Paper party plates are certainly a good deal safer and more convenient than handing out your best china plates for your six-year-old and his dozen or so friends to eat from. But there is a good deal more to choosing paper party plates than simply electing not to use your best china. Today we're going to look at four things which are helpful to think about when choosing party plates for your children's birthday party. Often people tend to overlook at least one or two of these points, and so we hope it may be useful to draw these to your attention.
There is a bewildering array of themed paper plates for children's birthday parties, with everything from dinosaurs to Dora the Explorer, from rock music to Princesses and fairies. It is easy to assume that if you are having a themed birthday party for your child that you necessarily have to have themed plates. Certainly children will be thrilled if they do have themed plates, but of course in many cases these can be a little more expensive than the ordinary coloured or plain white ones. Ultimately it will depend upon your budget as to whether you can afford themed plates or not, but of course it's worth being aware of the fact that children will not be able to spend very much time admiring the picture on the plates, since they are likely to be full of food fairly quickly! It is also worth bearing in mind the fact that coloured paper plates, which are often cheaper, can still tie in with the overall theme you have chosen. For example, if you have chosen a prates theme then you may find that either black or gold party plates tie in perfectly. Similarly if you have chosen a Disney Princess theme then pink paper plates are also perfect.
Paper plates do vary in size, but essentially the two most popular sizes you will come across are 7 inch and 10 inch. Obviously it will depend upon several factors, including whether the children will be being given a fairly substantial dinner, or a light lunch. But as a general rule you will find that small children do better with smaller plates, partly because they are easier to carry without them drooping or tipping, resulting in food going on the floor, and also because children often tend to fill up their plates with nibbles, cakes, sandwiches, crisps and other goodies, pretty much regardless of how big the plate is. Giving children a 7 inch plate means that their plates appear fuller more easily, and that the food will therefore go further, with less wastage. On the other hand, for older children you may find that paper plates up to 10 inches in diameter allow them to place their food on the plate without having to create interesting pyramids which turn their meal into an archaeological dig!
Not all paper plates are round. Granted, this is the most common shape, but if you look through the range of party plates on our website you'll notice that there are several which are square, and even a few which have unusual shapes. For example we have an animal themed paper plate which is shaped like a farm barn, an army camouflage plate which is shaped like an army jacket, a Tinkerbell party plate shaped like a flower, and firefighter party plates shaped like a fire engine! To some extent having a shaped plate is of course a novelty, and certainly something which the children will adore. But you might also consider whether perhaps a shaped plate to some extent makes it easier for children to pick up food. Sometimes younger children may find that they are chasing things around the edge of a circular plate, whereas the angles of a shaped or square plate make it a little easier to pick up food. It's a very small point, but worth considering perhaps.
The depth of party plates does vary quite a bit, with some of them being extremely flat, and others having a much deeper raised edge. The advantage of having deeper plates, such as our dogs party plates, is that for younger children who may have to walk back with their plates from a buffet table there is less chance of food slipping off the edge of the plate. If you are serving a meal which includes something like baked beans or gravy then of course deep sided plates help to prevent any potential leakage. These are the four main issues which it is helpful to consider when choosing party plates for your children's birthday party. No doubt there are other factors which will come into play, but we always recommend that if possible involve your child in the decision-making process, making them aware of the fact that there is obviously going to be a limited budget. Determining right from the start exactly how many children will be invited to the party will help to set a specific limit on the budget. If children are involved then it can help them feel even more excited about sharing everything with their friends on the day. If you think there's anything we have missed as far as choosing paper plates is concerned, or you have any comments about the use of party plates please feel free to drop a little comment in the box below.