How to entertain children at weddings is up there with one of our most asked about big day dilemmas. Many couples planning weddings with little guests on the list panic that the kiddies will be bored silly, drive their parents insane, or worse, run riot and not just on the dance floor. Not long ago we talked about how to manage kids at weddings giving you tips on how to include them and make them feel comfortable and happy. The secret to having a stress-free reception for both the parents and the couple, when children are on the guest list is to be prepared and provide lots of kid-friendly fun. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of 12 Ways to Entertain Kids at Your Weddingbecause a happy crew of kids will make life so much easier!
1. Outdoor Games
If you’re having your reception in a venue which has a garden or decent outside area why not provide old school outdoor games in good weather? Fun lawn games such as hopscotch, lawn bowling, Twister, outdoor Jenga and Connect4 will keep them occupied for hours. Simple kites, skipping ropes and hula hoops are also great options.
2. Rainy Day Drinks Reception Entertainment
If the weather is not on your side, or you’re opting for an autumn or winter wedding when daylight hours are short, why not set up an area full of boardgames or jigsaws? Retro favorites such as Guess Who, Monopoly, Operation or Hungry Hippos will keep them busy and encourage kids to mingle, especially the shy ones. This is also a great option for the older kids on the guest list.
3. Occupy With Arts & Crafts
Kids love to make and do, so a mini area with pots of crayons and craft supplies like stickers, pipe cleaners, playdough to get creative with will go down a treat. Wedding-themed crafts like decorating a cake, designing a wedding dress, making cards for the bride and groom or even making DIY masks for a photo booth would create hours of fun for little hands.
4. Kids Table
If there’s a number of children of the same age attending (and they’re old enough for it), then make it more fun for them by seating them all together and leave them to have their own fun over dinner. Set a particular menu for them, and add a few games and entertainment (see below) and consider hiring a babysitter or minder to supervise.
5. Table Games
This one is great for freebie fun. Create an I Spy or Scavenger Hunt list to put on the table for the kids. A typical list could include items like a white dress, a person in a funny hat, a delicious dessert, something blue (you get the idea!) and provide a printable and disposable cameras so they can record and snap their finds! Some of our favorite free printable table games include:
6. Hire professional entertainment
If the budget allows you could consider hiring some professional children’s entertainers such as magicians, clowns or balloon modellers. Check out companies such as Silly Sally, Really Grand Events and Magic Carl.
7. A Movie Room
Keep kids happy by setting up a quiet area set up for a movie. Add comfy pillows and cushions, beanbags or kiddie chairs and pop on a movie. You could even provide mini bags of popcorn! This is also a great idea for wind down time later in the evening before putting the kiddies to bed as they can switch into their pajamas before settling in. If there’s no TV room, why not use a projector instead for extra novelty factor.
8. Professional Minders
Babysitters or a professional, Garda-vetted service like LMM Care or The Wedding Nanny to look after the children during the wedding. They both entertain and supervise the children in a designated area in or near the wedding reception before and after your wedding meal. It will help you and your guests relax and enjoy the wedding reception knowing the kids are in good hands, but most of all having fun!
9. Get a Pinata!
Pinatas are a great idea to involve all ages, young and old. Both kids and adults can have fun hitting and collecting what comes out. You can find pinata’s at Woodies Party Zones across the country and at Pinatas Pinatas.
10. Kids’ Photo Booth
Stock your photo booth with tons of dress-up items and photo props. You can even have a separate kids-only photo booth. Include items like funny hats, tutus, feather boas and the ever-popular moustache on a stick. You can find great free mask printables online like this Toy Story version from Merriment Design or Kensie Kate has some great designs that you can simple print out on colored paper.
11. Kids Only Dance Time
While the adults are still listening to long speeches and luxuriating over dessert, why not put the dance floor to good use. If it’s in a separate area get some kid-approved pop music going early so that little guests can burn off extra energy before bedtime. If the dance floor is in the room where the reception is happening, designate a disco room for the children – all you need is a speaker and a Spotify playlist. Throw in a few balloons to really make it a party!
12. Personalized Goody Bags
Fill up goody bags for each of your little guests with age-appropriate treats. Pop them at each child’s place setting at the reception. These don’t have to cost a fortune. You can find lots of great bits and pieces in discount stores or stores like Tiger or Ikea. Wedding in a Teacup have a super selection of retro goodies for kiddies and Yo Yo Me has great ready made goody bags, boxes and activity packs. Here’s a sample list of some of the things you could include:
- Snacks and juice cartons
- Mini puzzles and toys
- Glow sticks
- Crayons or coloring pencils (markers and paints are a big no-no!)
- Coloring and activity books
For more ideas for to keep kids entertained at your wedding see 6 Great Wedding Favor Ideas or help them feel included by giving them one of these 15 Beautiful & Fun Ceremony Readings for Children