One of the wonderful results of the popularity of cooking shows in recent years is the growing interest in cooking by children. One of the things kids love to do when they get together plays in the kitchen, as long as the parents are willing to tolerate a little bit of mess! Therefore, it’s no surprise that a cooking-themed birthday party is going to be a lot of fun for your child and his or her fellow chefs-in-training.
The key to hosting a successful cooking party is preparation. The more organized you are, the better the results for the kids and your kitchen!
How to Organize
This party will include a number of cooking activities, including “make your own pizza”, “toss your own salad”, “build your own sundae”, and “decorate your own cupcake”. Before the party, prepare a tray of ingredients for each cooking activity. You should be doing nothing during the party aside from distributing the ingredients, supervising the children as they create their food, and putting the assembled pizzas into the oven.
Cover your work tables with a protective cloth or other covering. Large sheets of brown kraft paper will make clean-up extra easy since you can wrap up the mess and toss it in the trash when done.
Set up a prep station for each child. Make sure they have enough room to work and a chair. Put a name for each child on the back of the chairs, that way there won’t be any confusion which food project belongs to each child if they walk away from the table.
Make sure your ovens are preheated in enough time to be ready for each pizza when they’re ready to be baked. Also, have a baking sheet ready for each pizza that will be made.
One of the great things about this party is that the kids get to eat the food they’ve made!
Cooking the Pizza
The pizzas at this party can be prepared individually or the kids can be organized into teams. You might want to organize teams so that the party will have the excitement of a cooking show competition. If so, be prepared to judge the pizzas as they come out of the oven, and have award certificates for enough categories so that each team wins for something. Categories might include:
- Best vegetarian pizza
- Most creative pizza
- Most artfully arranged pizza
- Best teamwork
- Quickest assembly
- Most thoughtful assembly
Remember, this is all about fun—save the winning and losing awards for sports competition theme parties.
Here are some of the ingredients you might want to have available for the pizzas, have fun with it depending on the food tastes of your child and his or her friends:
- Pizza dough, in portions for individual or team pizzas depending on your plan
- Pizza sauces including marinara and white pizza sauce. You might add a taco sauce for a Mexican theme pizza.
- Grated cheeses such as mozzarella, cheddar, and pepper jack.
- Sliced vegetables like peppers, onions, olives, and tomatoes.
- Pepperoni slices
- Cooked chicken for buffalo chicken pizza.
- Pineapple pieces and ham chunks for Hawaiian pizza.
Green salad with optional toppings and choose your own salad dressings. Kids are very particular about their salad likes and dislikes, so the more they can customize it to their own tastes, the happier they will be. Set out small bowls of toppings including:
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Bacon crumbles
- Cherry tomatoes
- Diced cucumbers
- Sliced olives
- Thin slices of green and red peppers
Let each child choose either an unfrosted vanilla or an unfrosted chocolate cupcake. Next, set them loose to top and decorate them as they wish. Tell the children their cupcakes will be judged on appearance so they aren’t tempted to make a messy pile of sweets that they don’t eat when they’re done! Toppings can be:
- Frosting in a variety of flavors
- Rainbow sprinkles
- Plain chocolate sprinkles
- Licorice laces
- Small candy pieces
- Mini marshmallows
Be sure to put a candle in the birthday boy or girl's cupcake so that everyone can sing Happy Birthday!
DIY Ice Cream Sundaes
Prior to the party, scoop balls of vanilla and chocolate ice cream and freeze them on a cookie sheet so you can serve them quickly. Provide the following ingredients as toppings:
- Whipped cream
- A variety of sauces including chocolate, caramel, and strawberry
- Hot fudge
- Maraschino cherries
- Small chocolate candies
- Gummy candies
- Fresh berries or other fruit
- Small cookies such as graham teddy bears
Party favors that will keep the kids cooking back in their home kitchens are the perfect remembrances of this fun event. Any or all of these would be great to pack into a party bag to send home with the kids.
- Cookie cutters, a small rolling pin, and a cookie baking mix
- A cookbook that has been written for children
- A small cooking apron
- A child size chef’s hat
Package up the cupcakes that the kids decorated during the party in small boxes that have been designed for this purpose and are now readily available at craft stores.