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::: Birthday Party Ideas for Youngsters :::

Mary Emma Allen

We seem to be experiencing a multitude of birthdays at our household...birthday parties for family members and parties our grandchildren are invited to. These may be a simple get-together of relatives or a theme party for older children. Nowadays, too, birthday parties involve outings to fast food restaurants or entertainment centers that host these occasions for tots.

When I was a child, most of our parties were family ones with the birthday youngster selecting his/her favorite foods for the meal. One treat (which would seem strange to young people nowadays) was the opportunity to select our favorite canned fruit to accompany the birthday cake.

Mother canned many types of fruit and berries which often were served as dessert with cake or cookies. Only in my high school years, when Mother operated a little country store, did we regularly have ice cream for a birthday supper.

A Variety of Party Foods

Preparing new, different and truly fascinating fare for our youngsters' birthday parties often sends us searching through our recipe books. There are a wide variety of birthday party ideas that can be utilized and our tots will help us with some of their own.

Usually refreshments - the simplest for mom to prepare and also the kind most youngsters expect - consist of cake and ice cream, unless it's a supper party. However, it's usually easiest to make birthday parties for young tots afternoon affairs with plenty of games, favors, cake, and ice cream.

Refreshments Most Important

The "eats" often seem to be the most important part of the party to many youngsters. As one little girl remarked to my mom at one of my parties, when she became tired of games, "Mrs. Place, when does the 'party' begin?"

It didn't matter that we'd been playing games and having fun. The party to her meant the birthday cake.

Different Types of Goodies

Here are some ideas for slightly different goodies you can prepare for the party fare. For the child who enjoys helping make the party treats, as my daughter did and my granddaughter does now, most of these recipes are easy to prepare and fun projects for mother and child to work on together.

A Variety of Easy-To-Make Treats

MARSHMALLOWS cut and placed around the sides of a frosted cake in the form of dolls make interesting party decorations for a little girl's birthday cake.

MARSHMALLOW POPS make tasty favors for each child to take home. Melt over hot (not boiling) water one 6-oz. pkg. chocolate bits and 1 teaspoon shortening. Dip marshmallows, held on toothpicks, into chocolate mixture, coating well. Roll in colored coconut, chocolate and colored sprinkles, crushed peppermint stick, cookie crumbs, or chopped nuts. Chill until firm on waxed. Makes about 24 pops.

Make a FLUFFY CAKE by decorating the frosting with tinted coconut and jelly beans. Add candles in colorful holders.

Gaily decorated CUPCAKES with a candle on top often are much easier for pre-schoolers to handle and may make for less mess for mom to clean up on the table and floor. Decorate these with colored icing, sprinkles, and marshmallows.

Cupcakes also can be made more interesting by putting a child's name on each. In sweetened water, cook alphabet noodles until tender. Color by adding food coloring to the cooking water or by dipping cooked letters in food coloring. Dry letters before forming names on iced cupcakes.

ICE CREAM LOLLIPOPS are tops with the younger set. Roll squares or small scoops of ice cream in colored coconut; insert a stick; store in the freezer until ready to serve. These can be made ahead and stored in plastic wrap in the freezer for a few days.

ICE CREAM BALLS offer many decorating possibilities. Roll scoops of ice cream in chocolate or colored sprinkles, in colored coconut, chopped nuts, or dip in melted sweet chocolate.

CIRCUS CAKES are favorites with many tots. Decorate the frosted cake with animal crackers and colored sprinkles. If you wish, erect a tentlike canopy of gaily colored wrapping paper over the cake held aloft by toothpicks.

If you want to be real fancy, make individual CIRCUS CARTS. Use a slice of ice cream for the cart body, chocolate wafers for the wheels, and animal crackers to pull it.

CAKE CONES are fun to eat. Half fill the flat-bottomed cones with cake batter. Bake and ice as you do cupcakes.

(c)Mary Emma Allen


(In addition to writing cooking columns, Mary Emma Allen writes for children. Her latest book is a coloring book to accompany her children's anthology, "Tales of Adenture & Discovery. Visit her web site to view more "Country Kitchen" columns: http://homepage.fcgnetworks.net/jetent/mea; mailto:me.allen@juno.com)

This article provided by the Family Content Archives at: http://www.Family-Content.com