Kids Party Food Planning

Kids party food planning is a relatively important part of a kids birthday party but food is not the be all and end all. The most important thing to remember is to plan ahead and to make the party food FUN.

birthday cake

Food is usually a lower priority for the kids than playing games, friends getting together and simply having fun. So my advice is, if you want to do something fancy that is fine but if you want to keep it easy and cheerful then that is even better! Basically kids will be impressed if the food tastes good and has a fun element to it.

Basic Planning
Where To Eat
What Food Is Best?
How Many Drinks?
What About Adults?

Kids Party Food Planning Basics

Whatever people say to you, it is normal to get a bit stressed. After all other parents are coming and you want to make a good impression. Yes, we all do and it's only natural! However there are things you can do to make your kids party food planning easier. Just read on.....

  • The time of day for the birthday party will influence the type of food that you may want to provide. To keep costs and preparation time to a minimum, avoid having the party at main meal times. If you are going for mid morning or mid afternoon party, snacks will be fine.
  • Plan how many kids are coming and allow 3–4 different savory plus 2-3 sweet party food choices as well as the cake.
  • Ask someone to help you with the party. It's not a sign of 'not being able' but a sign of 'being practical'.
  • Don't forget that some kids have ALLERGIES especially to nuts, but in general their parents should inform you of this before hand.
  • Prepare as much food as you can in advance. Make use of your freezer if you have one, as you really won't want to be doing much cooking on the day.
  • Leave yourself time to get yourself and your child ready on the day. Make it a fun and relaxed time.
  • Keep organized by using my FREE Party Planning Checklist

Where To Eat

  • Where do you want the kids to eat? Inside, outside, at the table, on the floor, standing....
  • There is usually more mess and stress if there is no designated area to sit.
  • If you have a large number of kids, think about how you are going to seat everyone and do you have a big enough table.
  • We often lay down a big picnic mat which all the kids sit on and this can work well indoors or outside.

Choice Of Food

What to eat is probably going to be top of your list in your kids party food planning. The three main things to remember are to keep the food simple, to keep it tasty and to make the food look fun and appetizing.

  • Discuss with your child what party food she/he would like and allow treats to make the day feel special.
  • If you are having a theme party this may well dictate the sort of food that you might choose.
  • You don't need to make everything from scratch and don't feel bad about buying ready-made food. You are just being practical.
  • Some of the supermarkets produce excellent packet mixes which just need water, eggs and oil. Consider ready made pizza bases and have fun with your kids going wild with your own toppings. Or buy cake and cookie mixes which you can personalize with your own decorations.  
  • Finger foods, especially for the under 7 age group, are much more child friendly and practical than a child balancing a plate of food on their laps.
  • Younger kids are also likely to eat more if they can come and go to the food table.
  • Use disposable plates as much as possible. However it is a false economy to buy the really cheap, flimsy ones. They always break and can't hold much weight.
  • Party food boxes are a great and fun alternative to plates and are much easier for the younger kids to use.
  • I always write names on each cup and plate (or stick pictures on) to save mixing them up as the kids always forget which one is theirs.

Take your pick of some of my favorite party food recipes.


Drinks are very important when it comes to kids party food planning. All that running around, shouting and excitement is going to lead to some thirsty kids.

  • Allow a minimum of  2-3 drinks per child
  • Plan drinks according to the weather and how boisterous the activities are.
  • Make sure that disposable cups aren't too flimsy as with little kids paper cups tend to get a bit soggy round the lip and thin plastic ones tend to get crushed by little hands.
  • I prefer to use the non disposable plastic picnic cups, even if it does mean washing up afterwards.

Invited Adults

Mums and/or dads will often be there if the birthday party is for toddlers. This in fact is a great help for you.

I don't usually cater specifically for the adults in my kids party food planning but if you have the time it's nice sometimes to prepare a couple of party food and drink items that are more adult appropriate. Mind you adults still like crisps and popcorn!

You May Also Like:

Birthday Cake Ideas
Savory Party Food Ideas
Cookies and Sweet Treats
Kid Drink Ideas

> Hat Party Games

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