I am contributing "the cake" to a group 2 year old birthday party next Sunday and am feeling like I want to do themed cupcakes. I like the Sesame Street Elmos and Cookie Monsters, but I'm a little weird about heavy food coloring with little ones. I'm short on time, so it can't be anything too time consuming, but I want it to be cute and fun.
you can do a real easy buttercream elmo, oscar the grouch or cookie monster using a grass tip. on top of a white iced cake or cupcake. i have an elmo one i did in my photos if you want to take a look. the only thing is there is food coloring involved.
You can add fruit to the buttercream before adding the food coloring so that you don't need to add as much color. For instance, add raspberries to the buttercream for elmo and add blueberries to the buttercream for cookie monster. Then add just enough food coloring to get the right colors for each monster.
Instead of food coloring, use different colored jimmies. They look like fur too. green for oscar the grouch, yellow for big bird, blue for cookie monster, red for elmo. Frost the cupcakes, coat in jimmies and then you can either pipe icing for the details or use candies (marshmallow eyes, orange tootsie roll nose, half cookie mouths.)
I added a photo of my attempt in my gallery
Fondant elmo cutouts are not that hard to do, and they can push it aside if they don't want to eat them. that way you can color your buttercream however you want to.
Good idea about the jimmies, though I'm thinking I'd rather do a generic animal. I found some simple frogs, although I don't think my son even knows what a frog is.