I am officially preparing for a cooking party for my kids and sharing my game-plan and lotsa resources. As always, I’m focussing more on fun and ease for parents than aesthetics so if you’re like me and are not too overly fussed about party beauty and perfection then this will be right up your alley!
To avoid information overload, this series has been split into 3 parts. This is the last of the series, but you can find the other parts below.
- Part 1: Party preparation
- Part 2: Cooking preparation
- Part 3: Running the party
Click here for the full downloadable guide that includes all three parts in one easy to read PDF.
What went before
In the previous parts we discussed how to prepare for the party itself and how to get the cooking activity set up and ready to go. In this last part we’re going to run through the cooking party itself.
We’ll look at the basic structure of the party as well as some ideas on how to extend the activities depending on what your child is into.
Step 1: Your cooking party run-through
I know it’s party time and it’s fun and exciting for the kids but it is really important to bring the kids to a state of calm before you start cooking.
I recommend to always do a calming activity at a cooking party like reading a book, watching a quiet show on TV, sing a song or play with playdough.
Once the kids are calm, you can follow this same routine I discuss in the Little Cookery book and that I use during the cooking classes I teach at schools and with my kids at home.
- Explain your rules;
- Discuss the symbols used in the recipe, particularly the “Ask an Adult” symbol. Get them to repeat a couple of symbols back to you (for example, I make them show me in the air what a pinch is).
- Show them the recipe itself. Get the tools out first, then the ingredients;
- Look at the visual instructions. Talk about how the coloured dots at the bottom of each step of the recipe relate to the cup colours (for example, 1 orange dot below a bag of flour equals 1 scoop of flour using the orange cup);
- Do the first two or three steps together, then let them have a go by themselves!
- Put food in oven/microwave/fridge and clean up.
Quick tidy-up time
If you want to have a very quick tidy-up time, you can use my all-time favourite hacks. The waste-police are going to hate me for saying this, but the sanity-police might be more forgiving.
To save yourself clearing up time do the following:
- Cut open a couple of garbage bags and stick them to the table;
- Next, stick a copy of the recipe on top of the garbage bag (1 per child or team);
- Decant ingredients into throw-away bags and stick a picture of the ingredient on the bag. It’s probably best to have multiple bags of the same ingredient on the table;
- Use throw-away bowls and utensils
- When the whole thing is done, undo the garbage bags and throw EVERYTHING in the rubbish bin. There. Done.
Bin ‘em and share ‘em
I’m going to keep it real with you here. There will be some kids that forget some ingredients or just don’t create a very attractive bunch.
Throw away whatever looks bad and just share out the ones that look good. Don’t worry about giving everyone their own, if you don’t mention it no one will notice. It’s absolutely fine for the kids to have only one or two so don’t stress about getting all the foods to their rightful owner.
Step 2: Activities to include (or not)
Cooking at a birthday party is an experience that you can extend to your hearts desire. You can include art, pretend play and games to the party depending on how much time you have and what the kids would enjoy.
Here’s a list of ideas for activities to include before, during or after the main cooking event. I’d recommend doing no more than 1 or 2 of these to make sure you don’t overload kids who are probably experiencing a sugar rush because they “accidentally” ate it straight out of the bag.
- Set up a little shop with the ingredients and let them “shop” for their food using their own shopping lists that you will find in the Little Cookery book;
- Hide the cups around the room and let them look for them;
- Do a quiz to see who knows the ingredients;
- Decorate their own aprons or cooks hats with textile markers.
While the food is in the oven;
- Watch a movie about cooking like Ratatouille*;
- Make food packaging or decorate some ready made food boxes, bags or carriers;
- Using playdough, get the kids to make the ingredients they used in the food.
After the food is done
- Get some server uniforms and order books and have kids serve the goodies to their ‘customers’;
- Host an award ceremony using print outs of the Little Cookery awards. You can even decorate some frames and put the award in them afterwards.
A final word
So, there you have it. A cooking party. YOUR cooking party. I hope you will immense success and fun with the experience together with your kid and their friends. I’d love to hear from you and how it went.
If you have any questions or want to report back (I’d love that!) feel free to drop me an message through Instagram or below in the comments.
*I occassionally use some affiliate links at no extra cost to you.