Proper planning is the secret of success for children’s parties and will make them fun for you as well as for the young guests.
Organize food, space, and activities well in advance, and enlist help from other parents on party day.
Preparing Fun Food
Children’s party food should be colorful, small mouthfuls. It should encourage children to eat fun, and be good to eat. Keep it simple and more than just sweet foods by making savories healthy, easy to hold in the hand, and in fun shapes and colors to tempt picky eaters.
Making Novelty Cakes
• Using a jelly roll: Cover a ready-made jelly roll with colored, ready-to-use fondant icing that is longer than the roll. Pinch the icing at each end so that it resembles a giant piece of candy. Decorate.
• Cutting blocks: For a young child’s party, make individual cakes by cutting a sponge cake into large cubes and covering it with fondant. Pipe a child’s initial on each piece, and pile up the cakes like toy blocks.
• Making a clock: Pipe a clock on a birthday cake, with the “time” showing the child’s age.
Baking window cookies Roll out firm cookie dough, and cut into shapes, then remove centers with a small cutter. Fill the holes with crushed, clear, hard candies. Bake as usual.
Using Fruit Novelties
Carving Orange Lanterns
Sculpt oranges to look like Halloween lanterns. Slice off the tops, scoop out the flesh and carve faces into the skins. Fill, and replace the tops to serve.
Making traffic lights: Set green, yellow, and red gelatin in clear tumblers. Let each layer set before adding the next.
Creating meringue mice
Make oval meringues, and bake in a cool oven for hours. Stick halved chocolate buttons gently into the meringue for ears, and pipe other details such as eyes.
Serving Hot Foods
Saving time: To make quick, individual pizzas, top English muffins, or plain rolls with savory toppings. Grill.
Making A Tepee
Mold mashed potatoes into a pointed heap on a plate. Pile frankfurters or sausages around the outside of the potatoes to form a decorative tepee shape.
• Choosing a theme: Try a Tex-Mex theme for a teenage party. Serve food such as tacos with fillings, salsas, chili con came, and guacamole.
• Making mini-kebabs: Thread chunks of salami, cheese, cherry tomatoes, and button mushrooms onto bamboo skewers to serve with dips.
• Filling pita bread: Serve burgers in sandwich-sized pita bread. They will be easier and less messy to hold than in burger buns.
• Making iced bananas: Push ice-pop sticks into peeled bananas, and freeze for 30 minutes. Dip in melted chocolate, and roll quickly in dried coconut. Serve while still slightly frozen.
Making Party Drinks
Inventing children’s drinks for parties can be fun, and you can be especially creative with the trimmings. Wherever possible, try to use healthy, nutritious ingredients, such as fresh fruit juices instead of highly sweetened soda, and use fresh fruits for decoration or in ice cubes.
• Adding ice cream: Put scoops of ice cream into fruit juice just before serving. Half-fill glasses with die drink, add ice cream and serve.
• Making lollipops: Freeze fruit juice on lollipop sticks to make drinks on sticks.
• Decorating milkshakes: Sprinkle fruity milkshakes with grated chocolate or rainbow sprinkles.
• Freezing juices: Fill separate ice cube trays with apple, cranberry, and orange juices, and freeze overnight. Put mixed cubes into tall glasses, top off with lemonade, and decorate with fresh fruits.
Using Stick-On shapes
Instead of buying decorated party glasses, attach stick-on shapes to the outside of plain tumblers or plastic cups. Remove all the stickers before washing.
Making “magic” drinks Delight children with this special effect. Freeze chocolate chips for 30 minutes, then add a handful to glasses of lemon-lime soda. The chips will bounce up and down.
Using Food For Party Games
Incorporate fun foods into party games. Plan energetic games, preferably outdoors, before the children eat. Hunting for edible treasure is popular. Use novelty foods for this or for quiet activities after the meal. If the weather is bad, try egg decorating with food markers.
Making Edible Games
Icing domino cookies: Pipe dots of white icing or cream cheese onto rectangular chocolate cookies or graham crackers to make dominoes. Let the children play with the dominoes and then eat them when the game is over.
Baking A Cookie Jigsaw
Roll out plain, firm cookie dough. Cut jigsaw shapes in it. Bake and cool, then decorate with colored icing or food colors. Let the children fit the shapes together before they eat the cookies.
Making Fruit Trees
Encourage small children to eat fruit by making a “tree” for the table. Fill a plant pot with stones, and insert a small branch into it. Hang cherries, or tie other fruits to the branches, for children to pick.
• Apple bobbing: Float some apples in a large bowl or bucket of water. Ask each to try to bite an apple without using hands. The first child to do so wins the game.
• Egg-and-spoon racing: Hold a race with each child carrying a hard-cooked egg in a spoon. The winner is the first to finish without dropping the egg.
• Passing the orange: Form two teams. Put an orange under the chin of each team leader. The winning team is the first to pass the orange along the team line without using hands.
• Playing tic tac toe: Bake bread dough into large Os and Xs. Mark a grid on an old sheet, and lay it down. Let the children place the shapes.