Party and costume experts Partylicious know what it takes to throw a good party. We ask for their advice on food choices that will entertain the kids.
Kids’ birthday parties are special opportunities to lavish attention on your little ones. But in reality, most children are pleased with the simple things, especially when it comes to the birthday menu. Start with some dry snacks and a fruit juice to make them feel welcome. Children do well with finger-foods, so lay out some popcorn, nachos, and pretzels. Well-presented lollipops can be a huge hit while the kids are trying to warm up to the new environment.
Stick to the classics such as burgers, baked chicken tenders, couscous salads, falafel, pasta and mini pizzas. Chopped-up vegetables like carrots, celery, broccoli and tomatoes are often big winners at birthday parties. Providing colourful and tasty dips with vegetable crudités is a great way of sneaking some nutrition into little party goers.
Assemble handy kebabs for your little guests. Depending on their age, you can use skewers, coffee stirrers or popsicle sticks. Combinations like cheese and shrimp and tomato and cucumber are instant hits. Sweet assemblies like pineapple, cantaloupe and watermelon also work wonders. Buy thin breadsticks, slather one end with cream cheese, then wrap a thin slice of turkey or other deli meat around it; and the parents will thank you for keeping their child’s protein needs in mind!
Make ordinary sandwiches fun, by cutting them with cookie cutters while slightly older children are sure to like digging into a three-tier club submarine with a variety of fillings.
Chocolate fountains can really create a lasting memory at your child’s party. A good way of getting some healthy fruits included is by adding a marshmallow to your fruit skewer and placing it next to the fountain. You could easily rent one of these for the party or invest in your own. Mini cupcakes are well-received, easy to distribute around the table and don’t require any cutting. Bringing along a plain batch and letting kids ice and decorate their own is a brilliant party activity to keep them happy and busy for a little while.
Make cutlery fun
Children are all about colour and patterns. So don’t bore them with regular cutler and crockery. Serve party food in colourful dishes on a patterned tablecloth, perhaps with a creative garnish to make it extra-special for your guests.
Remember to account for possible food wastage and order for 10 percent fewer guests than you have on your list. With fussy eaters and last minute drop-outs, you can expect to still have plenty to fill out a couple of doggy bags. Kids love to take something back for themselves or to share with their siblings. Instead of a big bunch of random candy, make sure you balance the treats between a cookie pack, a savoury snack and some good quality candy like natural jelly treats, mints and a nut-free chocolate. Ask parents ahead of time whether their children have any food allergies or intolerances, and plan your menu accordingly.
Big blowout cake
The birthday cake is the hero of the moment. A big birthday cake will allow for a more dramatic blow-out-the-candles moment. With animation capturing the minds of our mini adults, theme cakes are very popular with Barney, Elmo and Princess Elsa ruling the party scene. Any upmarket bakery will spoil your child for choices. You could also ask your local bakery about a cake featuring your baby’s photo! And if you have some baking skills, make your own cake and get the birthday boy or girl to lend you a hand.
Partylicious, the UAE’s favourite specialty party and costume concept, offers a range of party ideas, disposable cutlery, decorations, party favours and costumes for children. 10am - 7:30pm, Zaks Al Barsha, behind The Change Initiative (04 3792575), Zaks Motor City, Control Tower (04 3629975), Zaks Uptown Mirdif Mall (04 2847384), www.partylicious-me.com.