Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning, a top caterer in Stamford, CT, loves kids and enjoys teaching them all about food. They host cooking parties for kids and adults in their commercial kitchen space and they know a thing or two about cooking and partying at the same time. Kids cooking parties have become a super popular birthday party theme, and it’s easy to see why. Children love to be part of the action especially when they get to ‘help out’ in the kitchen. Food is one of life’s pleasures, and preparing it is tons of fun too. Here are some of their top tips for having a fun, interactive party for kids between 6-12 that won’t leave your kitchen looking like a war-zone.
Tip #1: Plan Ahead
If you’re going to have the party at your home, ask a friend, a babysitter, or your spouse to help out and keep the kids entertained between courses and to assist with the clean-up as necessary.
Measure, cut and chop ingredients ahead of time. This will make it easier for the kids to start preparing right away.
Tip # 2: Lay Down the Law!
It’s a party, but there are always rules in the kitchen. Remember to tell the kids to always wash their hands before beginning to work. Kitchens’ can be a dangerous place and so there’s to be no running, jumping or rough-housing while there!
Tip # 3: Keep it Simple
This isn’t the time to teach a Master Class on Boeuf Bourguignon—stick to the simple stuff that kids like. Smoothies are a great option—easy to make and kids love them. Pizza is the perfect party creation, with endless possibilities, along with tacos or fried rice (kids love to stir fry!). Three recipes should be about right! You can decorate your own cupcakes and buy individual cupcake boxes (like this fun, retro one) so the kids can take them home as favors, or they can eat them right away with a scoop of ice cream! It’s also best to keep the guest list small—no more than 4-6 kids, depending on the size of your kitchen.
Tip # 4: Have an Activity Ready When the Kids Arrive
Let’s get this party started with a crafty ‘take home’ project. Have them decorate plain white aprons. Another fun option is to lay out recipe cards and have them decorate the back of them as another take away.
Tip # 5: Build in Time to Eat!
A cooking birthday party should be two hours max, so allot 30 minutes for eating and talking, and extra time if you’ll be opening presents too.
The BEST Strawberry Banana Smoothie Ever!!
Makes one serving
1/2 C Vanilla Yogurt
1 C Frozen Strawberries
1/4 C Orange Juice
1 T Honey
Lay out all of the smoothie ingredients in bowls. Each child can put the ingredients for their individual smoothie in the blender and push the start button! Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until frothy. Serve immediately with a fun and colorful straw.
Veggie Fried Rice
Prepare the rice of your choice according to package instructions before you are ready to create the stir fry. For all the other ingredients, you can prep them in advance and lay out in bowls on the counter for when you’re ready to cook. Assign each child a job (one can pour in the peas, one can stir and break up the rice, one can sprinkle over the cilantro, etc)
3 T Sesame Oil
4 Scallions, sliced thin
1 (1-inch) piece Ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 C Frozen Peas, run under cool water for 2 minutes to thaw
1 Carrot, finely chopped
½ C shelled Edamame
1 C Small Broccoli Florets
2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
3 T Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
1 T Hoisin Sauce
Cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish
Heat a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, pour in the sesame oil. Add the scallions, ginger, and garlic; stir-fry for 1 minute until fragrant. Pour in the eggs and stir-fry until they are cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the veggies and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the ginger from the rice and add the rice to the wok; stir everything together and break up any clumps of rice. Add the soy and hoisin and stir some more. Taste for seasoning and add some salt if needed. Stir in the cilantro leaves and serve.
“Decorate” Your Own Pizza!
We love to ‘play with our food’ and know that kids do too! Pizza made easy starts with pre-made dough! Your fave pizza place will gladly sell you their dough.
Pizza dough for one large pizza will equal two kids’ pies. Cut in half to create two dough balls
2 qt Pizza Sauce (You can pick up some store bought or make your favorite recipe ahead of time.)
8 C Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1 6 oz package sliced Pepperoni
4 C Yellow Peppers, sliced thinly
8 Large Meatballs, sliced
2 C Black Olives, sliced
1 14 oz can Artichoke Hearts, cut into quarters
½ lb Bacon (pre-cook and cut into 1 inch slices)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and bake for 12 minutes til bubbly and golden brown.
Let each child flatten theirs to create the crust. Add sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and decorate with their favorite toppings.