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Fun cupcake toppings for the under 7 year old group?

So, what do you use? I'm looking for creative ideas and nothing that would choke a 3 year old.

The kids are doing the decorating. Favored color is pink, but bright and cheerful is fine. I've got some colored sugar and sprinkles. I have some fresh raspberries. What else? I'm thinking M & M's. They don't seem like anything that would choke a kid. What else?

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  1. Lots of ideas here:
    http://cakelove.tumblr.com/tagged/cup...

    I came across the site recently when I saw the photo for Goldfish cupcakes, very easy (page 6 or 7). Those might not be suitable because of the peanut shaped candies, but so many other options including fruit loops, captain crunch, m&m's, etc.

    5 Replies
    1. re: lilgi

      Fabulous site, thanks. Some are too sophisticated for me, but there are tons of easy ideas. I had been thinking of marshmallows and loved the pig face. I think we could make teddy bears using the marshmallows for ears.

      I liked the idea of baking a whole strawberry inside. I stupidly bought mini cupcake pans thinking they would be a great size for kids. I did a test run and ... what a pain. They are difficult to fill and just so darn time-consuming. Anyway, maybe I'll try one with a small raspberry in the center.

      1. re: rworange

        I'll take a look at the site again for the pig face. The 'Hello Kitty' ones are just too cute for girls, if only I had an excuse to make them.

        1. re: lilgi

          Fruit loops and cap't crunch cereal on some of those cupcakes look like fun easy things to use--and can be bought in little single size containers.

          1. re: chowser

            Good idea about the individual sized cereal, especially since the op doesn't want to stock up on items she won't use. Some handmade stencils might be fun too, but the powdered sugar may get all over the place :P

            1. re: lilgi

              I finally had a chance to see all the cupcakes on the site--some are priceless. I can't imagine how much time they must have taken. Beautiful. But, many are simple and cute enough that little kids could do them, too.

              I was thinking stencils would be cute w/ sprinkling sugar. I was't sure how involved rworange wanted to be with overseeing that because of the mess, as you said.

    2. In my experience most kids think more is better when it comes to decorating goodies. I usually have a few coloured icings, I colour my own and then put them in ziplock bags and snip off the end to make an icing bag. If you go this route try to have one bag per kid or close to it so that no one is waiting too long to get decorating.
      Then I put out an assortment of sprinkles/candies in ramekins or small plastic bowls. If you are doing this with a lot of kids you may just want to make a small bag/bowl of decorations to give each kid so no one complains that they didn't get any m&m's or whatever.
      Cookie crumbles, chocolate chips, mini m&m's or candy coated mini chocolate chips(if you are really concerned about the choking hazard) make fun toppings. Visit the baking section of you local bulk food store and you will find lots of fun options!

      1 Reply
      1. re: cheesymama

        great idea about the ziplock bag. I've been fretting about spreading the frosting.

      2. I don't have much to add regarding the ingredients, but putting the toppings in muffin tins works really well. They are harder to tip, the choices are easily viewed and they make cleanup go faster.

        My nieces and nephews always loved gummys, the grosser the better. Not sure about for a 3 yr. old though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: meatn3

          That muffin tin thing is a wonderful idea. Thanks

        2. Actually M&M's are a choking hazard (smooth, hard, roundish). What about chocolate chips? Teddy grahams are great, or animal crackers. You could buy those little squeezable containers of frosting w/ the different tips. With colored sugar, makes sure it's in a sprinkling bottle and not something they have to dip their hands in (or it can get really messy). As much fun as decorating it, it's over in minutes for little ones. They just want to eat the frosting.

          11 Replies
          1. re: chowser

            As far as I know m&m's might pose a choking hazard for babies under the age of 2, definitely not 3 and above as the op posted and even then only the peanut ones...

            1. re: lilgi

              I was speaking more from personal experience with seeing it happen than with lists but generally try to avoid anything small, hard and round with the younger set. I think M&Ms are like hard candy. Seeing the heimlich maneuver done on a five year old is pretty scary.

              1. re: chowser

                On m&m's? I agree it's scary, but regular m&m's for children over 3 are a non-issue I would think.

                1. re: lilgi

                  Yes, M&M's and no one thought until then that it would be a problem until it was. As we talked about it after, we decided there really isn't a difference between M&Ms and hard candy (or skittles type candies). And, kids are more inclined to eat a small handful of M&Ms, which is what happened, than a handful of lemon drops.

                  Then again, as an adult I've swallowed a Mentos whole and thought my throat would never be the same (very painful). I guess it can happen with any age and any food when you come down to it.

