When planning a dinner party, deciding on a menu can cause sweaty palms, sleepless nights and nervous stomachs. But when you are planning the menu for your kid’s birthday party, don’t even bat an eyelash. Keep the little rascals busy with games and activities, and they’ll barely notice the food.
Pick a Theme
When you decide on an age-appropriate theme–and something your kid is interested in–the food ideas will start flowing. A Dora the Explorer party elicits thoughts of a Mexican food fest with mini tacos, taquitos and burritos, all of which can be found in the freezer section of your grocery store and thrown in the oven. A baseball party calls for hot dogs, burgers, popcorn and nachos. Cream cheese and pineapple sandwiches would work well with a Sponge Bob party. For a Littlest Pet Shop or Webkinz party, cut out sandwiches in the shape of dog bones. A princess theme screams for finger sandwiches and petit fours.
If you’re sick of the theme scene and just want to party, you have plenty of go-to food choices. Pizza is a no-brainer, as are 5-foot-long subs, sandwiches or even baked casseroles, like lasagna. You might even forget about food altogether and hold your party at a time when a meal is not expected, like 2 to 4:30 p.m. In any case, plan to have snacks on hand throughout the party. Chips, pretzels, cheese and crackers, veggie and fruit trays and, of course, M&Ms are easy choices.
You can work your butt off preparing all the food yourself, but it’s not necessary. You have options. Have it catered. Order in. Or best of all, let the kids make their own food. Provide English muffins or ready-made individual pizza crusts, set out pizza fixings, and let the kids create their own pies. Set out a variety of sandwich meats, bread/rolls, cheese, tomatoes and condiments. Let the kids create their own Dagwoods. Boil a big pot of pasta and set up a pasta bar. The kids will–pardon the pun–eat that up.
Cake is the traditional birthday pinnacle. You can make your own or buy one in any theme, design or shape. But think outside the box (and that doesn’t mean cupcakes). Cheesecake, carrot cake, even pies can all be substituted. If your kid is an ice cream junkie, set up a make-your-own-sundae bar. A tray of birthday donuts might do the trick. Just remember the candles.
While considering your food options, keep in mind any allergies your guests might have. In the invitation, ask parents to contact you with their kids’ food allergies and to offer suggestions of what their children can eat. Have that food available. They may even offer to bring their own food to the party.
- birthday cake image by tuetano from Fotolia.com