Not sure how to entertain tweens and teens at their next birthday party? Try having a delicious competition. Turn them loose in the kitchen with a mini cake decorating challenge. Teens can explore their creativity as they cut cupcakes into shapes, stick them together with frosting or build towers by spearing the cakes with toothpicks or skewers. They’ll have a blast with this fun and delicious activity.

Start the challenge by giving each tween six, unfrosted cupcakes and two paper plates. Kids can build their creations on one paper plate and use the second plate for décor items. Write several different cake themes on slips of paper and place in a bowl or hat. Each participant draws a cake theme, and then must create a mini cake based on that theme. If you have a large group, divide guests into teams.

Make this activity as basic or as elaborate as you would like. Buy premade frosting and toppers or go wild with everything from fondant to homemade icing in a variety of colors. The suggested tools and toppings are just that – suggestions. Choose toppings that work for the themes that you will use or from what you have on hand.

Suggested tools

  • Two butter knives per kid, one for frosting and one to cut the cupcakes if needed
  • Box of sandwich bags
  • Bamboo kabob skewers or toothpicks
  • Scissors
  • Several bowls and spoons for tinting frosting
  • Small cookie cutters for fondant

Suggested toppings

  • Candy, such as jellybeans, gumdrops, M&Ms, red licorice, sour belts
  • Mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, sprinkles, canned whipped cream, flaked coconut
  • Premade fondant sheets
  • Liquid or gel food coloring
  • Frosting, premade or homemade, and in a variety of colors

Theme ideas

  • Buildings: the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Space Needle
  • Holidays: Independence Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day or Day of the Dead
  • Animals: cat, dog, monkey, frog or octopus
  • Objects: handbag, jewelry, hat or high heel shoe

– Tiffany Doerr Guerzon

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