The birthday party! The first birthday party you host can be a little nerve wracking in many departments but especially one celebrating a first or second birthday – why? The food adds confusion to an already chaotic atmostphere and sticky messy kids, well, they’re sticky, messy and hyper!
Merge Sugar & Healthy
There’s gotta be a cake but make sure to provide some healthy options too. Pizza is far too common at birthday parties (even for the young ones) so step it up and provide choices to parents with a buffet of things to choose for their own kids. Parents can pick from the buffet for themselves to avoid providing another meal for adults. All things can be prepped in advance so all you need to do is pull it out and eat.
Toddler Birthday Buffet Ideas
• Fruit kabobs or fruit salad
• Birthday muffins like Banana muffins with cream cheese icing
• Bite size veggies stuck with fancy toothpicks for dipping
• Variety of kid friendly dips for those veggies
• Cheese cubes
• Finger friendly fruit – grapes (sliced!), berries, melon balls and apple slices
• Use a cookie cutter for fun shaped fruit or cheese (find a shape that fits your theme!)
• Mini Sandwiches – cheese, cucumber, ham cut into fingers, squares or shapes
• Spinach & Cheese Squares (great for a morning snack)
• Variety of drinks (remember these kids spill, avoid grape juice!)
• Party Meatballs (pop into slow cooker & pull out to eat)
A few other tips to help navigate the food at a Toddler Birthday Party
Skip direct meal times
Plan your party around snacktime and you can skip the lunch chaos plus still make afternoon naptime. Young toddlers are best in the morning, so plan a party when your birthday child is fresh and host it between 10-11:30. Alternatively, hit the 3-4:30 timeslot for the same reasons.
Toddlers won’t want to sit for too long either – which is perfect for a snack session.
Toddler Friendly Eating Space
You’re used to one kid in a high chair, now you have a dozen of them in your home…. Where to contain the crumbs?? Have preschool sized chairs and tables set up (neighbours will lend you extras if you need) or ask guests to bring a booster seat to set up at your regular table.
Check for Allergies
When parents RSVP, double check about allergies and the severity. Often the parent will cater to their own child if an allergy or intolerance is severe (like bring their own gluten-free cupcake) but you should have alternatives on hand.
Forget about the Parents
The stress of planning both an adult and toddler parties with different food choices can drive mom crazy making over-complicated food. The point is to enjoy your child’s party, NOT to deal with serving a bunch of adults. Make it easy by prepping similar (or the same!) food for kids and adults and remind your adult friends it’s a KIDS party and offer your condolences with an adult beverage.
Other than the cake, kids don't care
That's a key lesson to remember. Kids love the theme and fun behind a party but will never remember the food. Even fancy cakes are less impressive to little ones than their own cupcakes. Focus on simple, healthy and variety and you'll have happy little guests!!