Here’s what happens when you let kids design their own party cheese plate: they come up with some interesting combinations that you would have never thought of and they might find a little inspiration to try some new foods. Most importantly, they’ll have a great time letting their creativity flow. Over the years I have really come to appreciate how much kids enjoy the chance to make choices at mealtime. Just giving them options reduces how picky they are and makes eating together a lot more fun for everyone.
I would like to take credit for this brilliant cheese plate idea, but all the credit goes to Ria. I’m not exactly sure where she came up with the idea, but once she put it out there it wasn’t hard to sell me on it. We spent a good deal of time discussing, then shopping for what would go on her cheese plate which included some of her favorite cheeses (she is partial to the ooey-gooey creamy triple cream ones), crackers, salami, fruits, nuts, olives etc. Once the ingredients were procured she added her artistic flair and came up with this lovely design for a party that we hosted:
Our next adventure in junior cheese plate design came in the form of a dinner play date with Luca and Stacie. They brought over some of their own favorite bits and pieces to add to the mix and the kids got to work. They eagerly dove into the project first choosing their plates, then checking out all the goodies. It was delightful listening to Luca and Ria’s conversation and descriptions of what they were thinking as they worked on their designs — a rainy day-themed plate complete with raisin raindrops; artfully drizzled apple slices; sweet and salty dried fruit and salami bites — and a wonderful thing to hear them encourage each other to taste and sample. We made sure their plates were hearty enough to qualify as supper (giving us adults a night off from dinner duty) so Stacie and I sat back with a refreshing beverage, nibbled and chatted. Cheers to that!
We love this as a fun and fuss-free play date for kids of any age. Given the call for cheese plates this time of year, it’s also a perfect activity to keep little hands busy amidst all the holiday revelry.
Listen to the kids discuss their cheese plates:
Here are some ideas and tips for hosting Your own parti du fromage:
- Involve your kids in the shopping and planning. We love any excuse to visit a specialty cheese store, but even a well-stocked market will do. Do some tasting and sampling to get the ball rolling.
- Give the kids total free reign to pick some items, then suggest, nudge and supplement with others (and raid your pantry) so that you have a well-rounded assortment of things that will make a complete meal. You can still give kids a choice even in unfamiliar territory (“these olives or those?”, ‘”pick one of these”)
- Keep it lively by tasting and sharing opinions. Consider taste, texture, aroma, presentation and encourage everyone to share the stories and ideas behind their creations.
- For those who are less gung ho about the idea of cheese tasting, you could easily turn this from a cheese plate project into creative grilled cheese sandwich party. We recently hosted a grilled cheese party with a big bunch of kids and they had a blast experimenting with different combinations and coming up with crazy sandwich names. If you don’t have a panini press, you can toast your sandwiches up in a waffle iron which will make you the coolest play date host ever.
- Have even more fun by letting kids create a menu, write a description or make a drawing to accompany their creation.