A wedding is a momentous occasion. Nothing should take away from the newlyweds’ joy on this most special day…certainly not bored or restless children! Make sure of this with a kids’ table at the wedding reception that will have the tots happily occupied while the grown-ups wine and dine.
When designing this kids’ table, we suggest you think like a kid, but plan like an adult! The all-important starting point is determining who would fit the job of “party nanny.” Then bestow this honor on that person with a special gift of gratitude in return. Now, let’s get to the fun-filled features that will make the table a sure hit with your little guests.
Food Every Kid Loves
When planning a kiddie menu, try to think back to your own childhood days. Delight the kids with their own special “kiddie” food such as hot dogs on a stick, mini burgers, bite-size pizzas, chicken nuggets, tater tots or French fries, and of course, the ever-popular mac and cheese. A wise rule-of-thumb is to stick to no-mess food items and to avoid “saucy” dishes with color like spaghetti—as the kids are sure to be wearing their dress-up clothes.
For dessert, consider compact-sized delights such as cupcakes and cookies. Ice cream sandwiches and popsicles are also fun to serve—but do have lots of paper towels and kiddie wipes on hand! For older children, provide juice boxes with straws or drinks in small bottles; and have little “sippy cups” for toddlers. You don’t want to have to worry about sudden spills.
Activities to Keep Them Happy
The key is to have such fun and fascinating things to do; the children will be perfectly content where they are. So consider the age range of the youngsters and prepare activities that would appeal to them.
Set the scene by having 1 or 2 kiddie-height tables covered with sheets of craft paper for doodling (and for catching food spills!). Then set out hands-on activity supplies such as:
1. coloring books and boxes of crayons
2. jigsaw puzzles
3. activity books like Mad Libs®, word search, or sudoku for kids
4. paper cutouts in whimsical shapes of animals, fruits, even monsters
5. fun party hats and masks that the children can decorate
6. a few picture books for those of reading age
Hint: Do keep in mind that you’d like the kids to be quietly occupied at the table. So avoid activities that may lead to running around or loud laughter or shouting!
Party Favors To Take Home
If the adult guests have their own favors, the children should have some, too! Create buckets of goodies for them to take home or even enjoy right at the party.Fill small plastic pails with oodles of fun treats such as cracker jacks, wind-up toys, and tokens of whatever kiddie character is all the rage at the time (mini puzzles, stickers, bag tags, and the like).
If you prefer something recycled, you can use empty plastic bottles to hide little treats amidst colorful crinkle paper—and have the kids fish out the surprises! Here, we’ve wrapped each bottle with a multi-colored felt sleeve, and topped them with handcrafted stoppers made from denim scraps decorated with felt cutouts and glass beads. Then, we finished each favor with a personalized gift tag. How’s that for fun and whimsical!
Practical Tips to Keep in Mind
1. Serve tried-and-tested food favorites among children. Do avoid messy or saucy dishes, though, to prevent stains on pretty party clothes and to minimize clean-up afterwards.
2. When preparing your kids’ table, think like a kid, but plan like an adult! Focus on fun, but foresee possible problem areas.
3. Set out loads of hands-on activity items and supplies that will keep the children happily—and quietly—occupied at their own table. Remember to plan for all the age ranges of the expected kids.
4. For dessert, consider compact-sized delights such as cupcakes, cookies, ice cream sandwiches, and popsicles.
5. Send the little guests home with party favors chock full of yummy treats or kiddie surprises. You can take the eco-friendly option here, too, and use recycled materials to make your own favors.