Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Ellie. Ellie Wonders, “Why does the ice cream truck come around?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Ellie!

What’s the best sound you can hear on a hot summer day? For many, it’s the catchy jingle of the ice cream truck as it makes its way down their street. When those tell-tale notes are heard, cries of “Ice cream truck!” fill the air. Children drop whatever they’re doing. Then, they run to the nearest adult to ask for money for a cold treat from the ice cream seller.

What would you order from an ice cream truck? A popsicle? Maybe fudge pop? Eating any cold treat from an ice cream truck is a tradition treasured by many children and adults alike. It helps make summer the WONDERful season that it is!

Of course, all sorts of frozen treats are sold in grocery stores. Many towns also feature specialty shops that serve a wide variety of cold, delicious desserts. So, how did the tradition of the ice cream truck and its driver—the ice cream man—begin?

No one knows for sure who the first ice cream truck driver was, but they may have been an employee of Harry Burt from Youngstown, Ohio. In 1920, Mr. Burt developed frozen ice cream on a stick and called it the Good Humor® bar.

To promote his creation, he used a dozen trucks driven by people in white uniforms. They sold his ice cream bars all over Youngstown. The trucks featured bells the drivers would ring to get people’s attention. The bars became a huge hit.

By the 1950s, ice cream trucks were very popular throughout the United States. Some were used by companies to promote their specific frozen products. Others were private businesses started by entrepreneurs who wanted to sell ice cream.

The first ice cream trucks used huge blocks of dry ice to keep their products cold. Modern trucks feature huge refrigerators that keep the frozen treats nice and cold all day long. They stay cold enough to give you an ice cream headache on a hot day!

Ice cream trucks often travel neighborhoods during the day when kids are outside playing. You’ll also often find them at other places large groups of people tend to gather in the summer. This can include parks, beaches, and sporting events.

Like the bells in the 1920s, today’s ice cream trucks lure customers with familiar, catchy jingles. We often WONDER how the truck driver can stand to listen to the same song all day long! Some popular ice cream truck tunes include Turkey in the Straw, Do Your Ears Hang Low?, Pop Goes the Weasel, The Entertainer, Music Box Dancer, and Camptown Races.

Ice cream trucks usually serve a wide variety of treats. Some of the most popular items include popsicles, snow cones, ice cream sandwiches and soft serve. Some trucks also offer soft drinks, candy, and other snacks.

Have you ever ordered from an ice cream truck? What is your favorite frozen treat? Remember to keep your ears open—you never know when you may hear the jingle of a roaming ice cream truck.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

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