Feeding Products

5 Best Popsicle Molds for Any Budget

Summer is here! If you aren't stocked up with the best popsicle molds yet, check out the list below before you buy. Between the five, there is bound to be one that fits your budget, helps you beat the heat, and out performs store-bought popsicles.  

Why We Make Our Own Popsicles

Even before my husband and I had kids, we could put away some popsicles. I'd buy a box at the store and no matter whether it was summer, winter, spring, or fall, they would disappear within the week. We found them to be a lower-calorie treat to our beloved ice cream, but it was hard to find ones that weren't loaded with added sugar and artificial ingredients. Add to this the expense of easily $4.00 a box, and it just didn't seem like buying popsicles was going to be the best buying decision I could make, with or without kids.

best popsicle molds

Now with kids (one of popsicle-eating age), I cannot imagine buying store-bought popsicles.

A Need for More Natural Ingredients

Many have ingredient lists that make them better left as an occasional purchase from the popsicle man. I want ones that are healthy enough to offer out every day, if this crazy Houston heat+humidity tempts us to. Sure Bugs Bunny with a gumball nose is cute, but I just can't justify that as an option we have around all the time.

My Money isn't Melting Away

When the more natural popsicle options can got for upwards of $1 a piece, it semi stresses out my SAHM soul when I see half that dollar drip down my little's lips and on to the concrete. I want popsicles that are cost-effective enough for my kids to eat and enjoy without a worry in the world. God knows I am too frugal to spend five bucks a box only from most to melt before it makes it in their mouths.

It's Time to Make the Switch to Homemade

Whether you have a crowd of kids requesting popsicles, little hands you don't want covered in drips, or are looking to make popsicles pronto, there are several popsicle molds on the market so that you and your family can enjoy homemade popsicles this summer.

Here are the 5 Best Popsicle Molds for Any Budget

Zoku Quick Pop Mold $$$

Best for: Tweens and older

For his first (un)official Father's Day (while pregnant with our first), I splurged to get my husband a Zoku Quick Pop Mold. I knew he would he would be all about acting as my guinea pig so I could practice some popsicle recipes before we officially became parents. Of all the popsicle molds we have owned, this one was by far the fanciest and thus fastest. For those who find themselves (slash, their kids!) too impatient to wait for a popsicle to freeze, this may be your ticket to a cool summer treat. It is expensive compared to other molds, but if it fits your budget it can be a highly-entertaining and engaging buy. I could see this being an especially fun item for tweens and teens who enjoy the novelty of trendy items like this, make use of special gadgets that can be used for social purposes, and are able to experiment with and independently implement ideas for new recipes.

Groovy Pop Molds $$

Best for: Kids 6+

When I was on the fence about splurging on the Quick Pop mold, mother-in-law found us these Groovy Pop Molds. They seemed sturdy and about the right size to satisfy my husband and his sweet-tooth; however, I have since found tat they melt more quickly than a little kid can eat them. We have tried several recipes in these molds though and continue to have success with everything from more "ice pop," juice-based popsicles to those that are smoothie-like and creamy in consistency. If making popsicles for a younger crowd, I would consider something a bit smaller like any of the following three options.

Silicon Popsicle Molds $

Best for: Preschoolers 3 to 5 years

Last summer, I saw several people sharing their love for these Silicon Popsicle Molds with preschoolers. We decided to give these a try for my daughter and leave above Groovy molds for Daddy-sized popsicles. Because the dripping tends to go back down into the tube instead all over the place, these are a slightly cleaner option. Depending on the age and coordination of your young kids, the design of this can still require a little assistance. We found that for little hands with maturing grasping muscles, it can be hard to keep pushing the popsicle up far enough out of these molds to eat. The best solution I've found for this is to use a chip-clip (with a clothes pin like clamp) at the base of the mold to slowly push the popsicle up a little at a time.

Zoku Mini Molds $$

Best for: Toddlers 18 months to 3 years

If you are wanting a popsicle that your little one can enjoy before it melts, this may be the best option for you. Significantly smaller than others on the market (or listed above), the mini molds are the perfect size for little mouths and little tummies (holds 2-3 ounces each). Toddlers are able to enjoy this popsicle with ease as it isn't as top heavy as ones designed for older kids (like the Groovy ones). Plus, there is the assurance of a small drip guard to help stop them from getting quite so sticky. The silicon mold Zoku brand uses makes removing these small popsicles very simple for popsicles of all consistencies.

Zoku Fish Pop Molds $$

Best for: 18 months to 5 years

These are by far the cutest, most kid-friendly popsicle mold I have found for young ones. If I were starting from scratch on my popsicle mold stash and only buying one product this summer, I would have to say this would be it. Besides "Finding Dory" becoming all the rage with its upcoming release, I have yet to meet a young kid who doesn't adore the design of these. The size is again perfect for small hands, and consistent with the Zoku Mini Molds has a little drip guard juuuuust in case your kid can't eat it quite fast enough. One may worry that the design would be lost when popping these popsicles out; thankfully, this has yet to be an issue thanks to the silicon mold used to make the fish pops.

FREEZE!

Don't buy another box of popsicles before you hop on over to Pinterest to see just how many DIY popsicle recipes are waiting for you and your family. All you do is have to invest in a set of popsicle molds to make this summer the start to something sweet, refreshing, and oh-so-very cool.

How Does Your Family Keep Cool?

Which popsicle molds have become your family's favorite? Do you prefer the simplicity of ice cube tray pops, or has your family fell for one of the more elaborate quick molds on the market? I'd love to hear your insight in case we can find some of your faves as summer clear-out specials!

