Food Ideas for Kids' Birthday Parties

Archived Q&A and Reviews


What Food to Serve at 4yr B-day Party?

Sept 2005

Hi, Can anyone send out some ideas they have regarding food options for a 4yr old birthday party. I don't want to serve pizza (love it but tired of it). Thanks! anon

I'm not sure who is attending the party, but I just did a 4 year old party for my son a few weeks ago. He loves any food he can dip in something. So I took him to Trader Joes's with me and he picked out a wide variety of dips that sounded good to him and a bunch of dipping items--bread, veggies, fruit, etc. We had a dipping party! It was a lot of fun and he ate quite well. It's also very easy to do. I made a fruit dip with yogurt and a little fruit spread, but otherwise I bought the dips. Jennifer

At my daughter's 4th birthday I served a large tray of sandwiches (egg salad, pb, creamcheese & jam) on a variety of bread and used cookie cutters to make them into fun shapes. The kids seem to really enjoy them. I broiled a large fillet of salmon and had a salad for the adults but noticed that the adults ate the sandwiches too. Linnea

Peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches with the crust cut off and cut into triangles or squares. Or hot dogs. Protien is a good start before the cake. Cut up watermelon and grapes. And maybe pretzels or those natural cheese puffs or something crunchy. Have fun!

I don't remember doing this, but apparently the Annie's Mac & Cheese with frozen peas that I added were a hit with the kids at my daughter's b'day party last year. You don't have to do annies, but mac & cheese is usually easy and usually universally loved. Peas adds a veggie that kids don't mind much. janet

This year for a joint party for my 2 and 5 year olds we made mini sandwiches with cookie cutter cutouts. They took a bit of work to make (maybe 1 hour for two loaves of bread) but were just the right portion for small kids and could be done ahead.

You need a small (about 1'' or so) cookie cutter and fairly firm but not too crumbly bread to make this work easily. Take two slices of bread, set aside one, cut four cutouts in the four quadrants of the other, assemble the sandwich using the whole slice of the bread and the slice you've cut out of, cut the sandwich into quarters. Use leftover cutout centers to make mini sandwiches (very popular with the kids). We did almond butter and jam, cheese and meat, and cream cheese and jam, and I used white bread for the tops and wheat for the bottoms, from similar shaped loaves. On average the kids ate maybe 1+ tiny sandwiches each (ie, two slices of bread makes enough for ~ 2-3 kids). We also had pretzels, grapes, carrot sticks and cake.

Another party we attended at a park had a variety of snacky foods (goldfish crackers, raisins, veggie tray, etc.) set out, but also quesedillas. The mom said she did them all at once in the oven wrapped in foil: just stack tortilla, cheese, tortilla, tortilla, cheese, tortilla etc. and wrap the whole mass in foil and bake for a while. They were still slightly warm even after an hour or two at the park, and the kids loved them.

Ask your kid for suggestions - at least you know one kid will love it! In general I find it hard to underestimate how much kids will eat at parties, even the sweets. - Charis

I just had our 5 year old's birthday party and was really successful finding food for it at Costco. I picked up finger-y foods for the kids... cheese, veggie tray, pretzels, nuts, grapes... and then a tray of turkey wraps and a tray of club sandwiches for grownups and daring kids. The best part was that I didn't have to cook a thing. The kids were revved up and more excited about the cake then anything. I had food leftover and I felt like other than the cake I didn't serve icky stuff and everyone was relatively happy. Happy party! Anon

Food for 2-year-olds at birthday party

March 2005

My daughter's 2nd birthday party is next month. We are having it at the Albany YMCA Kindergym on a Saturday from 3:30 till 5:30. Since this falls right during dinner time for many toddlers, we are going to serve some food along with the cupcakes. My question is: what can we serve that is not too messy but that toddlers will like? I thought about pizza, but my daughter doesn't like it, so I don't know how the other kids will feel. Will kids (and their parents) be satisfied with finger foods like veggies, fruit, cheese, olives? Or, should I figure out something more substantial? Dawn

I always like to serve PB sandwiches cut into shapes with cookie cutters (stars, hearts, etc.)at toddler parties. If you don't want to do PB do cream cheese and jelly or just strawberry flavored cream cheese. Also, mini bagels, taquitos, chicken nuggets (traderjoes has yummy ones). Pasta salad is also popular. Have fun! Jen

Mac and cheese is always a winner with kids and adults. (You can even make a vegan version with brown rice pasta and vegan ''cheese''--I know because we make this for our wheat/lactose intolerant son.) Clarisse

Non-BBQ picnic food for birthday party picnic

May 2004

We're going to have a picnic-in-the-park birthday party and want to bring (cater?) food without having to barbecue (so we can enjoy the party). Any recommendations for types of food and/or specific restaurants that cater? Thanks. Drea

How about pasta salad, chips, dips, crackers, cheeses, rollup sandwiches (made with lavosh bread, cream cheese, vegies, turkey), pre-made chicken. Or you could do deli platters and salads. Amanda

We used Rick & Ann's near the Claremont for our son's 3-year birthday party. Go to their Web site (I think it's and check out their offerings and prices. You can email them with questions and arrange for pickup at your convenience. The food is awesome and I thought reasonably priced compared to some other places we checked. Laura

We just had my son's 1st birthday party at a park. We had Togo's sandwich trays, which were awesome. We got two trays that each had three kinds of sandwiches to choose from. You can pick any type that you want. They were ready to go right on time (right when they opened), and they were very helpful and friendly... I got them from the Togo's at El Cerrito Plaza. We just supplied chips and drinks (and a cake, course) and were able to enjoy the party!! Have fun! Jen

Check out the fried chicken boxed meals at Albertsons. We did that for one of my son's parties. It was pretty inexpensive and included potato salad or macaroni salad and bread. If you combine this with bagged ceasar salad mix (very cheap at Costco) it should be pretty easy to pull off. a lazy mom

My son has a summer birthday and I have had success preparing a variety of salads. Something with meat, something totally veggie and some sort of third option. The food always disappears and it's easy to move around. Usually it's warm so the food temp is appreciated. DL