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5 Fun Food Activities For Tweens and Teens

Updated on January 30, 2013

Do You Need Some Creative Food Activities And Ideas For Your Tweens And Teens?

If you've ever chaperoned a group of tweens, you know that they can get creative with food, and sometimes, that's not a good thing! I remember sitting at a table in an ice cream parlor, amongst a group of honor society students, who created every combination of table ingredients they could think of, and then some. The supervisor of the club made them clean up after themselves, but this wasn't my version of a great math lesson, nor would the salt-pepper-soda concoctions win any culinary awards. Tweens, even those at the top of their class, will goof off. Teens tend to rise above this immaturity, a little bit, but are still susceptible to goofing off with food.

Counteract that tendency, and provide some fun and creative food activities, whether it's for your tween or teen's next birthday party, or just for an informal get together during summer vacation. You can have a blast, the kids can use their creative thinking, and the results can still be edible! Start with your own creative thought, or borrow mine, and use fun names for your events. While it's easy to label something as a "bar" or "buffet", a fun name leads to better reception from your participating tweens and teens. My kids in this age range have a blast, watching Cake Boss, Last Cake Standing, and Dinner Impossible, to name a few. These types of titles can add greatly to your tween/teen food activity.

Some Fun Toppings to Include

Nacho Cheese Sauce
Shredded Cheeses
Refried Beans
Ground Beef, Crumbled
Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
Green Salsa
Red Salsa
Pico de Gallo
Sour Cream
Jalapeño Peppers 
Sliced or Diced Tomatoes 
Shredded Lettuce 
Chopped Cilantro
Diced or Minced Onion

Nachos Libre

Nachos are easy, and popular with tweens and teens. Libre is the Spanish word for free. Have a free for all buffet/bar, with nachos as the central theme. If you like, include the movie, "Nacho Libre", or provide a host of Mexican foods and activities at your get-together. It can be complex, or simple.

Plenty of tortilla chips will be needed, as well as nacho cheese sauce, and lots of additional toppings. You can use shredded cheese, as well, for a different texture, and you can be creative, using interesting cheese blends or flavors. Provide lots of different toppings, appropriately cooked, sliced, chopped, or otherwise prepared. Refer to the table at the right for some ideas.

Allow your guests to build their own custom nacho plates, and use sturdy, microwaveable paper plates, so that any heating that might need to take place will be easy to accommodate.

In addition to your Nacho toppings, make sure you include a selection of refreshments that complement the theme, including limonada (lemonade, or limeade), horchata, or fruit flavored sodas. A piñata is fun for tweens and teens, and you can include some authentic Mexican candies in the mix, to make it interesting. Tweens are generally up for the challenge of tasting chile flavored dulces (candies).

Variations: Tacos, Tostadas, or Burritos...each of these can be a buffet or bar style meal, a fun food activity for your tweens or teens. Tacos Libre, Tostadas Libre, Burritos Libre, just adjust the name to suit your food!

Pizza Toppings List

Regular Pasta or Pizza Sauce
Spicy Pasta or Pizza Sauce
Alfredo Sauce
Assorted Shredded Cheeses
Sliced Peppers
Slice Tomatoes
Chopped Ham
Canadian Bacon
Ground Sausage 
Ground Beef
Chunks of Grilled Chicken
Sliced Grilled London Broil Pieces

Pizza Boss

Again, working with a popular theme, familiar to those who love the cooking show, "Cake Boss", the idea can be transferred to a personalized pizza party, with a buffet of toppings for your tweens and teens to use in creating their perfect pie! You make (or buy) the dough, and pre-bake, let the kids slop on their toppings, decoratively, artistically, or however they wish. Pie tins work well in terms of gauging size. Make sure you have "to go" boxes, though, for those who can't finish off their creations. Use Sharpie pens to label!

The simplest dough, in our household, is your basic white bread dough from Fanny Farmer's Baking Book.We roll the dough out in a combination of flour and cornmeal, and bake at 450 degrees F. Time will be less for pie tins, 5-7 minutes, whereas we bake for 10 minutes with whole Pizza crusts. This is best done ahead, so that there isn't a huge delay when your tweens and teens are ready to eat. No food activity is fun, if it gets bogged down, so plan and time it for your guests, with lots of extra toppings for nibblers!

Set things up a little bit like an assembly line, so that tweens move through the selections in order, from sauce, to cheese, to veggies and fruits, to meats. Make it interesting, giving kids the chance to write down their perfect pizza toppings, and designs, and take photos as each tween/teen retrieves his or her creation. Make a keepsake book, which you can self publish with a print on demand company such as Lulu. These can be created, and given at a later date, to record the fun! Have prizes in categories such as "Most Attractive Pizza", "Best Tasting", "Originality Award", "Biggest Disaster", and "You're the Boss"! You can think up as many pizza awards as you like, provide ballots, and take votes! A "Pizza Boss" food activity is a great way to allow tweens and teens to have some creative fun with food!

Toppings, Anyone?
Toppings, Anyone?
Cuisinart WMR-CA Round Classic Waffle Maker
Cuisinart WMR-CA Round Classic Waffle Maker

This is the style of waffle iron our household uses, and it's perfect for the job. Making waffles for 10 is a time consuming activity, though, so enlist others to help if you are trying to pull off a huge party.

Oster CKSTWF40 4-Slice Waffle Maker, Black
Oster CKSTWF40 4-Slice Waffle Maker, Black

If you highlight lots of toppings, you can get away with smaller waffles. The squares this waffle iron produces can give you a little help in terms of crowd management!


