Of all the many famous duos that we know and love — Batman and Robin, Beauty and The Beast, Mickey and Minnie, Salt and Pepper — peanut butter and jelly are unquestionably at the top of the list when it comes to food. This perfect sandwich pairing is an iconic American staple that brings smiles to the faces of kids and adults alike. In fact, Americans eat enough peanut butter in a single year to make over 10 billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!
So, the next time you're looking for a fun and unique party theme that everyone's sure to love, throw a Peanut Butter and Jelly party! It’s easy! Here’s how.
Invite Your Guests
Craft custom invitations – Start by spreading the word about your party with these sweet PB&J invitations that your kids can make with just a little bit of help from you. All you need is a few simple supplies:
- Beige card stock
- Slice of bread (optional)
- Brown felt or construction paper
- Red or purple construction paper or felt
- White copy paper or card stock
- Pencil or marker
- Begin by folding a piece of beige card stock in half. On it, lightly trace around the edges of a slice of bread using the bread as a stencil (or use your imagination to draw it freehand). If you are using a real slice of bread, be sure that it's aligned with the leftmost side of the paper so that when you cut it out, some of the card stock along that side that will still be connected to its other half. Also, make sure that your card stock “bread” is small enough to fit into your envelopes.
- Next, draw the peanut butter on the brown felt — a square shape is easiest. Then, draw the jam on either the red or purple construction paper — try making a splatter shape that is slightly smaller than the peanut butter shape.
- Cut out the peanut butter and the jam.
- Now it’s time to glue the peanut butter and jam onto the bread. Sparingly, put glue on the back of the peanut butter and stick it onto one of the pieces of bread. Then glue the jam onto the peanut butter.
- Write a party greeting on the front and the details of the party on the inside using small sheets of white paper. To keep it simple, just make one and photocopy the rest. Come up with something clever and catchy, like “We’re Jammin’,” “Let’s Go Nuts,” “Join us for a nut-terrific time,” or “My party will be nuttin’ without you.”
- Once the invitations are dry, slip them into your stamped and addressed envelopes and send them off to your PB&J party guests!
Create Edible Floral Centerpieces
Kids love food that's fun to eat, and these healthy peanut butter, fruit and veggie flowers fit the bill! And, it’s a project that you and your kids can do together, spending some quality time in the kitchen.
- Fill several wide-mouthed, shallow containers with peanut butter.
- Empty sour cream tubs wrapped in colorful tissue paper and ribbon work nicely as “flower pots.” The peanut butter will serve as the edible layer of “dirt” that holds the stems of the flowers in place.
- To make miniature flowers, have your child take her favorite fruits (cantaloupe and watermelon work great) and cut them using small, flower-shaped cookie cutters. Then, with a sharp knife, carefully remove a small piece of melon from the center of each flower, creating a tiny hole through which the edible stem can be inserted. Make sure the hole isn’t too big, or else the fruit will slide off the stem.
- To make the stems, cut carrot and celery into sticks. Once you place the flowers at the tip of each vegetable stick, dip the sticks into the peanut butter so that they stand on their own. Make three or four and line them up in a row, down the center of the table.
These will be so cute that your guests may not want to ruin the display, so be sure to encourage them to help themselves!
Make a Peanut Butter Trivia Tree
Use small metal or faux pine holiday trees to creatively showcase fun facts about peanuts and peanut butter. First, you and your child can do a little research at the library or on the internet to find some fun facts. Then, simply ask your child to jot down about six to ten interesting facts onto small pieces of paper, depending on how big your tree is. You can even cut the pieces of paper to look like peanuts if you like. Here are several tidbits to get you started:
- Peanuts aren’t nuts — they are actually legumes, which are related to beans.
- It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.
- Dr. John Kellogg and his brother W.K. Kellogg (of the Kellogg Company, the cereal giant) patented a peanut butter process in 1895.
- November is Peanut Butter Lovers Month.
- Creamy peanut butter can remove gum from hair and clothing.
