One of my best tips for a successful at home birthday bash is to limit the amount of sugar your serve to the pint-sized guests. If you plan to splurge and hold the event at a kiddie gym, zoo or theme restaurant by all means get your money's worth, but at home you and your carpets will thank you for dreaming up snacks that are fun, festive and easy to manage. Here are six ideas geared towards preschoolers:
- Popcorn: Pop up a few bowls of the white stuff and sprinkle with salt. Yes, it will spill a bit, but the vacuum will care of that in a flash. Serve with tiny paper cups for filling to keep messy hands out of the mix. Try BEARITOS Organic No Oil Added Microwave Popcorn, Lightly Salted.
- Chex Mix: I would opt for mixing up your own version rather than buying the prepacked stuff. There is even a recipe contest going on now--go here to vote on the five finalists.
- Pirate's Booty: By no means health food, this is universally appealing to kids. Yes the puffs are all natural and made from rice and corn, but they aren't the same as fresh food. That said, we love Veggie Booty (can't believe there is kale in there). The collection has six flavors in all (we've tested them in this cool pirate chest the company sent over). I suggest the Pirates Booty, 0.5-Ounce Bags (Pack of 60)--use the leftovers in lunch bags.
- Edible arrangements: By all means, you can try a fruit salad on your own, but I love the festive look of these fruity displays. Eating a bunch is much more fun if it comes from Elmo (the one pictured is $59).
- Fun Kabobs: I found a great recipe at Parents.com for Ranch Chicken Kabobs. Its basically a chicken nugget flanked by veggies (because we know if you just stick out broccoli and dip they will get ignored).
- Mini Hot Dogs and Mini Burgers (also called sliders): A no fail winner and easy to grab and go. The Planning with Kids website has good ideas for orchestrating this idea.