Everyone has a favorite sports team — some more than others. If your child likes sports, he’d love to see his most liked hobby reflected in a birthday party theme.
Below are some of the best ideas to impress your child’s guests. Best of all, they don’t have to break the bank.
Football Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Few flavors pair each other as nicely as chocolate and fresh strawberries. Strawberries are a healthy addition to the snack table, even if the chocolate somewhat negates it. Calories don’t count at parties, right?
Chocolate covered strawberries are easy to make on their own, and it will take little time to make them look like tiny footballs.
- Fresh strawberries, washed and dried. Don’t cut off the green leaves.
- Melting chocolate. Milk chocolate is preferred, as it most closely resembles the color of a football. If you want variety, though, you can use dark and white chocolate as well.
- A piping bag with a #2 tip. If you don’t have a piping bag, you could also use a Ziploc bag with a tiny hole cut out of one end.
- Melt the chocolate in a deep bowl.
- Dip the strawberries in the chocolate and place it on a serving tray lined with parchment paper.
- Let the chocolate harden.
- Decorate the strawberries to look like footballs with icing from the icing bag.
- Allow the icing to harden.
- Repeat these steps with other flavors of melting chocolate if you so desire.
- Otherwise, keep the strawberries in the fridge until it’s time to serve.
Strawberries are a delicious and healthy addition to the sports party festivities. If you sneak in a healthy snack under the guise of football, you can make even the pickiest eaters interested in picking it up.
Oreo Soccer Ball Candies
Our first idea is so simple and easy to do; you could probably get it done in under 20 minutes.
This sugary snack involves chocolate covered Oreos with candy soccer details on top. You can grab the soccer candies from the baking section of most grocery stores. If your local stores don’t have them, you can always purchase some online for cheap.
It’s so simple; you could have your child do it while you prepare other party aspects. Since kids love Oreos, chocolate, and soccer, this snack is sure to be a hit.
- One package of Oreos (preferably Double Stuf)
- White chocolate melting wafers
- Soccer candies
- Melt some white chocolate melting wafers in a bowl.
- Then dip the Oreos in the chocolate.
- Place them on a tray lined with parchment paper.
- Top them off with the soccer candies.
- Allow the chocolate to harden before serving.
Lots of items on this list are going to be sugary or junk food. While most kids ask for those sorts of things on their birthday, it would behoove you and your party guests to have some sort of healthy option on the table — even if no one chooses it. Who knows, the lone parent who stays will like eating something that’s more suited for their palate.
That’s why we suggest decorating oranges as if they’re basketballs and making them the centerpiece. Your guests can grab an orange and gently play with it like a basketball, pretending to dribble it and shoot it like a hoop before peeling it and enjoying it.
Best of all, this snack idea takes little time to prepare. You probably already have a Sharpie in your home somewhere, so all you need to do is get oranges.
If you’re not a basketball fan, it could help to pull up pictures of basketballs to ensure you’re getting the lines right. A Sharpie marker should be washable off an orange’s exterior, but save yourself the time.
Keeping up with the orange theme, most moms give their children orange slices at soccer practice. It’s a sort of unspoken code that oranges are one of the healthiest snacks for kids who play the game.
You can keep up that sentiment by simply cutting up orange slices and placing them next to soccer decorations. Kids who play the game and get plenty of orange slices will understand and enjoy their favorite fruit served up at a sports-themed party — even if they opt for the more sugary snacks first.
Football Field Cookies
If your little guy loves football, he’ll love seeing his favorite sport reflected in a delicious cookie.
Football field cookies encompass the sport as a whole, rather than focusing on a single aspect of the game like the ball or the goal post. And in this recipe, half the cookie will look like it’s filled with football stadium attendees, so your son can feel like he’s a member of that crowd.
- 1 cup unsalted butter — softened at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Green frosting
- White frosting
- Multi-colored nonpareils
- Put the granulated sugar and butter in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. The resulting mixture should be fluffy and colored a pale yellow.
- Add the egg on medium and incorporate it thoroughly.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix until evenly combined.
- Get out a separate bowl and whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and nutmeg.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients one scoop at a time, mixing after every addition until everything is fully incorporated.
- Turn on the mixer and let it beat the batter on medium for a minute or two.
- Add the milk once the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Scrape the dough out of the mixer and place it in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for about two hours.
- Once the time has passed, take out the cookie dough and knead it for a minute or two.
- Roll the cookie dough out on a flat surface until about ⅛ of an inch thick.
- With a round cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can from the rolled out dough. If you don’t have a round cookie cutter, a square one will do.