Next, make a hole at the top of the paper with a mini hole-punch, thread string through the hole and tie a knot. Now your child can hang the trivia card from the tree like an ornament. Once he's hung all of the trivia cards, he can add a little pizzazz by adding dangling peanuts in the shell. Just tie and knot a piece of string to the midsection of the peanut (one with its shell on still) and hang! It’s guaranteed to be a much loved conversation piece.
Make Peanut Snack Wagons
Nuts should be plentiful for snacking in multiple places throughout your party space, but instead of setting them out in run-of-the-mill bowls, jazz up the presentation by making peanut snack wagons built out of recycled boxes and round cracker wheels. Those rectangular boxes that many kids’ multi-vitamins and fever reducing medicines come in are perfect for this project. Just cut out one side of the box, lengthwise, leaving the other three sides intact to make an opening at the top of the wagon. Wrap the box in brown butcher paper. Using a low temperature glue gun, glue a pair of round crackers to the front and back bottom panels to create wheels. Set it down to dry for a few minutes before trying to stand it up. Once the wheels are set, fill the box with a variety of your favorite nuts and peanuts.
No PB&J party would be complete without a delicious menu built around peanut buttery treats. Chinese Peanut Noodles and Peanut Stew are great main dishes that adults and kids will both enjoy. Since youngsters always get a kick out of assembling their own food, consider having a Make-Your-Own-PB&J-Sandwich Buffet where they can explore different combinations of ingredients and build their own sandwiches. In addition to offering both smooth and chunky peanut butter along with a variety of jellies, jams and preserves, you can set out bowls filled with goodies like sliced fresh fruit (apples, bananas and strawberries are all yummy with peanut butter), mini pretzels, marshmallow topping, honey, mini bagels, trail mix, chocolate, rice cakes, and apple butter. And set out cookie cutters so kids can make cool looking sandwiches in different shapes. You can also provide celery sticks and raisins so that kids can make Ants on a Log!
Or, you can serve classic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a twist. Make the sandwich as you normally would but first cut off the crusts from the slices of bread and press the bread down gently with your fingers before you put the toppings on so that it is flat. This way, you can roll the sandwiches up more easily. Then spread with PB&J as you normally would and then roll them up. Slice them into thirds, and voila! You have PB&J Sushi Rolls! To make it extra fancy, serve them with little teacups or large sake cups filled with milk.
If you have guests who are allergic to peanuts, you can always substitute peanut butter with other nut butters such as soy, sunflower, cashew and almond. Some people even use tahini and sesame seed butters as alternatives too.
There are oodles of interactive games to play and activities to do that will get kids’ nutty and creative energy flowing. If possible, set up your party space so that you have one table per activity, making sure to leave a large open space for interactive group games. Here are just a few ideas:
- Make Peanut Butter Playdough and let youngsters sculpt and shape the dough into anything that tickles their fancy. Fine motor skills and imagination get a big boost with this ever-popular activity.
- Make a Pinecone Bird Feeder. This is a project that helps kids get a little bit closer to nature. Even preschool aged kids can get in on the fun by covering pinecones with peanut butter and rolling them in birdseed. When guests are done, they can take their bird feeders home and hang them on a tree branch near a window. Children will love making these mementos and they'll enjoy them (and so will the birds!) even after the party is over.
- Guess how many peanuts are in the jar. This is a simple but always delightful game that kids get a kick out of trying to tackle. The child with the best guess wins a small prize.
- Practice with the letter “J.” Education.com has worksheets that you can download for learning fun with younger children. J is for Jam enables preschoolers to practice tracing and writing the letter “J” and while they color in the piece of bread with the color of their favorite flavor of jam.
Group Games to Play:
- Play Who’s Got the Peanut. In this cooperative game in which kids take turns passing a peanut to one person in a circle, players have to guess who has it. Kids love saying the rhymes that go with the game while they practice following rules and waiting patiently for their turn.
