1. Holiday Party Mix
Ask your budding host to toss into a large bowl 10 cups of popcorn, 3 cups of mini pretzels, and 2 cups of chocolate candies. You melt two (8-ounce) bars of white or milk chocolate and, when liquid, add to the popcorn mixture. Then have your child top that with red and green sprinkles, or rainbow sprinkles. Let dry, and break into big pieces.
2. Pizza Muffins
Let your little hostess unfold two nine-inch piecrusts, and cut six circles into each, using a round cookie cutter or drinking glass. Help her fit each circle into one of the cups in a 12-cup muffin tin. Show her how to fill each cup with 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce and 2 tablespoons of grated mozzarella, and then add 1 tablespoon of chopped pepperoni to half the cups. Place the muffin tin in the oven. Bake the pizza muffins at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
3. Easy Nachos
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Invite your chef to line a baking sheet with parchment paper. He can arrange a bag of tortilla chips on the baking sheet. Let him sprinkle these evenly with 1 1/2 cups of grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese (or both!), and then add 1/4 cup of canned, chopped mild green chilies. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Spoon 1/3 cup of mild salsa over the chips and serve. (For variation, you can add some refried beans along with the chilies, and can top the salsa with some guacamole and/or sour cream.)
4. Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
Prepare (with your child) a package of a favorite chocolate cake mix and bake as directed, using cupcake tins. When cool, show the party host how to frost the cupcakes with a can of vanilla icing that you’ve flavored with a teaspoon of peppermint extract. Sprinkle each cupcake with some crushed candy cane.
5. Sparkling Holiday Punch
Let your little event planner help measure into a large pitcher or punch bowl 6 cups chilled cranberry juice, 3 cups chilled apple juice, and 2 cups chilled seltzer water. Stir to combine. Add ice cubes, slices of fresh fruit, and serve.
6. Vanilla Hot Chocolate
Make a favorite hot chocolate. When the liquid is warm, let your chef measure out 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for every 6 cups. Allow him to stir this into the pan. Heat the mixture and pour into a carafe or heat-safe pitcher. Don't forget to top with marshmallows!