Potluck Ideas for Kids

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Potlucks are common group dinner ideas because they provide variety, allow each person to determine what is easiest and convenient, and because they take very little organization. Each person who brings a dish knows there will be at least one item he can eat. When planning a kids' potluck, parents or organizers may determine that some adult oversight is necessary to obtain a healthy meal.

Pizza Potluck

  • Most kids love pizza and can consume large quantities. Suggest the majority of the kids pick up their favorite large pizza and bring it to the event. Ask any kids who have food issues with pizza ingredients to bring a salad or other side items to share. Organize one or two kids who will bring beverages for the group and someone to bring fruit or other dessert items. The organizer brings plates, cups, napkins, serving and eating utensils.

Ethnic Potluck

  • If the kids are studying a specific culture or country, plan a potluck around the foods common to the people being studied. Search the Internet for recipes or ask the parents of the kids if anyone has recipes for that group. For example, if you are studying Native Americans tribes you could check sites like native-languages.org or thegutsygourmet.net. Allow the children to try a bite of each dish before loading up the plate. Send home all of the recipes collected for the unit and a note to the parent requesting a specific dish.

Camp Out Potluck

  • For an overnight trip, plan a camp out potluck with foods that you can cook over a campfire. Hamburgers and hot dogs may work for many of the kids, but plan something suitable for any vegetarians or vegans in the group such as beans, soy dogs or soy burgers. Alternatively, ask the kids to bring specific canned vegetables to prepare a vegetarian soup and allow your meat eaters to add canned chicken or prepare two different soups to accommodate those who eat meat and those who do not. For dessert, offer traditional camp favorites such as s'mores or toasted marshmallows.

Bring-an-Ingredient Potluck

  • Pass out a list of specific ingredients you want the kids to bring. Assign each child a specific item from the list. When the kids arrive, pass out the recipes that go with the ingredients and have the kids make their own meal. For example, several kids can bring ground beef, another brings two packages of spaghetti, and two bring spaghetti sauce. Another group of kids brings salad ingredients and bread to round out the makings of a spaghetti and meat sauce dinner.

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