Does your kid, like mine, like cooking and would you like to incorporate the theme into a birthday party? If so, you are going to this complete guide that breaks your party preparation down into easy chronological sections and is sure to bring your party preparation down drastically.
I’m going to be focussing on kids fun as well as ease for parents. If you know me from Little Cookery cookbook, you will know that I prioritise fun over aesthetics and food perfection.
What this series will help you with
You will be able to use this guide as a complete, start-to-finish runthrough for organising a cooking party for kids age 2- 12. It contains:
- tutorials and tips;
- lots of downloadable and printable resources like invitations (hardcopy and digital), recipe cards, kids menu, etc
To avoid information overload, this series comes in 3 parts. Each new part will be released on Resource Fridays over the next weeks:
- Part 1: Party preparation (this page)
- Part 2: Cooking preparation
- Part 3: Running the party
After part 3 is released this guide will also available here as an eBook and comes with all the templates so you can customise your party in a matter of mere minutes. Sign up below and get information like cooking related goodies in your inbox over the course of the series and other updates.
Pre-2000 when I felt energetic and able to read without someone jumping on my head, I loved reading the Babysitters Club. Its main appeal to me was reading how these girls my age were able to run a profitable business. I know, I know – don’t judge. As a teenager it inspired me to work for parents who needed a helping hand with their kids’ parties. I’m not sure whether I loved having a reason to design my own business cards more than actually helping with the parties, but either way it seemed to work out for everyone involved.
(Fun fact: The Babysitter’s Club movie was filmed in part in Guelph, my hometown. Permission granted to be impressed!)
Now I’m the parent myself, I recognise there is a need for extra help during birthday parties. Especially if that party involves cooking with kids who are not your own.
What this Kids cooking birthday party is (and isn’t)
But before I become your cloud-based party assistant and we really get into preparations for your own kids cooking birthday party, I should tell you what this series on organising the Cooking Birthday Party is all about and what it is not.
Here’s where I’m coming from: as my two boys manage to end up with dirty clothes in any situation I avoid looking to Pinterest for party ideas like the plague, unless we’re talking Pinterest-fails of course. The pressure of putting on something perfect is just not doable for me and I truly admire wonderful parents who are able to do it (leave me your tips in the comments, please!).
Instead, I try to focus on the fun of it all. Preferably not bankrupting me whilst enjoying said fun. If that’s you and you’d like that sort of party, follow along and adapt where you need to.
Let’s get to it.. Party Preparations
Step 1: How many kids will you have?
My home’s kitchen is a galley kitchen that is not really ideal for having more than 2 kids in there, so I’ll be moving our party activity to our kitchen table where we can easily have up to 8 kids. However, because we will need room to put all the ingredients in the middle as well I’m not going to be able to fit more than 6 kids around the table.
To encourage a sense of togetherness I’m going to pair kids into teams of 2 per recipe, so 6 kids seems like a good amount to go with. The kids at the party will be about 7 years old so they are old enough to work on their own recipes without too much involvement from my end.
Your checklist for determining how many kids your cooking birthday party can accommodate:
- Where will you be preparing food? How many kids could you accommodate there? If you are renting a venue with a kitchen, make sure to check out the kitchen well before the party and ask about any regulations regarding the use of the kitchen.
- Consider the space you will need for ingredients. Will you fit this onto the space itself or will you use a separate table with easy access to the ingredients and tools?
- How much help will the kids need (the younger they are, the more supervision you will need).
- How many adults/teenagers will there be to help you? Will the parents stay or will you need to rely on outside help? If you’re renting a facility, will they provide someone to help you and if so, what sort of things will they be able to help with?
Step 2: Budget
Let’s talk numbers. I’m willing to spend CA$60 dollars on this party’s cooking event, but because I have all the equipment and ingredients available from the cooking classes I teach at schools my party budget is going to be spent on more frivolous things like food packaging and getting some custom t-shirts printed. I’ve divided the essentials from the nice-to-have items so you fix your party to your budget.
A cooking party can work for any budget and there are numerous ways to add or to save money, depending on what you can afford. I’ve listed 5 things you will need to spend money on and then follow with things that are optional but super fun.
Here are some items you would need:
- Little Cookery book or recipe;
- Cups with Cooking By Color™ tags or placemats;
- Food equipment (tools);
- Packaging for the kids to bring their food home in.
TIP! If you’re tight on budget you can go to a cafe and ask for some food packaging. Most local cafes or Tim Horton’s/Starbucks are happy to oblige. They might even be willing to loan you a couple of aprons as well, especially if you promise to post on social media!
TIP! If you don’t have the Little Cookery book, you can sign up and download our free starter pack and use the Banana Bread recipe included.
On top of the essentials here is a list of some additions, some of which will cost money while others are free:
- Aprons or t-shirts. You can go as nuts on Etsy as you want with printed designs and embroidery;
- Little Cookery books and tags as party favours (get in touch for a discount on larger orders);
- A little card to the sign-up form to get their own Little Cookery starter pack;
- Awards plus frame;
- Bags for the food packaging (or mugs if you’re going for a mug-cake);
Step 3: Invites
We’re getting closer to the moment of no return with this next step of the party invites! It’s going to be awesome, memorable and fun!
So let’s talk invites. My kids giving hardcopy invitations to their friends so I always get those ready for them. I also love the ease of use of digital invitations, so I’m going with a hybrid approach here. You can go digital, hard-copy or hybrid like myself.
Hardcopy kids cooking birthday party invitations
I’ve included a downloadable party invitation in the Cooking Party Kit. These are great because you can easily customise them by adding your kid’s name and party details and hit ’print’ 2 minutes later. Here’s what they look like.
Kids with allergies
Before the event, I would always make sure to get the parent’s feedback on whether their kids have any allergies. The party invitation is a great place to ask for that feedback. If you know ahead of time you can make sure to choose an appropriate recipe. If the allergy is severe you could also consider asking the parent to bring their own ingredients.
Next.. cooking preparations
Ok, so we covered the basics and got ourselves well and truly at a place of no return.
Be sure to browse through your Little Cookery book and choose a recipe that appeals.