- Place the cookies on a baking tray covered in parchment paper. Pop the tray in the refrigerator to chill the cookies for about 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF during this time.
- Once the 15 minutes have passed, ball the cookies for about 10 to 14 minutes. It will depend on the size of the cookie. You’ll know the cookies are ready when they’re slightly golden brown on the edges.
- Let the cookies cool before decorating
Decorating the Cookies
- Cover half the cookie in white frosting.
- Then cover the other half in green frosting. Ensure both parts are as flat and smooth as possible.
- Cover the green part with a small square of parchment paper and add the nonpareils. The small balls should stick only to the white frosting, completely covering it. Try to cover up as much white frosting as you can.
- Remove the parchment paper. With a fine piping tip, add thin lines evenly across the green frosting to signal the football yard lines.
- Let the frosting harden before serving.
If you want, you could forgo adding the white lines to signify the football field yard lines and instead make a white goalpost. You can use this photo as a reference.
Either way, you’ve made a delicious cookie that everyone, sports fan or not, will love.
Basketball Snack Cups
If you want to lay off the sugar for a bit, these snack cups are an excellent way to feed your party guests while keeping up with the sports theme. They’re simple to make as well.
These basketball snack cups are an adorable addition to the food table. They’re something your rambunctious party guests can grab and go while they take turns playing games.
- 3 oz paper cups — all white. If the store doesn’t sell any all-white cups, you might have to grab some paint as well.
- Basketball boards printed on cardstock.
- Black Sharpie marker
- Small cheese puff snacks
- Design the basketball hoop board on a digital art program like Photoshop. If you don’t want to design anything, you can find a suitable photo of a hoop board (sans the hoop) online.
- Print out the hoop board on cardstock. Try to fit as many boards on the page as you can.
- Cut out the boards. Then, on either side, cut a little slit into the cardstock so that it could fit on the rim of a small paper cup.
- On the white paper cup, use the black Sharpie to draw diagonal lines across the side of the cup so that it looks like a basketball hoop.
- Once you’ve done that for all the cups, fill them with the cheese puff snacks.
- Place all the cups on a serving tray.
Since football is one of America’s most well-loved sports, you can honor the sport with delicious and easy to make footballs made out of brownies.
- ½ cup of vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup and 2 tbsp sugar
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- A cookie-cutter shaped like a football
- White icing
- #2 tip for piping
- Whisk together the dry ingredients — the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cocoa powder — until evenly combined.
- Then add the wet ingredients. Stir or whisk together until the batter is smooth and no chunks are detected.
- Pour the brownie batter into a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 350ºF. Use a toothpick or butter knife to test if the batter is fully cooked. If you can remove it cleanly, the batter is ready to be removed.
- Let the brownies cool before continuing.
- Flip the brownie sheet upside down. It’s easier to cut out shapes without cracking the delicious brownie crust top by doing it this way.
- Cut out as many football shapes as you can using the cookie cutter.
- Frost the brownies to look like footballs — a semi-circle on either end of the brownie and in the center for the laces.
- Let the icing harden before serving.
Your child will love the delicious chocolatey taste of home-made brownies, and it’s sure to score a lot of points with the houseguests as well.
Yellow Penalty Flag Lollipops
No one likes seeing a penalty flag — except when it has candy inside it. Not only can you make penalty flag lollipops quickly and easily, but your guests will like the creativity behind the treats as well.
- Yellow napkins
- Gold ribbon
- Completely unfold a bright yellow napkin.
- Place a lollipop in the center of the napkin.
- Wrap the napkin around the lollipop so that the candy is completely covered.
- Tie a bit of ribbon around the head of the lollipop to secure it in place.
- Repeat steps 1-5 until you have enough penalty flag lollipops.
It’s so simple; you could make this treat in a pinch. The kids will like playing around with the lollipops before actually eating them. Thankfully, lollipops tend to be durable.
You don’t have to use suckers if you don’t want to for this treat, though. Any candy will do. You could use jelly beans, M&Ms, Jolly Ranchers, or any other candy you think your guests will like. You could even use multiple candies to diversify the penalty flags. It’s all up to you!
Basketball Peanut Butter Cups
This idea is another quick one. It requires no baking or preparation other than filling a piping bag with frosting. All you need is a bag of full-sized Reese’s peanut butter cups and some orange frosting, as pictured here.
- Reese’s peanut butter cups
- Orange frosting
- #2 piping tip
- Unwrap all Reese’s peanut butter cups.
- Place them on a serving tray.
- Get the orange piping bag ready with the #2 tip
- Ice the peanut butter cups to look like basketballs.
