One of our favorite activities is to invite the kids friends over for a kids cooking party!!! Whether it's an Italian theme, a finger food theme, or even a party centered around a color, such as green, our cooking parties are always a lot of fun! To make sure it's a fun experience for the kids cooking, we'll let you in on six secrets that we use. Ready? Read on!
Secret #1. Pick a theme.
It's important to start out with a kids cooking party theme. Hmmm....if it's summer time, maybe your them is water fun or the sun. In the fall, you might think about leaves, pumpkins or scarecrows. You can choose most any theme! Make sure your invitations, decorations, food, party favors and games all center around your cool theme.
Secret #2. Invite a few kids.
It's tempting to invite lots of kids, especially if you have more than one child who wants to invite friends over. However, to have a successful party, limit the number of kids. How many kids can comfortably cook in your kitchen without bumping elbows or sharing bowls and spoons? With fewer kids, everyone can be given a task--measure, stir, chop, etc. Besides, keeping your number low makes it more manageable for mom and dad.
Secret #3. Make it hands-on cooking.
We LOVE to cook and find that most kids enjoy cooking as well. The key is to be organized ahead of time. Some ingredients you'll want to measure in advance.,or least put into smaller bowls so there's less of a chance for major spills. Have all your bowls, pans, mixing spoons, etc. ready as well. Be enthusiastic about assigning "jobs." Older kids will enjoy measuring, using the mixer and doing some of the stove/oven work, while younger kids will have fun stirring or pouring.
Looking for some recipe ideas? There are lots of great ideas around the web (including our website). When picking a recipe, remember that kids love getting their hands dirty! Making meatballs? Let them use their hands (washed with water and soap first of course) to mix up the meatballs. Using coconut? Let them sprinkle it with their fingers. It's fun!!!
Secret #4. Offer variety.
Even though we like trying new foods and using the herbs from our garden, we know some kids are picky. Food allergies are also common these days, so be sure to check with your guest's moms in advance as to what they can or can't eat. Provide some back-up food as well, a.k.a. 'normal' kids party food (i.e. chicken tenders, chips, fish sticks, corn) just in case a child doesn't want to eat what he/she helped fixed.
Secret #5. Plan alternative activities.
I know it's surprising, but not every child will want to get his hands messy, roll out dough, or decorate cookies--and that's okay--but as the host, you should have a plan ready. Maybe the guest would enjoy setting the table or folding fancy napkins? Plus, while your creations are cooking, the kids will need something to keep them occupied. Board games, crafts or even something like a word search are all great options.
Secret #6. Give goody bags.
Every party should include kids party favors, and the options are endless! When possible, make goody bags that go with your theme. For example, if the theme is summer fun, you might want to use a large plastic glass that has a summer theme on it and fill it with: funky sunglasses, individual packets of lemonade, a crazy straw, stickers with beach items on them, chocolate shells, and a flip-flop keychain. If possible, take pictures while the kids are cooking and slip the picture into a card stock frame that you make in advance. Oh, and of course, each kid needs to take home some of the goodies that he/she helped make!
So there you have it! Our six secrets in making sure that your kids cooking party is a great success!!! Now, we actually have two other little secrets...
1.) Mom's secret: Make cleaning up the kitchen fun! Split the kids into two teams and give each team a list with two or three tasks on it. (Shhhhh!)
2.) Alex and Soph's secret: Begin thinking of other friends who would love to come over and cook. While mom is happy with how well this party went, suggest another party!
Happy kids cooking everyone!!!