Welcome to the third installment of our kid party series! (Read our other posts on easy entertainment and decorating.) Today we’ll be looking at food. What to feed the little people who are zooming around your party, and the easiest way to do it.
As with the decorating and entertainment posts, the goal here is not to go all out. No one gives a damn about Pinterest-friendly labels for cheese cubes. We’re trying to feed children here, not win an Oscar for art direction. So kindly keep those expectations firmly lowered, and check out some guidelines for…
What to Feed Little Kids at a Party!
What’s secretly the easiest? Having the party over lunch or dinner.
Order pizza! Everyone likes it, no utensils required, and you’ll have leftovers for your next post-party meal.
“But what about sides?” you might say. “A vegetable? Something healthy? A salad?”
No. None of that nonsense. These are children. Order and serve the pizza. They’ll be ecstatic. No 4 year-old will eat a veggie tray when there’s pizza in eyesight.
What if it’s not a meal?
Here’s where things get a bit more tricky. But don’t worry friends, it’s like a puzzle. Put things together the right way and it will all fall into place.
1. General guidelines
If you’re sticking to serving snacks there are a few rules that will hold you in good stead:
- Don’t serve anything that requires utensils: little kids eat best with their hands, and it’s one less thing you have to provide.
- Stick to items that are easy to eat: no whole apples.
- Keep it neat: no popsicles, no drippy fruit.
- No choking hazards: no popcorn, no hot dogs, no whole grapes
2. Limit your choices
Children do not care about variety. They don’t care if you cut up red AND green peppers for them. Do yourself a favour and keep it reasonably simple. Here’s my general snack table plan:
You want to serve,
- One fruit: something like cut up oranges, or quartered apples, or berries.
- Something salty: how about plain chips, or mini crackers?
- A vegetable: like bell pepper strips, or baby carrots.
- And a filler! Here you’re just looking to round things out, probably with a carb. Kids like carbs and they’re easy to serve and eat. How about pretzels? Or goldfish crackers? Or those ritz cracker sandwiches?
Now you might look at that list and think that it doesn’t look like a lot of food. Not for a PARTY. And it’s not, but you’re thinking of feeding adults. I promise you, kids don’t care about variety. That’s more than enough!
3. But how MUCH food?
This is the tricky one. Kids don’t eat a lot, but that’s hard to bank on. And you want to offer food to the parents, but they’re not going to take much.
My plan? Estimate as best you can, but estimate on the low side. Keep a couple bags of snacks in reserve (chips or crackers or pretzels) and if food’s running low you can open those bags up as well.
4. And how shall we serve it?
While I am a fan of keeping it simple (you noticed?) it’s nice to have everything laid out easily for little hands, so no one’s scrounging around in a chip bag. This is easy to do at home, but if your party is offsite, you can still put a few small mixing bowls, tupperware or other containers into a bag with your other party supplies and bring them along.
If you want to keep it really simple for little kids to manage, go with snacks that are already single-serving. Things like:
- Put 2 inches of goldfish crackers into the bottom of empty clear plastic cups;
- Serve mini-chip bags, like the kind handed out at Halloween; or
- Serve watermelon, it’s a bit messy, but every piece is pretty much single-serving anyway (I like cutting it into sticks).
5. And for drinks!
We did juice boxes, and a big pitcher of water (with plastic cups). Effective and popular.
Want to win the parents’ hearts and minds? Get someone to hit up the local chain coffee shop. They’ll do you up a big container of coffee with milks, sugars, and cups for all involved. It’s kind of a necessity for survival anyway.
6. What about the cake?
Another day, my friends. But don’t worry, I have firm opinions about that one too.
Party on, folks, party on.