Simple yet effective. Kids love peanut butter cups and basketball, so making basketballs out of peanut butter cups is another way to liven up the party in a simple and inexpensive way.
Stadium Guacamole Dip
You can’t just feed the party guests brownies and peanut butter cups until they wait for the main meal. You can provide something more substantial to help your guests fill up on healthier food in between games of football and soccer.
Guacamole dip styled to look like a football stadium is the perfect way to do that. Guacamole is not only healthy, filled with delicious avocados packed with healthy fats, but you can surround the dip with healthy veggies to entice the party guests to grab a bell pepper or carrot and dig in.
It’s simple and easy to make. You can make the guacamole from scratch in as little as ten minutes — aided if you have a food processor. Otherwise, store-bought guacamole is another way to make this process go a lot faster. Either way, your guests will love the thought you put in to make simple guacamole dip look like a football stadium.
- Lots of guacamole — enough to fill a medium aluminum serving tray.
- Sour cream
- Cheddar cheese
- Black olive slices
- Artichoke dip
- Dipping items to include on the side of the dip, such as sliced corn chips, bell peppers, pretzel sticks, sliced bread, etc.
- Fill the medium aluminum serving tray with guacamole. The guacamole should come up to ¾ of the serving tray.
- On one side of the guacamole, add some artichoke dip. This is technically the audience for one end of the imaginary football game, so make the artichoke dip about two inches wide.
- On the other side of the guacamole tin, add an equal amount of salsa.
- Next to the guacamole and salsa going inward, add a strip of cheddar cheese topped with black olives to stand as the end zones.
- In the middle of the guacamole dip, add the 50-yard line then the two 40 yard lines on either side of it.
- Add the dipping foods to the edges of the guacamole dip, such as the corn chips, bell peppers, pretzel sticks, sliced bread, etc.
- The dip is ready to serve immediately. If you’re prepping it before guests come, cover the guacamole in plastic wrap so that it doesn’t turn brown in the air.
You’ll have enough guacamole to feed about 10 people. Have some replenishments for the dipping foods on stand-by because of the chips, carrots, and what not will run out faster than the dip. It would be inconvenient to have plenty of dip left but nothing to eat it with.
Kids love pepperoni pizza. They especially love pepperoni pizza with a lot of pepperoni on it, which is what we’ll be doing for this pizza. The design of the football will be made out of pepperoni, with mozzarella cheese sticks comprising the football’s laces.
For more control over the taste and design of the pizza, you should make it from scratch. However, if you want to save time, you can buy a frozen cheese pizza and add the pepperoni football and cheese lattice yourself.
This idea will assume you want to make the pizza from scratch (aside from the pizza dough).
- Store-bought pizza dough
- Marinara sauce
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Any other cheese you’d like
- Pepperoni slices
- Mozzarella sticks
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured, flat surface. Roll it out to about 10 inches in diameter.
- Once the dough has been rolled out, spread marinara sauce evenly across it. Then add the cheeses for the base.
- Over the cheese, make the shape of a football out of pepperoni slices.
- Cut up mozzarella sticks into thin strips and create the lace shape over the football pepperoni.
- Bake the pizza in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese starts to turn golden brown.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and allow it to cool before cutting.
If your child loves meat, you could swap out the pepperoni for sausage or ground beef. The same general process would still apply. The only difference is that you’d either have to ball up the sausages or create one even layer of meat over the cheese. The latter would take longer to cook, but meat lovers would rejoice at the sight of it.
Sports Themed Mason Jars
What are you going to hold your plastic forks, spoons, knives, and straws in when the guests arrive? You can put them in a plain cup or jar, but you can add a little more pizzazz to the festivities by painting glass mason jars to look like iconic sports items or teams.
You can tailor the mason jars to look like whatever would please the birthday boy, such as his favorite sports team. Or you can make it generalized sports fun with the addition of multiple types of sports and games.
We’ve included a few suggestions below.
- The NFL logo
- The NBA logo
- The MLB logo
Of course, pick whichever item you think would be best suited for the party you’re throwing. Once you gather all the paint and brushes, it should take an hour or two to paint the mason jar — depending on how much detail you’re using with what you’re drawing.
The NFL logo will probably take longer to draw than, say, the NBA logo since the former has all those starts to draw, but imagine the look on the birthday boy’s face when he sees his favorite league painted on a jar that he can keep afterward.
All the ideas on this list are simple and can be made at home. Lots of them center on food, but you can bring the same sports decoration to the banners, plates, and cutlery you use. Of course, you can have the game playing on a TV in the background. Everything on this list and more adds to the wonderful atmosphere of sports for the party.