Planning your four-year-old’s birthday party: The food
Simple and easy-to-eat party food is best for your 4-year-old’s birthday party. Find out how to lay on the perfect spread without any stress.
In this article
- What food should I serve at my four-year-old’s birthday party?
- What drinks should I serve at my four-year-old’s birthday party?
- Should I give party food to parents as well as children?
- Party food ideas on a budget?
- What party foods should I avoid with young children?
Four year old children typically aren’t big eaters, especially at a party where they’re distracted by party games and friends. If you prepare an enormous spread, you might find there’s lots of wasted food afterwards.
If you have the use of an oven, you could serve pizzas or sausages in finger rolls (hotdogs). They’re quick and easy to prepare and adult guests can pick at them, too.
If you serve cold food, traditional sandwiches are always a good idea. Here are some ideas for sandwich fillings for party food you may like to try. However, for young children I’d keep to plain sandwich fillings like mild cheese, ham (no mustard!), or jam which usually appeals. Allow for two to three small sandwiches (crusts off) per guest.
To pad out your feast try cocktail sausages and low-salt crisps. Add a couple of plates of carrot and cucumber sticks with a pot of houmous perhaps. Some sliced apple, oranges or other fruits as a healthy party food option. Here are some more healthy party food ideas.
Depending on your party theme, you may like to match the food in with that. You could cut round-shaped sandwiches (eye-patches) and serve “sea monster” green jelly for a pirate party for boys, for example. Or you could cut star-shaped sandwiches and serve “magical” pink jelly for a princess party for girls.
Although most four-year-olds will expect something sweet to round off the feast, it doesn’t have to be a traditional birthday cake. You could offer a themed cupcakes, iced biscuits or chocolate crispie cakes, presented on matching themed cupcake stands. Cupcake stands can also set the scene for the party table if you have one either end and one in the middle (depending on how big your table is).
Drinks to serve at parties for pre-schoolers and reception-age children can be kept simple. Children of three, four and five have lots of energy. So they’re likely to run around lots, and therefore easily get dehydrated. Have a few of jugs of water or squash set up from the beginning of the party so they can take a drink when they want to. However at this age its best to take a break and offer each child a drink rather than rely on them to help themselves.
The majority of parents won’t expect you to feed them as well as their children. For a morning or afternoon party a round of tea or coffee will be sufficient and perhaps offer some small cakes or croissiants.
If the party is taking place at lunch or teatime, though, it’s a nice idea to provide something more filling. Allow for extra pizza or sandwiches, or put out a platter of sausage rolls.
You could serve the food in party food boxes containing a sandwich or two, an apple or a box of raisins and a packet of crisps. That way you can control food waste and know exactly what food to buy before the party, and keep to your budget.
Three and four-year-olds chew well enough to eat most foods, but may still be at risk of choking if they’re running around. It’s best therefore to have children seated when the food is presented to risk any mishaps. However, play it safe and avoid foods that children most commonly choke on, such as whole grapes and popcorn.