Birthday Party Fun: Goodie Bag Alternatives

Birthday Party Fun: Goodie Bag Alternatives
 by: Deborah Shelton

If you’re looking for alternatives to pricey goodie bags, here are a few ideas that will make your guests–and wallet–happy.

Any Fun Party:

Take Polaroid photos of each guest with the birthday child, and decorate cardboard picture frames, or make frames with popsicle sticks.

Dance Party:

Let the birthday child create a mix CD of favorite music. Burn copies for everybody (and play it at the party too!).

Hawaiian Party:

Decorate inexpensive plastic sunglasses with artificial flowers. String together more artificial flowers for one-of- a-kind leis.

Royal Party:

Decorate paper crowns and make scepters from wooden dowels and plastic jewels.

Sleepover Party:

Decorate plastic light-switch plates with stickers. Allow your young guests to embellish white pillowcases with fabric paints for a take-home sleepy surprise.

Spring or Garden Party:

Paint flower pots and include a pack of flower seeds for children to grow at home.

Survivor Party:

Send the children on a scavenger hunt equipped with compasses and trail mixes that they can make before the hunt. The compass will become a new favorite gadget, and the trail mix is a lot healthier that candy treats.

Tea Party:

Let the girls decorate straw hats with artificial flowers, which they can wear for the party, and later take home. Complete the party with candy necklaces.

Have fun!

About The Author

Deborah Shelton the author of “The Five Minute Parent: Fun & Fast Activities for You and Your Little Ones.” Visit Deborah’s website for more family-friendly ideas: http://www.fiveminuteparent.com/. Subscribe to The Five Minute Parent email newsletter.

Ten Easy Steps to Great Kid Party Food

Ten Easy Steps to Great Kid Party Food
 by: Patricia B. Jensen

This simple guide to kid party food turns your kids party into a fun food fest.

Learn what turns kids on when it comes to party fare, and how to make it quick, easy, and impressive.

Ten Easy Steps to Great Kids Party Food will show you how to think like a kid when it comes to celebratory snacking!

1. Make in Advance – Do as much food preparation prior to your party as possible. A variety of kid party food can be made ahead and stored for the big day, such as popcorn balls, jello jigglers, and snack mixes in ziploc bags.

2. Keep it Simple and Fresh – Kids really do know what’s good for them, and will often gravitate to simple healthy foods first. Provide lots of natural choices such as vegetables with cream cheese based dips and salsas, fresh fruit fondue or chocolate dipped strawberries. Bugs on a log (cream-cheese filled celery, topped with raisins), and fish in the stream (cream-cheese filled celery, topped with goldfish crackers) are great healthy options too.

3. Try Quick Favorites – Tried-and-true kid party foods have stood the test of time and many a child’s fickle taste buds. Stick with the originals you can whip up quick, such as pigs in a blanket, nachos, and microwave s’mores.

4. Color and Create – The more colorful it is, the better it will taste! At least kids seem to think so! Let kids color and decorate their own cookies or cupcakes using assorted frostings and food colorings, sprinkles, mini M & M’s, chocolate morsels, gummies, etc.

5. Smooth & Creamy – Arm yourself with a crushed ice maker or blender and you’re ready to try any of these refreshing combinations: smoothies, snow cones, ice cream sodas or milk shakes. Another “smooth and creamy” alternative is to have kids make their own ice cream sundaes or layer fruit and yogurt for easy parfaits.

6. Crisp & Crunchy – Don’t be a slave to unhealthy snacks. Crisp and crunchy goes way beyond potato chips! Experiment with whole wheat crackers, sweet cereals, peanuts (always check for allergies), pretzels, and crunchy snack mixes combining raisins, coconut and other dried fruits for sweetness.

7. Vary Ingredients – Just imagine the many unique sandwiches that can be made just by using different kinds of bread such as English muffins, tacos, pitas, small deli rolls, or tortilla wraps. They same goes for the sweets. Try fruit pops, pudding, cupcakes or mini donuts instead of the traditional cake and ice cream dessert.

8. Proper Presentation – Serve drinks in fancy plastic cocktail glasses, or colorful cups for toddlers. Serve dip in a hollowed-out pumpkin, squash or round bread. Serve chips, pretzels and munchies in themed containers such as disposable foil pie plates for a cowboy party, Chinese noodle boxes for a karate party.

9. Surprise Them! – Kids love surprises and food is no exception. Imagine their delight when they bite into a hamburger with taco filling, or a slice of cake with jello filling. Try hiding a jellybean surprise inside a cupcake, or add a small container of dry ice (with holes punched in it) to your party punch to make a bubbling brew!

10. Stash an Extra Supply – It’s always wise to keep some extra snacks on hand for surprise guests. Siblings may show up uninvited and tax your food reserves, so be prepared!
Copyright 2005 Kids Party Paradise. All Rights Reserved.

About The Author

Patricia B. Jensen is a mother of three and kids party enthusiast. She is the webmaster and owner of Kids-Party-Paradise.com – a complete resource for kids party ideas including invitations, cakes, decorations, games, costumes, favors, and food.

For all the latest party news, read her Kids Party Blog.