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Pack a Party Punch with Fun Beverages

Drink recipes and add-ons your kids will love at their next birthday celebration

Tired of the same old pop and juice at kids' birthday parties? Add a little pizzazz with some punch. There's no measuring – toss in a little bit of this and a few squirts of that for your own unique party mix! Read on for some neat-o additions and recipes.

Fun flourishes

Taking a little extra time to add a whimsical garnish, secret ingredient or cut fruit can make a boring drink extraordinary.

  • Ice cube add-ins. Add cut-up fruit to juice or water in ice cube trays. Freeze to solid and pop the ice cubes into drinks just before serving.
  • Dry ice. Purchase small amounts of dry ice to make your party drink bubbly – and add a mysterious mist. Be careful: You shouldn't handle dry ice with bare hands, and kids shouldn't play with or handle it.
  • Cut-it out. Use small cookie cutters to create shapes with slices of pineapple, watermelon or even cucumbers. Toss the fruit into drinks or let it float in the punch bowl or pitcher.
  • Recipe: Cherry fake-out. Pour one to two two-liters of lemon-lime soda in clear punch bowl. Use food coloring to make the punch appear red. Kids will be surprised when what they think is cherry- or strawberry-flavored soda is actually citrusy. Bonus: Make colored ice cubes before the party (yellow or blue work well). As the ice cubes melt, the punch goes from red to orange – or purple!

Match the theme

Butterflies? Superheroes? Princesses? Pirates? Whatever your theme, you can make your drink match.

  • Straw signs. Create cardholders on your straws to remind guests of the theme. All you need is a computer. Use clip art or scanned images and print them onto a heavier weight cardstock. Cut out the images and punch a hole at the top and bottom. Thread straws through the holes to add to drinks.
  • Glorious garnishes. For your little princess, wrap edible flowers (available at grocers in the fresh produce section with herbs) around the punch bowl. Or have flowers floating in the bowl. You also could place gummy worms or bugs around – or inside – the punch bowl. One caveat: Gummy foods can pose a choking hazard if swallowed whole, so this isn't for small children (and keep your eye on older kids).
  • Punch bowl redo. Use a fish bowl for a tropical, animal or jungle theme. Find large beakers for a science party. Get creative with that container!
  • Recipe: Floating garden. Soften a half-gallon of vanilla ice cream by letting it stand at room temp for a half hour. Using a scoop, shape several round balls of ice cream and place them on a cookie sheet. Put the ice cream balls back in the freezer. Pour a green drink, like Hawaiian Punch, into a clear punch bowl. Just before serving, add the ice cream scoops. Place edible flower blossoms or gummy insects on top of each of the ice cream balls to create floating islands.

Go for the gross-out

For kids who want a really memorable drink, try something that looks disgusting. Kids will love it!

  • Color mixing. Try different combos. Add softened sherbet to colored pop. Or color the pop with food coloring. For example, add raspberry sherbet to red-colored soda, like Faygo Redpop. Add the sherbet in scoops to the punch or create a pink froth using a hand mixer. Do green punch with lime sherbet. Or make red-colored soda purple with a few drops of blue food coloring.
  • Ice cube insects. Add blueberries with water in an ice cube tray. They really look like bugs!
  • Power of suggestion. Have the kids use their imaginations. Label the punch to fit the gross theme. Tack a "Troll Boogers" sign to green punch or add a few raisins to the bottom of the bowl and tell the kids they're insects.
  • Recipe: Icky punch. This gross-looking, good-tasting combo, known in party circles as "muddy water," is always a hit. Mix orange juice and cola (like Coke or Pepsi) to create a brown, muddy-looking drink. Complete the look by adding gummy worms.

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