How to Make Your Kids Enjoy Mealtimes: Fun Dinner Ideas
Dinner times can carry all kinds of pressure and stress, from the organisation and planning to your child’s eating habits and their nutrition. Mealtimes are a time to be enjoyed and to reconnect with your family after a long day, no one should be stressed, not you or your little ones. So, this blog is introducing some fun dinner ideas to you, via food, tableware, and general mealtime tips, to have that truly special dinner time meal.
Fun Dinner Ideas for Your Family
Key Tips for Fun Family Dinner:
- Make family mealtimes regular,
- Do not rush mealtimes, allow everyone to relax and enjoy their dinner,
- Gather the whole family as much as possible,
- Get the little ones involved: shopping, preparation, and cooking,
- Keep communication going; allow everyone to talk about their day, how they’re feeling – anything they feel they want to say,
- Reward good behaviour: whether your little one is sitting still, trying new foods, or said please and thankyou – praise them!
- Don’t stress - mess can be cleaned up, it’s more important your little one sees you relaxed and enjoying mealtime,
- Get Creative: tableware, meals, and chat!
Fun Kids’ Tableware
Our tableware at Tiny Dining is the epitome of child-friendly, as well as the ultimate way to let them embrace their imagination.
Bamboo Fibre Range This range is made from bamboo fibres, available in plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery so you can have the full set.
Bamboo is naturally robust so it will withstand any tantrums or frisbeeing across the room.
The segmented design makes dinner fun for kids because for those who hate their food touching, it eliminates this, and they can practise and develop their motor skills by picking up food against the sides of each section.
More importantly, these plates are a fun dinner idea because they come in a variation of designs – cars, flowers, dinosaurs – there is bound to be something your little one will go crazy for. If they love their tableware, it will encourage them to behave during mealtimes.
Suction Range This is a similar bamboo range, which has all the same benefits, plus more for that next level, fun dinner.
These plates come in a variation of styles whereby they are shaped like certain animals – unicorns, dinosaurs, elephants – or simple squares. All of these designs also have the segmented structure as well as suction bases. If you haven’t seen suction bases before, the only thing you need to know is, they are the new must-have!
Suction bases are a ‘stay put’ initiative that keeps plates and bowls fixed to the table top, so even the strongest and angriest of little ones cannot move it.
They are made from silicone which matches our bamboo cutlery – with soft silicone tips to prevent injury. This has fun dinner written all over it because there are no more tantrums, from them or you! The suction cups mean there won’t be food across every surface of the room! Win win, right?
Another way to create a fun dinner, is by using colours. Our suction bases are available in a range of colours, so whatever your child’s favourite colour is that day, we’ve got it! Or even, mix and match colours, add some vibrancy to your fun dinner time. This could be used as teaching points for those who are still learning colours and it provides another element of choice for them – they can choose the plate and choose the colour.
Bring in more colour with the food too. Try to pick foods that are bright and colourful to keep your little ones engaged – colourful foods are often the healthy ones too!
Fun Dinner Ideas: Recipes
Pizza Casserole (serves 5)
Pizza Casserole is a great fun dinner idea because it’s a combination of pizza and pasta – who doesn’t love that! Your little ones can choose their own favourite toppings, even help you shop for them and then even help you make them!
This can be made even more fun by encouraging the little ones to create designs on the top, make shapes or faces etc., perhaps even a competition between friends or siblings!
- 230g Penne Pasta
- 14g Pizza sauce (or any tomato sauce)
- 1 Mozzarella Ball
- 50g Parmesan
- ALL your favourite pizza toppings
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook penne pasta until al dente.
- While pasta cooks, cook any meat topping (if you have any). Cook fully.
- Drain the pasta and pour it into a large bowl.
- Chop up the mozzarella and add to the bowl, along with the pizza sauce and all other toppings. Toss until fully combined.
- Grease an ovenproof dish and pour mixture into it.
- Top with parmesan and any remaining mozzarella or toppings.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is fully melted.
Pizza Casserole is a great fun dinner idea you can make at any time, store in the fridge or freezer and reheat when you want it, whether it be later that day, or freezing it until next week!
Fun Dinner Top Tip: serve this in our Children’s Bamboo Suction Plate, with the main section for the Pizza Casserole and smaller sections for ketchup and garlic bread!
Mac ‘n’ Cheese Hot Dogs (makes 24 hot dogs)
Another fun dinner idea is Mac ‘n’ Cheese Hot Dogs. Hot dogs remind me of being at a fun fair or a BBQ – either way somewhere fun! Your little ones can help put the hot dogs together and sprinkle the cheese on top for the finishing touches.
- 12 bread dough dinner rolls,
- 64g panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 12 hot dogs (can use veggie/vegan alternatives)
- 1 macaroni and cheese dinner mix
- Grated cheese for the top.
- Preheat oven to 180°.
- Cut each roll in half; shape each half into a 3-in.-longmini hot dog bun. Place 2 in apart on greased baking sheets.
- Bake buns until golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
- In a baking pan, toss breadcrumbs with onion, oil, salt, and pepper. Bake at 180° until golden brown, stirring once, 5-7 minutes.
- Cook hot dogs and macaroni and cheese according to package directions.
- To serve, cut hot dogs crosswise in half. Split buns; fill with hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle with toasted crumbs.
You can add any other favourite toppings to make this a fun dinner, e.g., bacon or olives.
We also have Tiny Lunch Bags for your little ones with a huge range of colours and designs – these recipes would make perfect lunch box meals for on the go!
Dinner times are stressful, you are not alone! But these Fun Dinner ideas should help make mealtimes that bit more enjoyable, for everyone. I hope this gave you some inspiration, food for thought and fun dinner ideas for you and your family.
Thanks for reading,
Love, Poppy, and The Tiny Dining Team