Does your son or daughter enjoy spending time in the kitchen preparing food for the family? Maybe you should consider a cooking-themed birthday this year. Including a child in the preparation of cooking satisfies their creative desires and teaches the basic skills for making healthy food. Typically a birthday party includes food, but for a cooking party, the preparation of the food becomes the party theme!
At the beginning of the birthday party, give each guest part of their goodie bag. An inexpensive child’s apron can be found on Oriental Trading (along with some cute chef hats). Give the aprons a personal touch by purchasing iron-on letters to spell out each child’s name.
GET IN THE KITCHEN
Begin with appetizers - Build your own bugs or mosaic peppers! Set up stations with pretzel rods (for logs) and peanut butter (confirm with guests before the party about any food or nut allergies). Let the kids create caterpillars by placing grapes, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, or other small fruits on top of the pretzel rod with the peanut butter. You can even add sugar eyes that can be found in the baking section of the grocery store.
To make the mosaic peppers, cut up green, red, orange, and yellow bell peppers in small pieces. Use a base of crackers spread with cream cheese and let your food artists create delicious masterpieces!
MAIN DISH IDEAS
Cookie cutter pizza - Create your own pizzas with homemade pizza dough. You can either purchase the dough already made or add to the fun by making it from scratch. Let everyone roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters. Spread pizza sauce on top and decorate with cheese, veggies, pepperoni, etc., before putting in the oven. These bite-sized treats will be a hit with any age group!
Desserts - Birthday cake is not for everyone, and it is hard to create as a group. An alternative choice for a sweet sendoff is banana foil packets. Slice open a banana (but leave the peel on) and stuff the peel with mini marshmallows and chocolate. Place the ingredients inside a foil packet and cook at 400°F for five minutes. Carefully remove from peel and serve with ice cream. Yum!
MAKE YOUR OWN GOODIE BAGS
In addition to an apron and a chef’s hat, send each guest home with a meal they can enjoy later on. Purchase Mason jars and provide all the ingredients needed for a particular recipe. Then seal the ingredients and include cooking instructions for the kids to make another day at home. Check out the sidebar for ideas.
Food Pictionary - Make a list of foods like hamburgers, hotdogs, mac ‘n cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, etc., and write each out on a separate index card. Place the index cards in a bowl and let the guests each pick a card. Provide a dry erase board and let players take turns drawing the food from the card they picked while the other partygoers guess what food it is.
Name that Produce - Head to a market to find and purchase some of the most unusual fruits and vegetables. Place these fruits and veggies on a table with a number on each one. Players need to identify the produce from a word bank list. The player who guesses the most correct answers wins a prize.
Taste Test - Play this game blindfolded for an extra element of fun. Give each player a spoon and let them taste each item on the spoon to see if they can identify the food. Try things like applesauce, pumpkin puree, and yogurt or chunkier foods like fruit slices or cookie pieces. Again, confirm with guests before the party about any food or nut allergies.
A Bucket of Fun - Make a large bowl of popcorn and place in the centre of the table. Break the kids up into teams with one player from each team on opposite sides of the table. One person on the team holds a plastic cup on their head while their partner throws popcorn into the cup. Set a time limit - a minute or two and then switch places. Best combined number of popcorn is the winning team. (It’s harder than you think!)
FOOD IN A JAR
A Great Parting Gift
A hot cup of soup is a great way to warm up on a cold day. You can make these ahead for the kids to take home or create them together as a party activity. Attach a note to each that says, “Instant Soup! Just add water.”
Potato Soup (for a one-pint jar)
1 and a 1⁄2 cups instant potato flakes
1 cup powdered milk
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 Tbsp. bacon bits
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. pepper
1⁄2 tsp. dried garlic cloves
Mix all ingredients together and fill the jar. Secure the lid and add the directions around the neck of the jar.
Chicken Noodle Soup (for a one-pint jar)
1 can of chunk chicken (4.5 oz.)
1 cup of cooked pasta of your choice
2 Tbsp. of dehydrated vegetables
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp. rosemary
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. pepper
Fill the jar with spices and vegetables and then add pasta. To complete the jar, include an unopened 4.5 oz. can of chunk chicken and secure to bottom of the jar with string.
Pam is a writer, foodie, and a mom of three. She loves to plan parties of any kind. Follow her on Etsy at Pam’s Party Printables, etsy.com/shop/pamspartyprintables.
Calgary’s Child Magazine © 2023 Calgary’s Child