How to plan a plant-based menu
for children’s birthday party
One of the most joyous aspects of parenthood is being able to celebrate the life that one takes part in creating. But sometimes within a large extended family there may be people with different eating habits. As a parent who lives a vegan plant-based lifestyle I have found that Birthday celebrations are wonderful opportunities to share the bounty of plant-based foods that are both healthy and delicious. Your menus can have a lasting positive impression on your extended family and it doesn’t have to be difficult. While fun snacks that visually align with the party theme are great, I also believe that it is important to have real food packed with nutrition and great taste. Within this article I will share four menus as well as activities that are in line with popular children’s birthday themes for both boys and girls.
- Outer Space Party
- Ladybug Tea Party
- Geography World Party
- Tropical Party
Outer Space Party
When my 11 year old son Avinash was getting ready for his 2nd Birthday he had become interested in the solar system and outer space. Avi could recite the entire solar system from mercury to pluto, he had memorized various facts such as weight and size of each planet, distance from the sun and much more. I decided this was the perfect opportunity for a homeschool theme unit on the solar system and we studied and learned together covering all four basic subjects according to children’s ages at that time of 3yrs and almost 2yrs old it was a fun and exciting learning process. At this point I knew that we had to plan his birthday party accordingly. I began with a huge art project, we created the entire solar system with paper mache balloons which we then painted and hung from the ceiling as the planets of the solar system, the sun and moon. These were made a week in advance of the party. The week of the party I made star shaped cupcakes using foil star cupcake liners. A great idea is to decorate the party room with printed or purchased space theme cutouts or make your own poster board stars covered in foil and hung from the ceiling, black and silver helium filled balloons work well here too.
Games and activities
- Space themed coloring pages
- Space race: children have a relay race outside through a space inspired obstacle course
- Space rockets: Children use toilet paper tubes, decorations and foil to make simple rockets and blast off.
- Moon Space Dig: In a sandbox place small toys in easter eggs and hide them in the sand. Have children dig for “moon rocks”
- Galactic Watermelon boat
- Rocket fruit kabobs
- Chili beans, Corn bread
- Dessert: Star shaped Cupcakes or round cake to represent moon or favorite planet
Ladybug Tea party
I have two daughters and both of their birthdays are in February. My oldest daughter has been in awe of ladybugs since she was 1yr old. Every year she tells me she wants a ladybug party. This year I am combining the ladybug and garden theme for a fun family adventure. My children do not like the idea of eating any food made to look like bugs or animals so I decided I would bake a cake in the shape of a flower using flower shaped baking pan and have the children help me to decorate it. We will also purchase a tea set decorated with ladybugs and she has decided that she wants a ladybug wings as well. Fancy dresses, bugs and chocolate dirt are going to take center stage for this birthday party. Decorate the party room with ladybug cutouts, flowers and bright spring color balloons.
Games and activities
- Coloring pages of bugs and plants
- Pin the spot on the ladybug: Make a large red ladybug using poster board and pin to the wall give each child a black circle with tape the back. Blindfolded, each child takes turns sticking the “spots” onto the ladybug.
- Planting flowers: Children will enjoy decorating plant pots, filling their pots with dirt and transplanting flower of their choice to take home.
- Tea Party: Children participate in a tea party with treats and various types of tea.
- Tea along with tiny crumpets, cookies, cake pops or cupcakes
- Pb&J sandwiches cut with flower cookie cutters
- Wonton cups filled with corn and black bean salad
- Taboule stuffed cherry tomatoes
- Flower shaped cake (a round cake with cupcakes around it for the petals
- Dirt cake made with chocolate cake and vegan whip topping, and vegan gummy worms
Geography World Party
My oldest son Lenon Coltrane Honor is a flight enthusiast and have recently discovered the excitement of flight simulation games, a hobby that he enjoys with his father. Avinash is also very interested in world cultures and geography in general so geography and travel themes is perfect for both of them. Offering foods from around the world works great here and because party games differ from continent to continent there is a lot of room for creativity. Decorate the walls with printable maps and flags. When children arrive give each child a cardstock “airplane ticket” and prepare them for world travel. Use a play tunnel as the travel tunnel that children journey thru to arrive at each destination activity station.
Games and Activities:
- World Travel Game have stations around the house for each continent and have activities that coincide with a culture for that continent. Also provide international music.
- Airplane race each child receives a foam airplane to race outdoors.
- Coloring pages and at each station provide themed coloring pages including maps and continents.
- Africa: Create West African face mask with paper plates and supplies. Allow masks to dry then have live drumming and children can dance while wearing their masks. OR children can make Kemetic collars by decorating the bottom half of paper plates or purchase crafts online
- Asia: Make Japanese paper fans, decorate pre-made fans or do Karaoke. Have an east Indian henna station
- South America: Create rain sticks by decorating paper towel tubes, sealing ends with foil and filling with beans.
- Europe: Parisian art station for paint on canvas or Italian Pizza station children make their own mini pizzas
- North America can be the last stop where cake is served or children can decorate their own cupcakes
- World foods: Have foods organized and labeled by continent and culture
- Africa Okaras and Sambusa
- Asia Wontons, Chinese noodles, and Samosas
- North America Vegan hotdogs and burgers
- South America black bean soup and fried plantains
- Europe Italian Focaccia, Pizza or pasta
- Antarctica Ice-cream or snow cones
- Earth cake bake a cake in a round oven proof bowl and place on top of a sheet cake decorate the earth cake with swirling greens and blues to represent oceans and continents. Place flags onto toothpicks and label continents and oceans. (use plant based food coloring)
Growing up in the Caribbean, I have fond memories of the sights and sounds of the beach, swims by the coral reef and lazy afternoon naps in hammocks. A great party theme for summer birthdays, the tropical party is very popular. Lending well to fresh summer fruits, this theme is the plant based party planner’s dream come true. Supplies for a luau party such as the leis are easily found locally or online. An underwater adventure theme goes well here with mermaids and underwater creatures but you can also go with a jungle theme as well. Decorate the walls with “grass fringe”, poster board flowers, tropical animals, birds or fish.
- Tissue paper flowers craft activity
- Hula hoop contest
- Under sea aquarium jar craft fill sanitized baby jars with water, glitter and tiny fish toys sealing the lids with glue.
- Beach dig: Use a children’s sandbox as an treasure dig for toys.
- Sand art kits are easy to find and provide hours of fun.
- Limbo game
- Pass the Coconut (hot potato game)
- Fruit kabobs or watermelon boat
- Coconut rice and beans
- Tamales with decorative ribbons tied to them
- Pineapple upside down cake
- Tropical punch: Combine various fruit juices and carbonated water, include pineapple chunks and strawberry slices in punch bowl
- Ice cream cake or cupcakes topped with tiny paper umbrellas
I hope that the party ideas and menus provided here are inspirations for you to venture out and create wonderful celebrations for those you love. With a little planning and lots of creativity you can entertain family and friends with plant-based menus that will make lasting impressions. So let’s all create happy memories and party.