If you have children, you already know everything. Nappies, bottles and rattles. Torn trousers and broken knees. The F’s and the parent-teacher conferences. About presents under the tree and children’s parties. And about children’s parties?!
If your children have moved into the category of teenagers, arranging a party for them is costly. Entertaining a teenager with games and hand-feeding them cakes is not only pointless, but also unsafe. Everyone knows that teenagers bite. So recommendations for the organization of a teenager party can only be three: chop salads in advance, give money to buy cola and chips (they’ll still buy beer and vobla) and go to friends until eleven o’clock in the evening. Periodically, you can call your neighbors to ask if the flat is still on fire. Very young children – one- and two-year-olds – don’t have much trouble either: they usually come with their mothers and their own food. A pile of toys on the floor is enough to entertain them and a smart disposable bib is enough to complement the eating out of the jars. (There are some. They are usually sold at the same place where the baby food is.)
From a culinary point of view, the most difficult to arrange a celebration when you are going to a new baby company: for example, the child went to first grade, or transferred to a new school and for the first time invites his classmates. What kind of kids are they? What do they like? What are they diathesis to? Some kids love caviar sandwiches, and if you don’t put them on the table, the party will be irrevocably ruined. Others just the sight of caviar makes them sick. (I remember one boy who frankly told me that caviar reminded him of boogers.) Some children top everything with mayonnaise and ketchup, others turn their noses up at “chemicals”. Some devour chocolate cakes without limits, others are desperately allergic to chocolate… In general, it’s crazy.
A simple and well-tested way out of the situation is to bake pancakes. I personally have never met a child who doesn’t like pancakes.
And if you poladodelat many, many different toppings, and both sweet and salty, you will not go wrong. A sample set could be: liver pâté, mashed potatoes with fried onions, red caviar, sour cream, a whole range of jams from the cupboard, condensed milk (lots of it), honey, stewed apples with sultanas, curd, whipped with sugar and cream… You can go on imagining things. Another principle I’m more or less sure of: children love “hand-meal”. They didn’t come to sit at the table, all those forks and spoons are just a hassle. They have to grab it! – and go on running. Though, an exception is usually made for salads. But forget about any healthy hot or (God forbid!) soup. As a main course, in my opinion, pizza is great. It’s akin to pancakes: almost everyone loves it too, and it’s a lot less hassle. You can pretty much make everything in advance and just pop it in the oven at the right moment. Children’s parties can easily be made less traumatic by serving the table with unbreakable tableware. Most supermarkets carry a pretty wide selection of pretty plates, cups and glasses with cartoon characters. The choice of napkins is even unlimited.
A menu with a surprise
Adult guests love a beautiful and interesting table setting. However, if the hosts have not made a big deal about aesthetics, but have not forgotten about alcoholic beverages, then the adult becomes interested right away, and pretty or not, very soon it does not matter at all. You can’t fool kids that easily. They don’t just want food, they want entertaining food. Like a fried egg pig or a fruit basket with fruit salad. There are also dishes that you can play with without fear. The simplest option was a birthday party my parents used to throw for me when I was a kid – and it was always a success. You need a homemade cake, pie or, at the very least, cakes.
You take a child-sized jewel, e.g. a beautiful foreign coin, and put it in the filling (or mold) at the stage of filling.
The jewel must not be too small and it must not be an heirloom – otherwise the voracious chicks will gobble it up in a jiffy and look for it later. Whoever is lucky enough to catch the coin without breaking a tooth becomes the king of the feast and chooses a queen. Or a king. Just the other day I was told that at a party, where the ten-year-old daughter of my foreign friends had been invited, a diamond brooch was baked into a three-storey cake in such a way. In a strange way the brooch ended up with the hostess of the party… Yes, well… In general, it is desirable to prepare beforehand crowns, scepters, orbs, mantles and other royal attributes for the king and queen. And you have to invent something for them to do – to manage the feast, issue an edict or do something useful. For example, announce an anecdote contest – school-age children love to tell jokes. If you have a camera with you, film it! “Self-director” rests.
Maria Curth, child psychologist: “In our family, children’s birthdays begin with a poster. At the age of four – my son was into pirates at the time – the birthday poster turned out to be a pirate flag. The “S” turned into a sail, the “d” into a ship, the “n” was a pirate on a bone leg, and so on. At five years old, the hot topic was cowboys, and we stayed up all night drawing cowboy letters. At six, it was chivalry. At seven, Harry Potter was on the agenda, and the letters were transformed into fairy tale characters in robes and with wands. The theme of the year is also linked to the festive menu. Apart from the usual dishes, my son and I always come up with the main one – themed. For example, for a pirate birthday we invented special sandwiches – ships with cheese sails. For a cowboy birthday, all invited “cowboys” got a cocktail – orange juice with an ice cream scoop behind the bar. For Knight’s year, the main course was chicken, which the guests ate with their hands – just like in the Middle Ages. I even handed out large slices of bread, breaking them off from a baguette rather than cutting them. For our seventh birthday, like Harry Potter, we drank pumpkin juice and feasted on chocolate bees, butterflies and frogs. Try something similar, your children will love it.” Another great activity, particularly effective for a group of four- to seven-year-olds, is “fishing”. Subject of the catch can be a variety of candy – from lollipops to Kinder Surprises. The main thing is to pack them so that there was something to catch the hook.
A fishing rod can be made from handy materials, such as sticks lying around the yard. Tie ribbons with hooks made from paper clips to them. Ribbons are best made in different colors – then the fishing rods become “named”.
“A ‘pond’ is a part of the room enclosed by a low screen. Candies are placed on the floor in an artistic disorder – and go! The referee for the championship must be an adult, otherwise the participants will fight over the loot.
Experts have devised a formula which can be used to calculate how many guests should be invited to a child’s party, to avoid any unpleasantness. To the age of the child should be added one: if a child is two years old, he is quite enough for three visitors, if four – five.
Otherwise, children are guaranteed to stand on their ears, and parents – lose their temper and the holiday will be ruined. Please know: if a children’s party went without scuffles, broken noses, vases, trashed plants, torn curtains, plaster mixed with lettuce spread on the floor, tears, and mutual insults, and even all the children in the evening sorted out, leaving only yours, you can safely set yourself a monument. Somewhere near the Canadian border