Little Chef's -3yr- Twisted Dogs On A Stick
Emily in Tampa, Florida
For my daughter's third birthday, I planned a cooking party at our home. Everyone thought I was crazy having a cooking party for 12 3-year olds, but by the time they left, every parent said it was one of the best birthday parties they had attended. Lucky for me I'm an organized person because it did require more work than regular birthday parties, but even I had a blast and my daughter LOVED it. I write this in stages to help others wanting to do this.
Step 1: Invitation--I used publisher to make an invitation for the party. The front of the invitation looked like a grand opening flyer for a Bakery stating the date and time. We were the Little Baker Company." On the back it stated the planned agenda of activities and what to bring "clothes that can get messy creativity laughter and patience."
Step 2: Location--I had to convert my kitchen into a bakery. I used white sheets and hung them over the cabinets. I lined the counters with pre-bought pies cakes cupcakes bread etc. and made signs for each item so it looked like a real bakery display. I borrowed a 10-ft card table from my work and lined it with wax paper.
Step 3: Dress--I used white kitchen t-towels (thin) for fabric and used an apron template to cut out an apron for each kid. I used different colored ribbons with various patterns to make the ties and neck loop. I ordered kid-sized paper chef hats for each kid.
Step 4: Activities--When kids arrived they were allowed to pick out their apron and hat. A color table was set up where they could decorate their hats. Once all the kids arrived they sat at the table. Each were given a pre-cooked biscuit and got to roll out the biscuit and cut with a cookie cutter of their choice. We put them in the oven and the kids went into the living room for an action activity "Making Butter". We played music while the kids danced and shook baby food jars that contained "cold" heavy whipping cream. When the biscuits were done they got to taste their butter on their biscuit. Next they made "twisted dogs on a stick." Each child got to wrap a croissant dough around a hot dog and insert a stick. We put those in the oven and went to the living room to play utensil freeze."
Each was given a common kitchen utensil and they danced while the music played. When the music stopped they had to find a different utensil and freeze. During the activity I set up the cupcake making. I had already made chocolate cupcakes but I wanted the kids to think they were making their own. I didn't want to risk them eating raw egg so I gave each a bowl with cake mix only and a cup of water for them to stir. They mixed it and poured it into a paper-lined muffin tin. In the oven they went then outside to place "Buns in the Oven" game. It was a relay of two teams. Each team had to transfer fake food and plastic eggs from a cardboard "oven" to another "oven" on the other side of the yard wearing large oven mitts. Each child got several turns and got to RUN!
While they were outside playing I removed the kid-made cupcakes and tossed them. I put the cooled and pre-cooked cupcakes in the cooled oven. On the table I set out 2 different kinds of icing and many different 3 yr old friendly toppings (dry cereal sprinkles etc.) Each child got to decorate their very own cupcake. We had some VERY creative combinations!! They LOVED it!!!
Step 5: Eating--Each kid got to eat their own creations (twisted dogs biscuit and butter and personal cupcake). I also made some other adult-friendly snacks and other kid favorites. After they ate---PRESENTS.
Step 6: Goodbye--For goodies bags I had bought mini white bakery cake boxes. I had made ingredient statements like a nutrition facts label and taped on each box and added a ribbon. Each child got to keep the cookie cutter they used early plus some bakery snacks and other kid cooking utensils.
Step 7: After the event I made a booklet for each student that contained pictures from the party a summary of the activities and recipes of the foods we made plus other recipes of kid favorite foods. This was our thank you cards. Final thoughts--Best party ever but it does require involvement from parents. Pros: the kids were active the entire time. Never bored. We went from cooking activity to physical activity at least 3 times.
My daughter was exhausted afterward. Also kids get to eat throughout the party so there is no "when are we going to eat?" It does require 3 P's (planning parent involvement because of the activities and patience). Oh yeah a willingness to get messy--nothing soap and water can't fix!! "