Birthday Party Ideas for Children

birthday-foodI thought I would try something different for my 3 year old’s birthday party. It was going to be small (just a few children along with the moms) and I didn’t want to spend all morning cooking. I’m always trying to find the balance of making something that tastes good that doesn’t require too much time. Pre-kids, I would not mind spending the time to prep; now it’s not an option.

Since the party was going to be all girls, I thought why not do tea sandwiches? Seems easy enough. I had had a few ideas but when it came down to it, I just went with a simple array that I thought would satisfy everyone:

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • Turkey and Avocado
  • Smoked Salmon, Cucumber and Cream Cheese

I estimated the children would eat about 1/2 sandwich and the moms would eat 1 sandwich. I cut off the crusts and then cut each sandwich into 6ths. Since I made them ahead, I wrapped plastic over and put back in the fridge. It didn’t take long but I couldn’t make too far in advance or the bread would either get dried out or soggy. Oh, and I used a whole grain bread that was quite yummy.

When it was time to serve, I just took them out of the fridge and we were ready to go. Nothing to cook; so easy! I had some carrots, edamame and cucumbers on the side along with snap pea crisps. Although I’d like to think they are a serving of vegetable, when I look at the label I realize it’s more like a potato chip. But, most kids like them so I added it to the mix.

The kids loved the little bite size sandwiches. They all ate a little bit of everything, including the veggies. I’m always amazed what some children will eat if it’s available. And of course, the promise of a flower cupcake afterwards was a good motivation!

If you are looking for something a little different, try the mini sandwiches. It’s very fun. Here are some other ideas you could use for both children and adults:

  • Thinly sliced apple (pour lemon juice over apples to prevent browning) with cream cheese, a sprinkle of bleu cheese and walnuts
  • Thinly sliced apple and Boursin cheese
  • Ham and butter
  • Cucumber and cream cheese
  • Cucumber, butter and watercress (very traditional!)
  • Any kind of salad like tuna, chicken or turkey

The key to a good tea sandwich is something to hold it together like butter, cream cheese or mayo. Make sure the bread is soft but not too much so. The vegetables, like cucumbers, should be thinly sliced. The cucumber should also be peeled. Besides a birthday party, you could also make these sandwiches for brunch or lunch.

Here are some other children’s party food ideas I thought of as well:

  • Crustless quiche in different flavors (see my website for recipe)
  • Mini muffins and fruit
  • Homemade macaroni and cheese (make the cheese sauce ahead, boil the pasta and then toss together). Get the recipe here.
  • Sauteed or grilled chicken tenders or chicken tidbits with a sauce on the side (peanut, honey-mustard or maybe bbq)
  • Chopped Caesar salad with shredded carrots
  • Mini meatballs in tomato sauce (make your own meatballs or use pre-made; simmer in tomato sauce and serve)
  • Grilled chicken sausages with dipping mustards
  • Pumpkin dip (recipe here-thanks Michele!) with apple slices and pretzel sticks
  • Sliced calzones (just rolled up pizza!)

I hope this post offered you some good suggestions. Don’t get too hung up on all of this if you don’t have the time. Most people I talk to feel like they don’t have the ideas…I’m here to help.

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