Birthday Party Foods for Children

by Shelley Frost
Cake is a common option for birthday party food.

Cake is a common option for birthday party food.

Simplicity is key when it comes to kid's birthday party foods. The excitement of the party activities often distracts children from sitting still long enough to eat a meal. Several factors affect your party food plan, including your budget. Catering the party saves you time, but making the food yourself saves on the total cost of the party.

Timing

The scheduling of the party impacts the type of food offered at a children's birthday party. A party that falls during lunch or dinner hours should include some sort of meal for the guests. One way to avoid serving a full meal is to schedule the child's party for mid-morning or mid-afternoon. This allows you to get away with serving a few snacks, along with the cake and ice cream.

Safety Considerations

Because of the potential hazards, the party menu needs to follow certain safety precautions. The age of the kids plays a role in the food selection. For younger kids, the menu should omit foods that present a choking hazard, such as nuts, popcorn and hard food. Food allergies are a potential concern for all age groups. Dairy, nuts, seafood and egg allergies are common and can result in serious side effects. Determine if any of the guests have an allergy when planning the food.

Food Ideas

Pizza is a popular food item for kids. It is easy to serve, whether you make it yourself or order it from a local pizzeria. Another option is to let the kids make their own pizzas, which also serves as a party activity to pass the time. Hot dogs, nachos and sandwiches cut with cookie cutters also work well for the party menu. Snacks, such as pretzels, chips, animal crackers and trail mix satisfy the tendency of young children to graze throughout the party.

Dessert Options

Cake and ice cream represent the classic birthday dessert option for kids' parties. Making your own cake creates a special memory for both you and your child. Cupcakes are increasing in popularity for birthday parties. They are much easier to serve because each child simply grabs a cupcake instead of waiting for you to cut the cake. Sugar cookies offer another alternative. Kids can decorate the cupcakes or cookies themselves during the party as one of the activities.

Presentation

Most kids' birthday parties include a theme. Adding the theme to the party food presentation helps tie all the party elements together. One simple way to tie in the theme is to cover the food table with a themed table covering or centerpiece. Decorative signs with creative names for the food adds to the presentation. For example, you might serve green pasta at an ocean-themed party and call it "seaweed" for a creative tie-in.

About the Author

Shelley Frost started writing professionally in 2007. She specializes in parenting and education topics. Frost gained her experience in various positions in the education field, including classroom teaching and tutoring. She holds a BA in elementary education with a reading endorsement.

Photo Credits

  • the 1st birthday cake image by Igor Groshev from Fotolia.com