of vinegar and water in the bowl. There should be enough liquid to soak your T-shirt.
  2. Soak the T-shirt in the liquid for about an hour. This will keep the dye from washing out of the fabric.
  3. While the shirt is soaking, add ½ cup of water to each plastic bottle. Add 8 drops of food coloring to each bottle. Ask an adult to punch a hole in each bottle cap. Put the caps on the bottles, cover up the holes, and shake the bottles to mix the dye.
  4. Squeeze out the T-shirt until it is damp.
  5. Crumple up the T-shirt and wrap a rubber band around it. Then wrap another rubber band going another way. You can add as many rubber bands as you want. (Between 5 and 8 rubber bands should be enough.)
  6. Put the shirt on a tray. Then squeeze different-colored dyes onto the shirt.
  7. Put the shirt in the plastic bag, and squeeze the air out of the bag before you close it. (If it’s not a ziplock bag, you can twist or fold the top of the bag to close it.) The dye should be set in about 12 hours.
  8. When the dye is set, take the shirt out of the bag and remove the rubber bands.
  9. Rinse the shirt in cold water. 
  10. Open the shirt and see what you made!

Bug Jar Fun!

 © Photographerlondon/

Making a bug jar is a fun way to learn more about the bugs in your backyard or a local park.

You will need:

  • a clean, empty bottle or jar (You can use a large juice bottle with a wide lid or a spaghetti sauce jar. Ask an adult to punch holes in the lid so that the bugs will have plenty of air to breathe.)
  • grass, leaves, or both
  • one or two small sticks
  • a wet paper towel


  1. Gently put the wet paper towel into the jar. Add the leaves, grass, and sticks. 
  2. Go outside and look for a bug or two that you can catch and put into the jar. Look under rocks and on trees. Be sure not to catch a bug that bites or stings. 
  3. Place the lid on the jar. 
  4. Spend some time watching your bugs. If you have a computer or phone, see if you can look up the bug and find out what it is. This will help you learn what the bug eats and where it lives.
  5. After a while, take the jar outside and let your bugs go back to their homes!

Lighting Up the Summer

© AmericanWildlife—Creatas Video/Getty Images

Did you know that some types of fireflies (also called lightning bugs) have lanterns in their bodies? Well, not really. But the bodies of male fireflies actually light up to attract mates! This can be seen on summer nights in the eastern half of the United States.

There’s a lot more to learn about fireflies!

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Word of the Day


Part of speech:



: having or showing an ability to think of new ideas and methods : creative or imaginative

Definitions provided by
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Can you find all the words about summer?


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