Make Your Own Meal Party!

By Laurie Evans

You’re making that checklist for your child’s birthday and you start to panic as you realize you’ve got to find a location, provide food and come up with something for the little darlings to do.

Ack! Your blood pressure rises just thinking about it.

Don’t panic! What if I gave you a birthday party idea that takes care of all three problems at once?

Hold a “Make Your Own” Birthday party. Host the party in your kitchen and make the food double as the activity.

Problem solved!

Pick your child’s favorite meal and turn it into a “Make Your Own” Meal.

Does he love pizza? Set out English muffin halves or mini-pizza crusts, then provide a couple of different sauces and a variety of toppings.

Place the mini-pizzas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and you can write the kids’ names on the paper.

Does your daughter love Mexican food? Make a taco, burrito or quesadilla bar.

Set out tortillas, brown some hamburger and set out bowls of shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, refried beans, sliced olives and spices.

Top off the party with a “Design Your Own Cupcake” bar.

Bake several dozen mini-cupcakes in a variety of flavors. Then set the table with bowls of flavored icings, sprinkles, chopped nuts, chocolate chips and crushed cookies.

Provide paper plates so the kids can make extra cupcakes to take home to their families.

These parties are easy to customize. For older kids who like to cook, have your guests help in chopping, prepping and setting up the food bar.

Even preschoolers can help with chores like patting out pizza dough, tearing up lettuce or crushing cookies for cupcake topping.

Don’t bother with goodie bags for these parties. Give your little chefs their own child-sized apron to take home, a bag full of cupcake toppings or even their own cooking tools like spatulas and wooden spoons from the dollar store.

Now you’ve got a party that is fun and filling at the same time!