New spin on child birthday parties

August 9th, 2010 11:29pm

Looking for a new spin on kids birthday parties? We’ve got a great idea for you courtesy of Cheryl Tallman of “Fresh Baby”! When her son turned 5, she decided to play off his particular interests and strengths by providing a cooking party for him and his friends! She hosted a 2 1/2 hr party in their kitchen which she entitled “Cooking School for Brilliant Kids.”

Cheryl’s party was complete with disposable chef hats, aprons and a few kid sized cooking utensils which she used in take home gift bags for each child. The recipes were simple consisting of pizzas, green beans, carrot sticks, pigs in blankets (hot dogs rolled and baked in crescent rolls), and home made ice cream. She had her husband do a short little magic show during the baking time (he read up earlier in the week at the library!).

At the end of the party, she took a picture of her “class” and mailed each child a certificate of completion from the “Cooking School for Brilliant Kids” that had their class picture in it! What a fun idea!

As a former Pampered Chef consultant, I actually did many child birthday parties that were a huge success! Sometimes the mothers even tagged along for a brush up on some kid friendly recipes and demos! These types of parties were certainly a departure from the norm and gave each child an opportunity to participate, start good cooking habits, enjoy some great food, and take home not only fun memories but some actual cooking skills and recipes they could use at home!

Some tips for hosting this kind of party:

1) keep it simple!…easy recipes with a short list of ingredients are best. Mix and match things you can cook with things you can serve right away.

2) keep the party list small!…smaller groups definitely work better in this situation. Keep the number of attendees to 5 or 6 depending on the age and maturity of the group. This gives everyone a chance to participate and helps you maintain some order in the kitchen as well as safety.

3) have a time filler to keep kids busy while the food is cooking…in Cheryl’s case, she had her husband prepared with some “magical” interlude but you could have any number of fun party games prepared. Some oldies but goodies are “pin the hat on the chef”, musical chairs at the dinner table, and hot potato.

4) keep mess in mind…remember to prepare an area where you can have everyone gather and be able to see and participate. In Cheryl’s case, she prepared a ping pong table with a themed table cloth and had everyone gather around it.

5) always be safe!…teach the kids good hand washing and surface cleaning habits. Make sure that no child is left unattended around hot surfaces. It is best to leave the oven and stove preparation to the “master chef” (i.e. the adult!).

And probably the most important tip, cater to your childs interests and food preferences so they and their friends can have a great time making cooking memories together!