Kids party planning is becoming more like an art form rather than a way to to keep kids fuelled up for the party. Normal people (including ourselves) go a little strange and spend days perfecting the cake decoration beforehand, only to see it demolished in seconds or ignored by the kids. So what is the ideal party plan and how much food should you allow to keep everyone happy? We give you the definitive guide to perfect kids’ party catering.
Kids’ party food
As a rule of thumb, you should only need to offer about 5 separate dishes but plenty of them.
Cater for 1.5 to 2 pieces per person of each dish over a 2-hour party
Hot food suggestions include:
- sausage rolls
- party pies
- mini pizzas or mini savoury scrolls
- frankfurters or mini sausages in rolls.
Remember: don’t serve the hot food straight from the oven. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before offering to the kids.
Offer cold food on platters or in bowls:
- veggie platter with dip, fruit or fruit skewers (with or without marshmallows)
- cheesy twists with puff pastry
- chips or popcorn
- fairy bread
- little bowls of colourful lollies or marshmallows.
Drink options can include:
- small jugs of water and cups to allow kids to self serve
- juice boxes for parties at the park, or
- a pre pack of 5 litres of water from the supermarket which has a built-in tap.
Parties for kids under 5 will need to cater for parents. Good ideas include a cheese platter, mini pizzas or sausage rolls. Use the same food but ensure you have enough on hand and serve them to the adults separately.
For parties between 11am and 1pm you need to keep in mind that they will eat more than early in the morning or later in the afternoon. You might scale up the volume.
Offering the food on platters allows kids to select their own quantities of items. Offer a combination of fruit, veggies and party food.
Let’s get this party started
Now the catering is sorted, you need to work out how to run the party. A professional party entertainer let me in early on the best timetable for the seamless party. So here it is.
Routine of the party for 2 hour party:
- First 30 minutes: Food
- Next hour: Entertainment
- Final 30 minutes: Cake and party bags.
People have busy lives, so two hours is the perfect length for a party.
The internet has heaps of ideas for themed party games that you can run yourself.
For children under 5, it is best to set up little activities at different ‘stations’ – much like at kinder – where they can move between activities at their own pace. Some food-related activities for younger kids include:
Jelly treasure hunt
Mix up 5–6 litres of jelly (about 12 packets) into a tub and refrigerate to set the day before. On the day, mix up the jelly and bury lolly snakes or jelly frogs into the jelly. Blindfold the kids and have them dig for lolly treasure in the jelly mix. They love the feeling of the jelly in their hands and then lick their hands afterwards. Keep a bucket of water nearby to rinse their hands after dipping in.
Apples or doughnuts on a string
Tie apples or doughnuts on a string from the clothesline and tie kids’ hands behind their backs. First one to eat the food wins.
Egg and spoon races
Hard boil eggs and have egg and spoon races. You can leave one in that’s not cooked for good effect (once!) and then only have a small amount of mess to clean up at the end. You could even get them to decorate their own hard boiled egg before the race.
Go to your local coffee roaster and ask for their coffee sacks to run old-school sack races.