Does your son or daughter enjoy spending time in the kitchen preparing food for the family? Maybe you should consider a cooking-themed birthday this year. Including a child in the preparation of cooking satisfies their creative desires and teaches the basic skills for making healthy food. Gathering for any birthday party usually includes food, but for a cooking party, the preparation of the food becomes the party theme.

Start out by giving each guest part of their goody bag at the beginning of the party. An inexpensive child's apron can be found on Oriental Trading (along with some cute chef hats). Give the aprons a personal touch by purchasing iron-on letters to spell out each child's name.

Get in the kitchen

Begin with Appetizers - Build your own Bugs or Mosaic Peppers.

Set up stations with pretzel rods (for logs) and peanut butter. Let the kids create caterpillars by placing grapes, cherry tomatoes, blueberries or other small fruits on top. You can even add sugar eyes that can be found in the baking section of the grocery store. To make the Mosaic Peppers, cut up green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers in small pieces. Use a base of crackers spread with cream cheese and let your food artists create delicious masterpieces.

Main Dish Ideas - Cookie Cutter Pizza

Create your own pizzas with homemade pizza dough. You can either purchase the dough already made or add to the fun by making it from scratch. Let everyone roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutters. Spread pizza sauce on top and decorate with cheese, veggies or pepperoni before putting it in the oven. These bite-sized treats will be a hit with any age group!

Desserts - Birthday cake is not for everyone and hard to create as a group. An alternative choice for a sweet send-off is banana foil packets. Simply slice open a banana (but leave it with the peel on) and stuff the banana with mini marshmallows, chocolate or peanut butter chips. Place inside a foil packet and cook at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Carefully remove from peel and serve with ice cream.

Make your own goody bags

In addition to the aprons, send your guests on their way with treats they can make at home. Pinterest is a great source of food-in-a-jar gifts. Purchase mason jars and provide a mixing recipe for the guests to fill the jars. Seal and include cooking instructions for the kids to make another day at home. Check out the side bar for ideas.

Food Related Games

Food Pictionary - Make a list of foods like hamburgers, mac and cheese or soup and write on separate index cards. Place cards in a bowl and let the guests pick one. Provide a dry erase board and let players take turns drawing the food written on the card while the other partygoers guess.

Name that Produce - Head to the market to find unusual fruits and vegetables. Place on a table with a number on each one. Players need to identify the produce from a word bank list. The player who guesses the most correct answers wins a prize.

Taste Test - Play this game blindfolded for an extra element of fun. Give players spoons and let them taste each item to see if they can identify it. Try things like applesauce, pumpkin puree and sour cream, or chunkier foods like fruit slices or cookie pieces. Check with parents for allergies before playing this game.

Bucket of Fun - Make a large bowl of popcorn and place in the center of the table. Break the kids up into teams with one player from each team on opposite sides of the table. One person on the team holds a plastic cup on his head while his partner throws popcorn into the cup. Set a time limit - a minute or two - and then switch places. The team with the most popcorn in both cups wins! It's harder than you think!


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Pam Molnar is a writer, foodie and mom of three. She loves to plan parties of any kind. Follow her on Etsy at Pam's Party Printables.