Popcorn is a snacking staple in my house, and it has made an appearance at every kids birthday party we’ve ever had, but I never thought to do popcorn balls! They’re way more fun, prettier when you include a little food coloring, and can actually be a party activity if your hosting a cooking party or something to keep them busy at a sleepover. So my thanks to Nancy Myers for reminding me about popcorn balls in the post over at LJWorld.com about cooking with kids.
Use your air popper or the microwave popcorn, and even little kids can manage to make popcorn balls without too much help. You should probably be in charge of melting the marshmallows, margarine and corn syrup, but they can do the measuring and some stirring. And since they are in fact a bit messy to make, they’ll love it!
You’ll find a good recipe, at least according to the reviews, for popcorn balls over at allrecipes.com. Ms. Myers in her article does suggest the food coloring, but I’d keep the shades pastel (ie not too much food coloring) so the hands don’t get totally stained.
The kids will make the popcorn balls by shaping the gooey mixture with their hands– the messy/fun part! Have them coat their hands with either vegatable shortening or margarine so the mixture doesn’t stick to them. Have some colored cellophane and curling ribbon to wrap any they don’t eat to take home. And plenty of soap and towels for cleaning up the hands.
I love it when fun party food can actually be a birthday party activity and get the kids having fun being creative in the kitchen. It’s all to the good. You can even just make them with your kids or have them make popcorn balls for the family some home movie night.