- Have a PB&J Sandwich-Making Contest. Here’s a way for youngsters to show off their PB&J sandwich-making skills, utilizing memory, color recognition and hand-eye coordination. Things could get messy with real ingredients, so in this friendly competition, kids can use fake fixings. Ahead of time, cut out a bunch of circles using brown construction paper, craft foam or felt. Even paper grocery bags will work. These represent the peanut butter. Cut out another batch of circles, only this time, use purple or red paper, foam or felt to represent jelly. Next, make the bread by cutting out squares using white or beige paper. You will need twice as many of these than peanut butter and jelly since there are two slices of bread per sandwich. Set an ample stack of each - peanut butter, jelly and bread – in front of every child and explain that they have to make as many sandwiches as possible within a given time frame. For younger children, allow more time and let parents lend a helping hand. To make it more challenging for older children, make it a requirement for them to stick a piece of double-sided tape in between each layer so that the sandwich stays intact when moved around. The person who makes the most sandwiches wins the game!
- Read Peanut Butter and Jelly: A Play Rhyme. This picture book, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott and geared towards 4 to 8 year-olds, tells a whimsical tale about two hungry children, a dog, cat, five elephants and a baker making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from scratch. It can be purchased with a CD so that you can play it out loud at the party. Engage the kids by asking them to repeat the rhyming lines and follow along with clapping patterns as well as hand and foot motions. This activity is a fun and nutty exercise using memory, rhyming words, physical coordination and following instructions.
- Make a Giant “Sweet, Salty or Sticky” List. Inspired by the tastes and textures of peanut butter and jelly, ask your guests to put their thinking caps on and draw up a list of all the things that are sweet, salty or sticky. Use a large piece of poster paper on an easel so that everyone can see as you write down all the ideas. Make three columns, one for sweet things, one for salty things, and one for sticky things. For older kids, you can always add more elements such as smooth or chunky, quiet or crunchy, bitter and sour. If an item falls into more than one category, just as jelly is both sticky and sweet, draw a circle around it. What about peanut butter? Is it sweet? Some people might say it's salty. If the kids want to, let them go back to the PB&J buffet table and take another quick taste in order to decide. It's bound to spark a heated discussion! You may want to take a vote of hands. You can play this game in teams if you like or as one big group. See how many foods your group can come up with and how many fall into more than one category. Kids will put their memory skills and taste buds to work as they recall familiar flavors and textures, and possibly re-examine some debatable ones.
- Play a Peanut Butter and Jelly Time freeze Dance. Get everyone’s blood pumping by playing this simple but catchy tune by DJ Chipman from Buckwheat Boyz and have kids do a silly freeze dance. An adult can be in charge of stopping and starting the music while the kids dance freestyle, showing off their best peanut butter and jelly dance. Whenever the music stops, they have to freeze. The last child left standing wins the title of Peanut Butter and Jelly Dancing King or Dancing Queen! If you want to go the extra mile, don the winner with a paper crown adorned with decorative gems and real peanuts.
Don’t forget to throw a little nutty humor into the mix. Your kids can try these silly jokes on their friends and party guests:
Q: What do you call a peanut in a space suit? A: An astronut.
Q: What does a peanut sound like when it sneezes? A: Cashew!
Q: Where do peanut drivers take their tanks to get filled? A: To the Shell station!
Q: What’s the best way to catch a squirrel? A: Climb a tree and act like a nut.
Giving small party favors at the end of a party is always a nice way to thank your guests for coming and being a part of the fun. What should you give when you host a PB&J party? Try these adorable Peanut Butter Cookie Pops or Painless Peanut Fudge wrapped in cellophane and tied with colorful ribbon. They're a great way to top off a deliciously fun PB&J party!
See what a breeze it is to throw a fabulous Peanut Butter and Jelly Party? Not to mention you'll have a blast while you're at it. The possibilities are endless and without a doubt, you and your kids can come up with entertaining and imaginative ideas of your own. Be sure to share by posting them in the comments section below. We want to hear about your PB&J Party experience!