An eighth birthday celebration for a tomato-loving kid.
A kid’s summer birthday party designed around tomatoes? Absolutely! One that would delight the kids and keep the parents’ eyes off of their phones? Of course! Here’s what we came up with…
The children ranged in age from under one year old to 8, and we knew we had to keep the tempo with some short “burst” activities (10-15 minutes each). Here’s the roundup of the activities:
- Big Tomato: A judge from the International Tomato Society heard about our huge tomato (decoupage over an exercise ball!) and came to see it. He examined it and awarded us a blue ribbon. We are still not sure how he found out about our tomato?
- A Book: We read the children Food Fight Fiesta by Tracey Kyle. It tells the story of the annual tomato food fight tradition in Buñol Spain and is a quick read with wonderful illustrations.
- La Tomatina: So of course we had to do our own “Tomatina.” We used foam clown noses as tomatoes and the children wore protective glasses just for fun.
- Squirt Contest: We experimented with squirting, stomping, squeezing, and open-mouth biting into tomatoes to see how we could create the biggest squirt and how far the seeds would fly.
- Canning Demo: We showed the children how to can tomatoes. They absolutely loved smelling the basil and getting their hands dirty peeling tomatoes.
This was a summer brunch, and the menu was tomato-forward and light. We served:
- Wheatberry salad with sundried tomatoes (Ina Garten)
- Caprese & BLT fixins (good grief do people love bacon!) with pizza bianca (Serious Eats)
- Tomato Tart (Smitten Kitchen)
- Watermelon and clementines
- Tomato, Basil, and Peach popsicles (Yes! You read that right!)
- Black Magic Cake (‘Dirt Cake’) with a middle layer of mascarpone and ganache topping
For the big kids, we made surprise balls, and for the babies, tomato-wrapped bibs. The favors doubled as table decoration, too!
For the table, we went with bright yellow sunflower arrangements with tomatoes poking out and hanging on them. Vintage orchard bushels and stacks of heirloom and other big tomatoes added to the fun.
We set out tomato-related children’s books so any children in need of a quiet space would have a diversion. If you ever need a kid’s tomato reading list, we recommend:
- Food Fight Fiesta by Tracey Kyle
- Charlie & Lola’s I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
- Tomatoes from Mars by Arthur Yorinks and Mort Drucker
Perhaps the best part of this whimsical event was seeing the children sneak handfuls of cherry tomatoes as one might expect someone to grab candy or potato chips. They even clamored for the tomatoes on top of the cake!