There's the cake or the cupcakes and some kid-friendly foods for lunch, but now you've got a preschooler mob in the party room all riled up on the icing and looking for more. It's a good thing you thought of this ahead of time and have some of these tasty birthday treats ready to soothe your horde of little tykes.
1. Fruit Treats
Transform treats into a healthy activity for your little guys. Cut large fruits into slabs before the party; use watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple. Provide your guests with a slab or two at treat time along with cookie cutters, to turn the fruit into adorable shapes to enjoy. If you're looking for healthful treats you can prepare ahead of time, make fruit kabobs -- fruit chunks on shish kabob sticks -- or surprise the youngsters with a watermelon boat filled to the brim with chunks of fruit. Just cut a watermelon in half, empty it out and then fill it with delectable fruits. If you're hosting a party under the hot summer sun, make fruit smoothies ahead of time and pour into ice pop containers to freeze.
2. Dipped Delights
For a compromise between healthy and sinfully savory, make a tray full of chocolate-dipped strawberries; prepare ahead of time and serve on a decorative tray. If you're looking to turn a birthday treat into a party activity, wash the strawberries ahead of time and remove the stems. Fill bowls with chocolate icing and let the little munchkins dip their strawberries into the sweet topping. Add color and flare by providing a few colored bowls of icing as well. Other dipped delights include marshmallows or cut-up crisped rice treats dipped in chocolate sauce or icing, fruit chunks dipped in yogurt and nachos to dip in salsa.
3. Treat Buffets
Prepare a trail mix buffet and set your little guests loose on the ingredients with a little bowl and spoon. Set out a variety of ingredients such as dried apricots, raisins, cranberries and bananas; pretzels; chocolate chips; shelled sunflower seeds; and nuts like cashews, peanuts and almonds. If you're brave enough to offer a room full of hyper little munchkins a non-stop supply of sugary treats, you can delight the entire group with a candy buffet instead. Choose a wide variety of candies, like gumdrops, candy-coated chocolates, lollipops and licorice; scoop some of each into plastic or glass jars for the buffet table. With that much sugar, you may want to get the okay from your guest's parents ahead of time. Other buffet ideas include a cookie buffet; a chips, cheese sticks and pretzel buffet; or a spread of crackers, cheese and pickles.
4. Delectable Decorating
Make a batch of sugar cookies ahead of time and then provide a spread of delectable toppings for the little munchkins to decorate their treats. Let them top the cookies with icing, candy-coated chocolates, jelly candies, sprinkles, colored sugars and even whipped cream. If cookies aren't your thing, that's okay – use the same decorating activity to turn some plain crisped rice treats, cupcakes or miniature banana loafs into irresistible desserts. If you're hosting an outdoor summertime party, have the youngsters top some ice cream instead, for a do-it-yourself sundae delight.
- Dylan's Candy Bar: Unwrap Your Sweet Life; Dylan Lauren
- Birthday Treats: Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family; Sara Perry
- Todd Warnock/Lifesize/Getty Images