I think one of the most daunting things for parents when it comes to planning and organising their kids theme party, is the party food.
Firstly, the most important thing to remember when planning and organising your kids party food, is to not stress out as you need not be an amazing cook. You will find on the party day that food is not the focus, because kids are much more interested in just having fun and playing the party games and activities.
However, to make your kids party food a huge success, there are a few things to consider.
1) Deciding the Kids Party Menu
The time of day your kids party is being held and your party guests, can help determine the type and quantity of kids party food you serve. Lunch and dinner parties will require more substantial food menus, but snacks will be fine if the party is at other times of the day. If guests’ parents are invited to stay at the party, it’s a good idea to have some suitable food for the adult guests as well as some extra food stored away just in case.
Do not forget to check with parents whether any of your little guests have food allergies, that way you can cater your child’s party accordingly and avoid anything bad happening on the party day.
Remember to also ask your child what food and drinks he/she would like served at the party, as it makes your child feel very special that they are actually helping you plan their party.
To make life easier for you, plan a simple kids party menu that your party guests will still be able to enjoy. Try to have a variety of savoury food and sweet treats, and include in your menu familiar party favourites that are child friendly, quick and easy to prepare.
Some examples of popular kids party food include chicken nuggets, fish fingers, hot dogs, mini hamburgers, pizzas, wraps, sandwiches, fairy bread, chicken wings, pigs in a blanket, lasagna, spaghetti Bolognese, mini pies and sausage rolls, nachos, French fries, potato wedges, popcorn, potato chips, pretzels, jelly etc.
Children also enjoy other healthy food such as strips of carrot, cucumber and celery, cherry tomatoes, cocktail franks, cheese cubes, crackers and creamy cheese dips, as well as fresh fruits. Many kids are fussy eaters so they’ll probably like these more than any gourmet food that you may have to slave for hours in the kitchen to make.
All kids love sweet treats but try not to overdo it otherwise you will have some very hyperactive children running around at your kids theme party! Favourites such as cupcakes, cake-pops, biscuits, lollipops, chocolates and lollies are highly sought after by kids, but something that both adults and children really look forward to at a party is the cake. You can either bake or buy your kids party cake. Whichever options you choose try to match the cake to your kids party theme. Go online to find some inspirational ideas for cake decorations.
If you plan to bake the cake or make your own cupcakes, cake-pops, biscuits etc., make them a day or two before the party so that you have plenty of time to bake and decorate to your heart’s content, creating a masterpiece for your child’s party! Get your child to help out for added fun and it’s fantastic to have a few friends or family members over to help as well. Remember to store them properly though so that they will remain fresh for the party day.
When ordering a cake from a bakery, most places usually like at least 2 weeks notice. Lately though quite a few popular specialist cake places actually request a few months notice, hence make an early booking so as to not miss out. Also, order the cake to be picked up the day before the party so that you have one less thing to do on the party day. When you pick the cake up, ask the bakery for proper storage instructions, again so that it will remain fresh for the day of the party.
For kids party drinks you can serve juices, cordial, soft drinks, water, milkshakes, fruit smoothies etc. You can even make fruit punch a few days in advance and freeze them as ice-cubes. Then on the party day all you need to do is add some fresh fruits to the gradually melting ice-cubes of punch in a punch bowl.
2) Keep the Kids Party Food and Its Presentation Related to Your Kids Party Theme
When planning the kids party menu try to incorporate the party theme you have chosen, so that everything fits in perfectly with the theme. Decorate cupcakes, cake-pops and biscuits according to the theme. Use cookie cutters to cut sandwiches, fairy bread, pizza etc. into fun shapes that match the theme eg. Dinosaur shapes for a Dinosaur Theme Party, Tiaras for a Princess Theme Party etc.
Also, set out the kids party food on serving ware that matches the party theme and put a theme twist to the food name when labelling each of your dishes eg. place chicken nuggets in a treasure chest and call them “Golden Nuggets” for a Pirate Theme Party, use toothpicks (remember to break off the sharp ends to make them more blunt) to pin four round slices of either carrot or cucumber to the sides of hotdogs to turn them into “Hot Rods” for a Cars Theme Party etc.
In addition, set up a cake and present table with your kids party theme in mind, and this will be the focal point of your child’s party. Balloons, tablecloths, pom poms, lanterns etc. are fantastic when it comes to helping you set the theme.
3) How to Save Money and/or Time With Your Kids Party Food
Think about what kids party food you can make from scratch quickly and easily yourself. This is because anything that can be home made, will save you a lot of money.
If you decide to make all or most of the party food yourself, what ever you are able to prepare prior to the day of the party, do so. Freeze, refrigerate or store appropriately whatever you’ve prepared in advance, so that on the party day all you need to do is quickly cook, re-heat or simply just serve. The less you have to do on the party day, means less stress and more time for you to relax, enjoy and have fun with your child and guests.
However, if you are short of time, you can also purchase ready made and/or frozen party food from the supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants etc. that you can quickly whip up or just serve on the day of the party. Place your orders at bakeries and restaurants in advance so that you can either organise pick up or home delivery for the party day (ask a friend or family member to help you with the pick ups).
If you have no time whatsoever, you can even get the whole party catered and even have waiters and waitresses serve the food and drinks for you. I was so surprised when I found out how really affordable this option is. Just go online and search your local area for caterers and wait staff, and get a few quotes. You will probably be as surprised as I was. This option definitely takes all the hassles and stress out of the food aspect of your kids theme party. You can also ask them the cost of clearing up during and after the party. You will then have lots of time to relax and enjoy before, during and after the party, as there won’t be much cleaning up leftover for you to do.
In conclusion, if you decide on the kids party menu early, work out a shopping list, get all that you need and prepare as much as you can in advance, then planning and organising the kids party food for your kids theme party will be a total breeze and a lot of fun too.