Top Tips for Kids' Parties and Hassle-Free Party Food
We asked popular Mummy foodie influencer, Natalie Hughes at My Foodie Baby, to share her top tips for planning and hosting a children’s party. From choosing a theme to sticking to a budget and creating hassle-free party food, she shares some brilliant ways to help you plan your special day.
Be clear on your budget - creating your little one’s birthday party can easily spiral out of control, there’s so much to consider and it’s very easy to get carried away. Therefore, my first piece of advice is to set a budget!
Break your budget into categories - from tableware to room decorations and party bags, it helps if you breakdown your budget into categories so there are no surprise costs. I like to split mine into:
- Decorations (party decorations, invites, thank you notes and tableware)
- Food (party food & refreshments, sweet treats and gift bags)
- Entertainment (party games, activities, and hired entertainment)
- Birthday presents (guests will come bearing gifts so perhaps you don’t need to go too wild on presents? The memories of a magical party will often last longer than toys)
Let your little one pick the theme - in the past I’ve made the mistake of looking through Pinterest and seeing beautifully curated parties that I want to recreate. I would love a room full of sophisticated rose gold decorations, but I know my 4-year-old would much rather unicorns and rainbows! So let your little one choose the theme that they want at their party. Party Pieces has helpfully curated lots of magical themes, so take a look for some inspiration.
Keep the menu simple - when it comes to creating party food for kids, I make sure it’s fun but I keep it simple. Children don’t get to eat party food every day, so they always get excited when they see the party spread - it really doesn’t need to be anything complicated to keep them happy. I create three or four big platters and then let children pick and choose what they want. Kids are attracted to bright colours and fun, so here are simple ways to make the food feel special:
- Veggies & dips always add lots of colour to a table. A platter of crunchy carrots, cucumber sticks and peppers around a bowl of yummy hummus or guacamole is sure to be a hit
- Use a cookie cutter to create fun shaped sandwiches
- Pop the food on sticks so it’s easy for little hands to pick up, and you don’t need to provide cutlery. I like to make fruit skewers with strawberries, kiwi and melon or a savoury version using mozzarella, tomato and olives
- We all know kids will make a beeline for the cupcakes and sweet treats, so I set up a ‘Dessert Station’ that I bring out once lunch is finished. This can be as simple as a plate of cupcakes or mini bowls of jelly, but you could add a little more fun by creating a ‘pick & mix sweetie station’ or ‘build your own ice cream bar’. Just make sure it’s supervised!
- Most importantly, always choose food that you can make in advance and serve cold. Coordinating a room full of children is hard enough without worrying about oven times
Create a party plan – you may laugh at this but putting together a schedule will make the party run smoothly and ensure your helpers know what they can do to help and when. I block out 20 mins at the midway point for eating (and taking a breather!), and we play a gentle game (like pass the parcel) after lunch. This will (hopefully) help their food settle before they have more time to play.
Have the party bags ready at the end of the party! I like to slip the thank you notes into the party bag and, instead of slicing the birthday cake which is often messy, I add a gingerbread man or cupcake to take home.
I really hope these tips lend a helping hand. Have lots of fun planning your little one’s party and remember, at least you have a whole year before you need to do it all over again!
If you’re looking for simple, tasty and fun recipes that kids love to eat and parents love to cook, then visit @my_foodie_baby