Kids Party Idea - Have Them Cook
Kids love food and many of them also love to cook! This is such fun for the kids and for you as the parent as well. Not only can this teach them some important life skills to work their way around the kitchen, but it is also a great way to invite others over. If you want a fun and memorable theme for a party, then let them cook! So long as they are the right age and you come up with a delectable treat that is easy enough to make, the kids will love them. You as the parent get to use this as a fun and delicious activity.
The most important part of a kids cooking party is getting everything prepared. You will likely have to do the chopping the night before as you don't want to leave that much work for them. You want them to feel involved and let them create their own culinary masterpiece, but you do want to do some of the preparation work ahead of time to make it easy and enjoyable.
You also want to be sure that each child gets their own little station that they can put things together and get everything ready to cook. Divide the ingredients and the supplies into equal parts so that each child has what they need to create. Then set up little stations, one to three kids per group of ingredients. When all is ready, have everybody wash their hands, go to their assigned chairs, and discuss what they are going to make, and how to make it. Make the first dish, then have them begin!
Here's a couple ideas for dishes:
A Cheesy Pizza Party
What kid doesn't love pizza? (Well, okay, my eldest doesn't for some reason, and she's half Italian!) Okay, most kids love pizza, and this means that it works well as the central theme of a party, and after it's been in the oven, they can all eat their delectable masterpieces!
First, heat your oven to 450 degrees. While that's warming up, give them each their own blob of dough - enough for a six inch pizza. Let them roll it out and stretch it to get it just right for the toppings. Let them have their practice with the rolling pin and feel the dough so that they get a feeling for the texture. Place it on a parchment baking sheet and cut around the edges.
Next, give each of them a dollop of tomato sauce, just to their liking. have them use the bottom of a spoon to spread it around. Then comes the cheese to sprinkle on. Give them loads of different toppings to play with and use, and encourage them to have fun with it, such as making a smiley face or a picture with the toppings. Offer up favorites like pepperoni, ham, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and throw in some different things like olives, carrots and spinach.
When done, each child will carefully move their pizza to a cookie sheet you will have on the table (or you can do this yourself to minimize accidents. Once all are done, place the cookie sheet (or two) in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. If using two, switch the cookie sheets half way through so all are evenly cooked.
When they come out, wait five minutes to cool, and then it's time to smell, eat, and enjoy! Get pictures of their little pizzas and the fun that they had putting them together.
Pasta, Pasta, Everywhere
Kids love spaghetti because it's such fun to eat and yet so yummy too! So if you want to get them set up for some culinary fun, let them make their own delicious pasta dish. You can let the kids take turns at throwing different types of noodles into a mixing bowl (or directly into a pot of boiling water if they are older - but supervise with care.) You can prepare the sauce ahead of time but let them take turns at stirring it and seeing it bubble.
First, set up a fun pasta bar where they can create their own yummy pasta dish. Have out a couple sauces such as marinara, meat sauce, and Alfredo to please any taste (maximum four). Then offer up four different types of noodles like long angel hair, curly rotini, fun bowties and familiar macaroni. Record which child wants which pasta and sauce. Using all four elements on your stove, use four pots to boil all the chosen noodles.
Once the pasta is ready, serve them in dishes. Swap out the noodles for the sauces and heat them up (not too hot!) While you're doing that, have the kids put on their own toppings such as olives, meat crumbles, veggies like peppers and carrots, and of course a couple types of cheese. Then mix with a scoop of warm sauce and "ciao" down! A pasta party is sure to please!
Create Your Own Cupcake
Kids love to bake, and this is an easy theme for a cooking party. Prepare three or so cake mixes in advance. Let each child spoon in their own flavor of cake mix into their own liner. Each child gets a turn at this, and mark or note which cupcake is theirs. If the party is small (four kids), offer two or three cupcakes per person. Offer up chocolate, vanilla, and a fun one like Pillsbury Funfetti for variety and to please all tastes.
Let the kids watch as the cupcakes bake up to perfection in the oven (offer some activities while they are baking.) Once the little gems are done and have cooled, it's time to decorate their own cupcakes! Have out frostings in varieties like chocolate, white, strawberry, and Funfetti. Put out sprinkles, candies, sparkles, and gel frosting that they can write on the cupcake with. This is delicious, super easy and they will love to create their own tasty cupcake!
Take It to the Kitchen Classroom
Sometimes letting the kids go right to a classroom works best, and cooking is no different. Let the kids learn how to cook in a fun and organized classroom made for this. You can find a local cooking school, a health store that specializes in this, or even a food preparation business that will allow a children's class. Just be sure that the organizer and instructor is well versed in dealing with and teaching children.
Choose a dish that's easy enough for them to cook and one that appeals to even the pickiest kid. Try for a chicken dish, pizza or a hamburger if the owner can accommodate that. Then, on your party invitations let everybody know what is going on and where it will be held, and to wear old clothing in case of messes. The business owner will likely introduce your little guests to the food and the instructions, and all you have to do is supply the decorations and the birthday cake. Let the cooking fun begin!
Chris is a father of two girls, and just recently hosted an Elmo birthday party for his youngest - mainly because she has seven stuffed Elmo toys, and if she had her way, they would all be in the crib with her. His eldest will have a cooking party with a group of kindergarten friends in a couple months (hopefully by then she'll like pizza again!) He is publisher of Themeaparty.com, a party idea website and blog.