Waffle Wars

Pancake breakfasts are notoriously popular as closing activities for a tween or teen sleepover. Breakfast generally signifies the end of the party, and is often something special, particularly if it is in honor of a birthday celebrant. Make this birthday breakfast one to remember, with a waffle bar.

As a food activity for your tweens and teens, the Waffle War is not a food fight, so put those notions aside immediately, unless you are prepared to deal with such a melee. You can make your waffles from scratch, or you can work with the frozen variety. If you have a crowd to feed, you can pre-make waffles, and freeze or refrigerate, as well. Otherwise, with a crowd, you need a couple of cooks, a couple of extra waffle irons, and a LOT of patience. Did I mention a lot of patience?

Have waffle toppings ready in advance, and set things out nicely. Again, assembly lines help, with things well organized. You can also create stations: a sweet station, for sweet toppings; a savory station; a fruit station; and a dairy station. The list, below, gives some ideas, but would certainly be more than needed at a small gathering. Pick and choose the items that work best for your tween/teen food event.

Station Ideas for a "Waffle Wars" Breakfast Activity

Sweet Station 
Maple Syrup 
Fruit Flavored Syrups/Sauces
Ice Cream Syrups
Jimmies and Sprinkles
Chocolate Chips
Other Candy Chips
Cookie Crumbles
Savory Station
Cheese Sauces
Scrambled Eggs
Diced Vegetables, Fresh 
Stir Fried Vegetables 
Fruit Station
Sliced Berries
Macerated Berries
Dairy Station
Ice Cream
Canned Whipping Cream
Heavy Cream, Whipped
Cool Whip
Cream Cheese
Cheesecake Filling
Cooked Berry Sauce for Waffles or Crepes
Cooked Berry Sauce for Waffles or Crepes
Boston Warehouse Ice Cream Spade, Whale Design
Boston Warehouse Ice Cream Spade, Whale Design

A fun ice cream scooper, or spade, in this case, can lend a great deal of fun to a tween or teen food related event.

Zak Designs Wave 6-Ounce Individual Bowls, Assorted Brights, Set of 4
Zak Designs Wave 6-Ounce Individual Bowls, Assorted Brights, Set of 4

Bright ice cream bowls reflect the energetic nature of tweens!


Matterhorn Madness

My favorite high school job was at Baskin Robbins, and in those days, the "Matterhorn" was a fun, but high priced menu item. The treat was composed of 7 scoops of ice cream, along with 7 toppings, of the customer's choice, topped with whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry! For one of the summer birthdays in our family, though, my parents footed the bill for 7 different B&R ice creams (a gallon of each), and we made our own Matterhorns at home.

Name the party what you wish, but make it a funky and fun name, highlighting the ice cream bar. You dream up the toppings, sauces, and flavors. Highlight with colorful, or crazy, ice cream dishes and spoons. Tweens and teens will rarely turn down ice cream, and this is one way to make a great name for yourself amongst their peers!

S'Mores Extravaganza

Again, no significant planning is needed, and a S'mores Extravaganza event can be the culmination to your tween/teen barbecue. Hot dogs and burgers, let the kids eat, let the food settle, and then, pull out the mallows!

Gourmet marshmallows are fun; peeps are fun, too, as are giant Campfire marshmallows. Flavored marshmallows, mini marshmallows, and just plain normal mallows. Have a variety of candy bars, not just chocolate. Try some Reese's S'mores, for example! Or Crunch bar S'mores. There are lots of possibilities. Mini chocolate chips, and other flavored candy chips can be used. Candy melts, ice cream toppings, and sprinkles are great. Graham crackers are traditional, but why not use chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, or sugar cookies? Get creative, then let the teens and tweens get creative. They'll love it!

During this S'Mores event, the Giant Campfire Mallows were stuffed with mini chocolate baking chips, then skewered and toasted for an appearance between a set of graham cracker squares!  Delicious!
During this S'Mores event, the Giant Campfire Mallows were stuffed with mini chocolate baking chips, then skewered and toasted for an appearance between a set of graham cracker squares! Delicious!

Now that you have the idea...

5 great teen and tween food activities have been presented for you to use, or improvise upon. All you need to do is consider the foods that your tweens and teens love, and then think of a way to plan a party or activity around them. The occasion doesn't need to be formal, and a fun food event is a sure way to keep boredom at bay during the summer months. More than a boredom crusher, though, a food activity is a way to be involved in your young person's life in a positive manner. These years will fly quickly, and you will appreciate the time you took to smell the roses, or rather, S'mores!


Submit a Comment

  • sagebrush_mama profile image

    sagebrush_mama 6 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

    Great idea, Stephanie...there are lots of possibilities, following that line of thought! French bread, Mexican themed pizzas on flour tortillas, maybe even a combination of pizza with waffles! Thank you for the suggestion!

  • Stephanie Wideman profile image

    Stephanie Wideman 6 years ago from Stafford, VA

    Very cool hub. On the pizza one, instead of pizza dough, get Na'an bread. It's a flat bread that my family uses for personal pizzas. You get two to a pack and it's so good. I might use one of these ideas for my next party.

  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

    Unique hub but great advice--food is always a hit with teens. And, tweens want to be just like teens so it is an easy selling point. Cool.

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

    Hahaa, I don't care HOW old someone is- all of these activities make for great times :D