I wrote a post a while back about how to tactfully exclude children from the wedding. This is a concern for a lot of engaged couples. However, if you are in the opposite camp and will be inviting children to your wedding, you may be wondering how to keep them entertained and happy throughout the festivities. Below are some excellent ideas for those of you who will be welcoming children at your wedding with open arms.
A Kids Table!
This is the go-to option for most weddings, and for good reason. There are so many cute ideas for setting up a kids table that will keep kids busy during the reception and dinner. Set aside one table for all the little guys and keep them from running wild. Things you can include on your kids table are:
- Coloring Books
- Crayons, markers, chalk
- Tablecloth made from paper that can be colored on
- Scavenger Hunt
- Wedding Bingo
- Centerpieces made from toys or candy
Kid-Centric Gift Bags/Activity Kits
If you don't want to go all out with a kids table, you can still provide kid-friendly gift bags. Fill them with stickers, crayons and coloring/activity books, little snacks, or small (quiet) toys, like play-dough, bubbles, cars, or dolls. You can find a lot of little goodies at the dollar store and be able to assemble some pretty awesome and affordable kits.
Cupcake Decorating Station
Small painters pallets like these have convenient little cups for sprinkles, jellybeans, small candies, and colored sugar. Put a plain frosted cupcake in the middle and each child will have their own cupcake masterpiece. Hopefully they will dance off the sugar rush once the music starts...
Kids-Only Dance Floor Time
After the first dance, daddy/daughter dances, etc, pick a few songs that are popular with the kids these days and let them have it all to themselves. Kids are usually the first to get up on the dance floor anyway, and they may be able to break the ice and get everyone else in the mood to show off their moves.
Hire a Nanny/Babysitter
If you know there are going to be quite a few children at the wedding, you could consider hiring someone to watch them all, either during the ceremony, reception, or both. There are several factors to consider with this option. While it's an incredibly nice gesture for the parents who will be attending your wedding, it will cost you to hire someone for the whole night.
Also consider the ratio of children attending to the babysitters present. I would recommend 4-8 kids per babysitter, depending on the age of the children (and the age of the babysitter). Babies and younger children are harder to take care of, and will require more attention. The older the children (ages 5 and up) are a little easier, and you may be able to get away with less people watching.
The other thing to consider is if the venue has a good place to corral the kids so the sitter has an easier time watching them all. If the venue does have a room or confined space, you can bring in some toys, games, coloring books, crafts, or even a TV with some movies. The kids and parents will both be able to kick back, relax, and enjoy the day.
Enough said. Could make for some cool wedding pictures too- just sayin'.
Have a PinataPinatas are festive and fun! If you can delegate someone to be in charge of the
process, I can guarantee you will have all kids full attention for a good amount of time. Plus, did you know you can get pinatas made of yourself? Hello bride-and groom-pinata-party!!
Hire a professional or get an artistic friend to volunteer and have a face painting sesh!
Milk and Cookies for Toasts
I actually really, really like this idea because toasts can be such a huge part of a wedding dinner/reception, and I know kids can bored real fast (trust me, I have a 3 and 5 year-old). Providing them with their own special drink so they can join in on the toasts will help them feel welcome, involved, and more patient while listening to your best man recount your most hilarious college adventure.
Kid Lawn Games
Kids and adults will enjoy lawn games- especially during cocktail hour, waiting for pictures to be taken, or before dinner starts. Ideas for games:
- Ring toss, with bottles painted to match your wedding colors
- Tic Tac Toe
- Giant Dice
- Giant Jenga
- Lawn Bowling
- Ladder Toss
As a parent myself, I know these ideas are good ones. Taking the time to include a few of these options at your wedding will really help keep the kids happy, which in turn, makes the parents happy, more relaxed, and able to enjoy your celebration!