The big race is just days away and it’s time to up the stakes on your Kentucky Derby party. Whether you are a seasoned party-planner or this is your first time watching the events from home, be sure to incorporate some fun ways to share the fastest 2 minutes in sports with the children in your life.
The Children’s Hospital Foundation Office of Prevention & Wellness of Norton Children’s Hospital has some tips to keep your party entertaining and enjoyable for kids of all ages:
Look the part
What is the Kentucky Derby without a great outfit? Gather old dresses, formal clothing and, most important, hats for kids to play dress-up.
Create your own photo booth with fun props and a backdrop. Craft and dollar stores have a variety of inexpensive horse-themed decorations and silk red roses to create a selfie-worthy set.
A sure bet
Have kids make their own jockey silks using paper plates or posterboard, construction paper and markers. Run yarn through them to tie around the children’s waists, or attach popsicle sticks for hand-held silks. The kids will need them later for the “running of the daddies” (described below).
Encourage the kids to come up with fun and creative names for a horse to go with their silks.
Offer “horse treats” (think carrot sticks and apple slices) for the kids to snack on while they work.
Running of the daddies (or mommies)
Get the adults moving before the big race by having a race of your own with the kids. Once the jockey silks have been made, it’s piggyback racing time with parents and kids showing off their silks.
Try a few different kinds of races that include both kids and adults, or just kids, such as galloping, trotting (jogging), skipping and hopping.
Precut horseshoe-shaped poster board or construction paper for the kids to decorate with craft supplies, glitter glue, silk flowers — you get the idea.
If you want to go all out, turn these into picture frames for photos taken at your photo booth. The photo can fit into the inner oval of the horseshoe.
Kid-friendly mocktails and munchies
Party-goers of all ages need to stay well fed and hydrated. Here are some ideas for Derby-themed drinks and food:
- Ginger peach iced tea – A classic Southern staple, sweet tea can be made healthy and tasty by infusing unsweetened tea (caffeinated or uncaffeinated) with slices of fresh ginger and peaches.
- Mint pineapple julep – Pour pineapple-infused water over crushed ice and top with a sprig of fresh mint. Use fun glasses or straws to keep the youngsters sipping all day long.
- Horseshoe-shaped fruit tray – Arrange fresh pineapple to make a horseshoe shape and surround with berries, grapes, melon chunks or your favorite fruits. Try a yogurt dip in the middle of the horseshoe.
- Triple Crown sliders – Using mini buns or slices of baguette (for open-face sandwiches), top each sandwich with low-fat turkey, low-fat ham and a slice of tomato for a winning appetizer.
- Track mix – Like trail mix, but even better! Combine your favorite mix of nuts with sunflower seeds, mini M&M’s, raisins or dried fruit, and popcorn.