                  1. re: chowser

                    But honestly the logic doesn't apply that they would pose a risk, and I don't think they're known to be a hazard for that age group. Small children can choke on many foods including cookies. Small round and hard as only one lemondrop, hotdogs, bananas, those peanut shaped candies I mentioned above, because they can just slide to the back of your throat. Again, m&m's wouldn't even be on my radar for that group but anything can happen.

                    1. re: lilgi

                      If you're that concerned about choking on m&ms buy the mini ones! I just bought a bag to put into some cookies. They're adorably cute and they're too small to choke anyone. I really wouldn't think choking on an m&m was a high probability... but anything is possible. Inhale at the wrong moment and you can choke on almost anything.

                      1. re: Kajikit

                        I think you meant to post this for the op, as I had said a few posts above it wouldn't even register on my radar for ages 3 and above and the list posted above specifies 4 and under, but there are parents and/or adults that have to exercise extra caution, especially when support systems are different for everyone, and these ages are only approximations.

                        When my children were growing up, it wasn't unusual to have an unusually large presence of adults supervising activities, and we tended to be a little more relaxed about these issues, but it's not the same for everyone, especially if you're only a couple of adults with a small group. And it sounds like the op must err on the side of caution because of the 3 year old.

            2. re: chowser

              Yeah, I've been considering the hazard of M&M's. I mean the youngest kid is bright and doesn't seem to have the need to put dangerous stuff in her mouth, but still. The animal crackers a a great idea.

              I know there are sprinkles and colored sugar in the supermarket, but they seemed boring. I'm thinking soft gum drops might work.

              Part of this is that I don't bake much ... seriously had to test drive using boxed cake mix ... god bless that stuff, it always comes out for me. So I didn't want to get stuck with a lot of stuff I'd never used again as far as colored sugars. I do have my mad Christmas sugar cookie spree, but that tends to center around red and green.

              1. re: rworange

                Gum drops are great. I usually wander around the candy aisle and see what catches my eyes. Things like nonpereils are fun for kids, more fun than the chocolate chips I suggested earlier. I know what you mean about having leftover sugar--I have a container that I pull out every year and I've had them for years. If you look in the cake decorating section at grocery stores, they have small, one time use quantities of things, too.

                As filling the muffin tins go, you can fill a ziplock bag like cheesymama said above for frosting, and cut a tiny hole out of the corner. The hardest part is the batter is a little thin and comes out quickly so you want a small hole, even if it takes longer to squeeze it out.If you use the ziplock bags for frosting for the kids to use, I'd squeeze the frosting to one corner and then use a twist tie to hold it down. If you don't, when the kids squeeze, it goes all inside the bag (think of squeezing toothpaste from the center of the tube). Filling the ziplock bag is easier if you put it in a cup w/ the opening at the top. I'll try to find a video but it makes it so much easier.

                1. re: chowser

                  Here you go, not a video but shows a good way to fill pastry bags (or ziploc bags) and have them ready to go:

                  http://www.qecakes.com/adventures-in-...

                2. re: rworange

                  what about mini M&M's?
                  if u are worried about choking hazards..

                  u can even order/get any color or combinations of colors as well..
                  and they even do pictures on the regular ones as well

              2. I obtained a list, NO GUMDROPS, M&M's OR NONPAREILS under the age of 4 (I stand corrected on the age group for m&m's):
                http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&amp...

                5 Replies
                1. re: lilgi

                  i think my 3yo has eaten at least some of those without any problems...

                  she eats raisins...
                  she has had gummy worms once or twice...

                  but we only give her most of those once in a while as a special treat...and even that so far has been rare

                  1. re: srsone

                    Same here, although I was strict when it came to sweets so during parties they were a special treat, and most of the moms in my neighborhood were strict about candy as I was in particular.

                    1. re: srsone

                      They are not my kids, so I'll err on the side of caution as dI don'[t want to be hanging around making sure no one chokes on anything.

                      This gives me lots of ideas to hit the bulk bins so I can buy lots of small quantities of different things. If I can get a little bulk coconut that would work as well. I'd never use a whole bag of the stuff.

                      1. re: rworange

                        If you're not against food dye, adding food dye to coconut is cute for kids to see. Put it in a baggie and let them shake it around to see it turn colors. Then again, I did cupcake easter egg baskets for preschool one year and every child ate around the colored green coconut.

                        1. re: rworange

                          Since you don't want extras of seldom used products, you could also use food coloring to tint regular sugar if you have time.

                          An idea which can keep the amount of toppings smaller is to use waxed paper to create stencils. Place stencil over the iced cupcake and sprinkle colored sugar, etc. Craft stores like Michaels have a variety of inexpensive stencils available which are the right size.