Lollacup Review


Lollacup Features

When we began introducing sippy cups to our daughter with the end goal of transitioning her off the bottle, I searched all over to find which we some of the most highly rated transitional products on the market. Due to the benefits for speech development and dental health,  I knew I wanted to get our daughter to use a straw cup (versus sippy cup) as early as possible. For this reason, majority of my research rested on cups with a straw and/or more "adult cup" type mouths, rather than those with sippy spouts.

When my mom bought us Claire's first Lollacup, it quickly stood out before the rest. My husband and I were aware of the product because our avid following of the show Shark Tank, but due to the higher price point I had hesitated to purchase this product for our family. I was so grateful we first got to try it as a gift however, because it had us hooked from that point forward!

The Lollacup's 10-ounce cup design was appealing for our daughter's developing hands and mouth due to its removable and yet ergonomic handles and weighted, valve-free straw design. She has consistently favored being able to hold onto the handles and get the last drop out of her Lollacup (due to the straw being both valve-free and weighted). She is so conditioned by these features that she often becomes frustrated now when alternative cups don't give her that same ease and efficiency while drinking!

The easy-to-open and close lid has allowed us to bring the Lollacup with us everywhere without concern for any leaking or spills.  As our daughter has become more independent, she always appreciate being able to open and close the lid (to access the straw) on her own accord, as many alternative cups require parental assistance to do so. The cup itself does not claim to be spill-proof, but we have had much fewer issues (in frequency and magnitude) with the Lollacup spilling (when the lid is left open/straw is out) than less-expensive alternatives that have been left in similar positions.

The Lollacup is easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher. It comes with a brush to clean the straw, but also is simple enough to wash without it since the straw breaks down into two pieces. Dissasembly and reassembly of the Lollacup is much simpler than many of the alternative cups we own and/or have tried.

Lollacup Target Market

Parents of young children who find value investing in fewer, more high-quality children's cups.

The Main Benefit of the Lollacup

My husband and I annually give each other at least one item at Christmas that we loved from the past year's worth of Shark Tank episodes. With him being a business owner and me being a, well, wannabe one, we are suckers for that show! So many of the products that we see featured and try out for ourselves are ones we have actually loved for our family. The Lollacup is no exception!

Out of all the sippy/straw children's cups we own, the Lollacup is by far our favorite as well as our daughter's. It made our daughter's initial transition from bottle to straw cup at 9 months as seamless as I could imagine. It continues to be the most used straw kid's cup we own.

Practical Details for the Lollacup

Price: $16

Where to buyAmazon or on the Lollaland website

Warranty: New and unused items that have not been opened may be exchanged or returned for a refund within 21 days of the date shipped.

Pros and Cons to the Lollacup

Pros:

  • Weighted, valve-free straw design
  • Ergonomic handles; removable as desired/necessary
  • Durable design; does not begin to leak more over time
  • Easy to clean; dishwasher safe
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Does not fit traditional cup-holders on strollers or in backpacks and lunch totes when handles are attached
  • Not 100% spill-proof
  • More expensive product than mainstream straw cups

Alternative Options to the Lollacup

Some of the alternatives in the same retail space of straw cups aimed at children 9-18 months old include the following options. Although some have similar features to the Lollacup, none of the options offer all of the features that the Lollacup does.

ZoLi BOT Straw Sippy Cup ($12): This appears to be the closest competitor to the Lollacup. It has a weighted, valve-free straw as well as a lid on a hinge that a young child could independently open/close. This product also acts as a good transitional cup for infants under one; however, many reviews state it is difficult to clean and not a durable product.
OXO Tot Twist Lid Straw Cup ($8): This cup has non-slip grips along the sides (instead of a handle) as well as a twist lid to expose/hide the straw (valve-free but not weighted). The straw and cup appear easy to clean; however many reviews indicate the valve-free nature of this product also subject it to notable leaking. 
Nuby No-Spill Cup with Flexi Straw ($10): This cup has a valve-straw that is designed for infants over 12 months old, assuming additional transitional will be used beforehand to assist infants with weaning from a bottle to cup. This cup has a straw that is not concealed by a cover, which makes it easy for a child to access but also does not provide protection from contamination and germs when not being used to drink from. This product claims to be spill-proof, but I can say from personal experience that this cup leaks A LOT out of the air hole on the top.
Munchkin Click Lock Flip Straw Cup ($3): This cup is leak-proof due to its valve, but the straw is concealed in a flip lock , which makes this cup more more difficult for younger children to drink from independently and with straw inexperience. This stage of cup is also intended for children 12 months and older, making additional transitional cups necessary for weaning infant from a bottle to cup. Although the straw is concealed within a lock-flip design to limit contamination and leaking, this makes cleaning and assembly more cumbersome.
The First Years Take & Toss Spill-Proof Straw Cups ($3 for 4): These are valve-free but fast-flow (very similar to a standard straw+cup combo). While very economical for older-aged kids, these cups are the most simplistic in design and assume the child has proficiency with both holding a non-spill proof cup (without a handle) and drinking from a fast-flow straw.

My Final Opinion of the Lollacup

If you are open to investing in a more expensive straw-cup, I would argue this one is worth trying. Despite mixed reviews on Amazon, our family has consistently favored the Lollacup for its ease of use to both our daughter (in opening, drinking from, and holding) and ourselves (in assembly, cleaning, and limited spills). I believe the Lollacup's overall design (including it's valve-free straw) was part of the reason my daughter's transition from the bottle to a cup was rather stress-free and seamless. Her continuous use of this cup after infancy has also defended the Lollacup's long-term value, compared to many alternative cups that are phased out with ongoing oral-motor development.

We own two Lollacups and have found them to be durable and desirable options. Although I can't justify owning many more than two Lollacup's due to the price-point they sell for, I appreciate being able to rotate the two cups so we almost always have one clean and available for use.

 

Disclaimer

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