By Gena Kittner
Holidays and food go together: Christmas and cookies, Thanksgiving and turkey, St. Patrick’s Day and … green beer and corned beef? Sure, but not if the crowd you’re entertaining consists of a bunch of toddlers and preschoolers.
But just because a few of the guests are still in diapers, doesn’t mean we can’t be festive. Here are a few ideas for some St. Patrick’s Day fun complete with rainbow craft and rainbow snacks that kiddos can enjoy during a playdate (while you and the other moms reminisce of crazier St. Patrick’s days gone by).
Rainbow Fruit Plate
This is a great way to serve a variety of fruit sure to please picky eaters. Arrange cut-up fruit pieces in an arch according to color to make a rainbow. My 3-year-old daughter had a great time helping with this. Marshmallows at the end can be replaced with gold fish or gold-wrapped candies for a more leprechaun feel.
Waffles are a great playdate/party food because they can be made (and even frozen) ahead of time and reheated in a 200 degree oven or toaster. Plus, waffles are easy for kids to eat, but not terribly unhealthy. Ellie and I used my heart-shaped waffle iron to make a batch the afternoon before her friends came over. A few drops of food coloring in the batter is all it took to turn plain waffles into rainbow treats. We used the Heart Smart Bisquik waffle mix, but any batter and iron will do.
A salty snack
I find all playdates require goldfish. They are salty goodness that every kid enjoys. We grabbed a bag of the rainbow-colored ones and set them out in pre-filled cups to avoid 10 preschooler hands in one bowl.
A Tasty Rainbow Craft
I love mixing food and crafts because if the kids don’t like the craft, at least they’ll have fun eating the food. For the rainbow craft, we set out bowls of Fruit Loops for kids to glue on paper plates and make a rainbow. They did more eating than gluing, but it was a fun, low-mess craft that kids of a wide-age range could enjoy.
So this St. Patrick’s Day, consider throwing a rainbow playdate and joining me in raising a frothy glass of green milk (and maybe indulging in a few gold coins at the end of the rainbow).
Gena is a Midwest transplant living in Tucson, Arizona with her husband and 3-year-old daughter, Ellie. When not killing scorpions, Gena writes about food and family. Follow her on Twitter @genakittner, and check out her previous guest posts on Mommy Sanest.