Play With Food

By Kristen Castillo

September 7, 2017 5 min read

Kids love holidays even more than adults do. So why not let the kiddos host holiday celebrations of their own?

"When a kid hosts his or her own party, they have more of a sense of ownership," says blogger Tangela Walker-Craft of Simply Necessary Inc. "If a child hosts his or her own party, they know they are responsible for preparing for the party, making sure it goes smoothly and cleaning up after the party."

Here's what you need to know to help your little party-planners throw a memorable get together.

*Guest List

Don't overthink this one. Invite friends and family to join the festivities. Just make sure you'll have enough seating, food and activities for each guest.

Walker-Craft advises matching the child's age to the guest count. "If the child is eight, a good number of guests would be eight," she says. "If he or she is 12, there should be no more than 12 guests."

*Food

When it comes to food, always ask parents about food allergies.

"See it through the eyes of the guest, not hostess," says blogger Melinda Machado Caldwell of Home Made Interest.

Keep the menu simple. Finger foods -- such as sandwiches, pretzels, crackers and chopped fruits and veggies -- are always a good idea.

"Make sure the food and drinks are kid friendly; everything served should appeal to a child's taste buds," says Walker-Craft.

Walker-Craft recommends making do-it-yourself personal pizzas.

Use flour tortillas as the base, and give kids a choice of toppings: marinara sauce, barbecue sauce, olives, peppers, sausage, bacon and cheddar or mozzarella cheeses. Feel free to get creative. An adult can then take the pizzas and bake them to order.

For dessert, Caldwell recommends creating a sweets bar for the kids to make their own treats.

*Moose Munch

Caldwell outlines this fun activity, which turns regular old pudding cups into cute little moose.

--First, the kids need to decorate their pudding cup to resemble a moose. Caldwell has templates on her blog for creating moose antlers and moose faces. Print those templates and have them ready for the kids to assemble. Partygoers can use glue dots to attach the antlers, faces and googly eyes to their pudding cups.

--Provide ramekins filled with toppings such as Nilla Wafers, Nutter Butters, crumbled Chips Ahoy cookies and Oreos, Crunch 'n Munch and Poppycock.

--Let each child mix his or her choice of toppings into a store-bought plastic pudding cup.

Holiday parties are also a great opportunity to get children excited about crafting.

"My grandmother always said it's best to keep small hands busy," says Shelley Grieshop, a creative writer for Totally Promotional, who recommends parents help kids make "Smiling Snowman" cups.

"These can be filled with treats and taken home by guests as party favors," she explains.

*Smiling Snowman Cups

--Pick up plastic foam cups that come with lids, such as the kind used for to-go soups and coffee.

--Fill the cups with treats and tightly seal lids.

--Use a small, round sponge and pink paint to give the snowman rosy cheeks.

--Punch holes from black construction paper to make the eyes.

--Use a thin paintbrush and black paint for the line of the mouth.

--Cut a small triangle from a sheet of thick orange felt and glue it to the face to make the nose.

*Farewell

Lastly, set limits on the celebration.

"Don't allow the party to go on for too long," says Walker-Craft.

Decide the time frame ahead of time and let parents know. Typically, a party lasting a few hours will be adequate. Remember, kids can have fun without your having to host an all-night party. Just be sure the kids and parents know what time the party ends.

As the party winds down, thank guests for attending and encourage the kids to clean up. Don't be surprised if they already start asking when they can have another get together.

Machado Caldwell says that when kids host their own holiday party, they develop a sense of pride. "Ultimately, they will appreciate you more after seeing everything that goes into throwing a party," she says.

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