The best children's birthday parties have a great theme, lots of activity and are well organized. Planning ahead and good organization are essential when hosting a cooking-themed kid's birthday party. The key components of a cooking-themed party are the preparation and sampling of the food. Keep the recipes simple and kid-friendly, but healthy.
Consider an entree, side dish and dessert. When planning any children's party where food is served, always check ahead about food allergies. A kid-friendly menu may include individual pizzas, vegetable kabobs and cupcakes. You can still serve a traditional birthday cake so that the birthday boy or girl has candles to wish on.
Invitations that resemble recipe cards or chef hats are perfect for a cooking-themed kid's birthday party. The wording can be something like, "Calling all chefs! Please come help us cook up some good eats and lots of fun for Shelby's 11th birthday." Be sure to include on the invitation that the "chefs" will dine on their own creations.
When planning for a party of 12 kids (11 guests plus your birthday child), prepare as many ingredients and supplies as you can ahead of time. Plan to have four workstations with three kids per station. Each station will need one adult to supervise as well. Set out the various ingredients so each workstation has the same amount. Muffin tins work great to hold pizza toppings like green and red peppers, pepperoni and pineapple. These can also hold cupcake toppings like sprinkles, candy bits and colored sugars.
Make pizza dough ahead of time, enough for each guest to create two individual-sized pizzas. This allows for any accidents or mishaps that require replacement dough. If any dough is left over, it can go in the freezer for another day. Other pizza ingredients that can be prepared the day before include the sauce and toppings.
Each cooking station will need parchment paper. Have the kids form their crust on the parchment paper and then add toppings. The parchment will make it easier to move the pizzas onto the baking sheet and into the oven.
Before the party, cut several fresh vegetables into chunks to be assembled on wooden skewers by the kids. Include cherry tomatoes (no need to cut), cucumbers, celery, and red, green and yellow bell peppers. The kids can assemble and eat the kabobs while their pizzas are baking. Provide salad dressings as dipping sauces. You may also want to set out carrot sticks as well.
An alternative side dish is a fruit kabob with chunks of apple, pineapple, strawberries, kiwi and peaches. Low-fat vanilla yogurt is a good dipping sauce for the fruit.
Choose a simple cupcake recipe and plan for a double batch. It's easiest to write out the instructions for the double batch and then divide the amounts by four. This will give each group of kids the correct amount of ingredients and measurements to make one-fourth of a double batch. Print out four sets of directions, one for each station. Provide each station with the needed measuring cups, spoons, bowls and muffin tins.
As the guests arrive for the party, give them each a paper chef's hat to wear. Before the party, put each child's name on the outside brim of the hat. This will be one of the take-home gifts for the guests. Also give each child a paper apron to be decorated with crayons or markers while everyone is arriving and getting settled in. These will be worn during the party and can be party favors as well.
Have your chefs prepare the cupcakes first and bake them while the pizzas are being assembled. They will need time to cool before decorating. You may want to plan a cooking-related game to play with the kids in between making the cupcakes and the pizzas. This will allow you to clean the workstations and get them ready for the pizza making. While the pizzas are baking, have the kids assemble and snack on their kabobs.
Plan for another short game after the kids eat their pizza and kabobs. Follow the game with present opening. After the gifts have been cleared away, bring the kids back to the workstations where you've already set out the baked cupcakes, icing and toppings. Bring out the birthday cake and candles, sing happy birthday and conclude the party with the kids enjoying one of their masterpiece cupcakes. Send them each home with a decorated cupcake to show off their chef skills.
If your child cannot tear himself away from the television when "Bob the Builder" is on, then consider holding a construction-themed birthday party that will let kids play with their hands.
Party food should be the last thing you should stress over when you are planning a kids birthday party. Handling a room full of kids is no small feat, so low-maintenance party food is a must.