Keeping children entertained at a wedding reception can be a hard task. Especially if you have many that are toddlers. However, there are many ways to let them have a ton of fun and still keep the elegance of your wedding.
Create a kids table
Rent a table that is just their size and decorate it with the same linens as the adult tables.
Instead of a traditional flower centerpiece, give them a centerpiece that they will truly enjoy. Try an edible fruit bouquet that will tame little tummies throughout the night. A fish in a fish bowel is another unique option. Children love watching those little guys swim around and will have tons of fun.
Never underestimate the power of crayons! Put crayons in a colorful container that matches the theme of your wedding and lay out sheets of printer paper for children to create their on piece of artwork. You can even make your own wedding themed coloring book for them to decorate. I would strictly stick with crayons however, because markers, paints, and oil pastels may get on their nice clothes.
Play Dough is a favorite of children everywhere—and some adults too. This is a cheap and easy way to keep them entertained. Add some toy cars, kitchen utensils, toy animals or anything else that would make neat prints in the dough. You can usually find these items at your local dollar store. There are tons of dough recipes out there that you can choose from that will tie in with the theme of your wedding. You can even have the children make you a sculpture out of the dough to keep and remember them by. Just be sure to check that they will keep for a few hours and not have to be refrigerated. Here are a few to get you started.
Applesauce Cinnamon Dough recipe1 cup ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup applesauce (drained in a
strainer for several hours)
2 teaspoons white glue
This dough is not for eating! Mix together the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add the applesauce and glue. Work the mixture with hands until smooth and well mixed. Put on wire rack to dry at room temperature for several days.
Cloud Dough recipe (this is my favorite even though it does not keep well)3 cups flour
2 tablespoons powdered Tempera
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Mix together the flour, Tempera and oil. Add enough water to make a soft, pliable, elastic-like dough. This dough does not keep well.
Coconut Play Dough recipe1 egg white
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon light cream
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
Beat egg white until stiff. Add remaining ingredients, one at a time, in order. Mix well and let dry for 30 minutes.
Divide into portions, and add desired food colorings.
NOTE: Use pasteurized egg whites or reconstituted dry egg white.
Cooked Play Clay recipe 21 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
In a medium-size saucepan, mix all ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When dough becomes harder to stir and gathers on spoon (about 5 minutes), dump onto wax paper, cool until able to handle and knead 10 to 15 times until smooth. Store in sealed container, keeps up to two weeks.
Edible Play Dough recipe (this one is good for the little guys that stick everything in their mouths!)1/3 cup margarine
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
Mix all ingredients together. Make shapes, then eat. This dough can be refrigerated in a plastic bag or bowl.
Peppermint Play Dough recipe2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vinegar
Food coloring or Wonder Colors
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Slowly add water a vineagar and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is stiff. Knead until pliable. Divide the dough into separate pieces for each color desired. Poke your finger into the center of each section of dough, drop in the food color and peppermint extract, and knead until the color is uniform and the dough is smooth. Store, tightly covered and labeled, in a plastic bag or container in the refrigerator. Play Dough will keep for months if you refrigerate it after each use.
Take out of the refrigerator about 5 minutes before you’re ready to play so that the dough will be soft. If you like something you have created, you can leave it to air dry for 24 hours or help it along by placing in a warm oven at 200 degrees F for several hours. It should harden enough to paint, shellac, or spray with art fixative.
Pumpkin Pie Playdough recipeThis smells great, so remind small children that it is not for eating.
5 1/2 cups flour
2 cups salt
8 teaspoons cream of tartar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (1 1/12 ounce) container pumpkin pie spice
Orange food coloring (2 parts yellow, 1 part red)
4 cups water
Mix all of the ingredients together. Cook and stir over medium heat until all lumps disappear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth. Store in an airtight container.
Salt Playdough recipe1 cup salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup flour
Mix ingredients and cook over medium heat. Remove from heat when thick and rubbery. As mixture cools, knead in enough flour to make a workable dough.
Bubbles give children hours of fun. Get a bubble blowing machine and let the bubbles fly! The children will be dancing in them for hours. It will also add a beautiful scene to the reception. Bubbles look beautiful in pictures. Another option is to give each child their own bottle of bubbles. You can even make bubbles yourself and put them in containers that will correspond to your wedding colors.
Basic Bubbles recipe1/4 cup liquid dishwashing detergent (grease-cutters are best)
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Mix all ingredients and let bubbles settle.
Crazy Bubbles recipePut 1 quart of water in a shallow tub. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar until it dissolves. Add 1/2 cup dishwashing liquid and stir again. Have kids dip in a slotted kitchen spoon or fly swatter, and swing it in the air.You can also cut both ends out of an empty frozen juice can. Dip one end in the bubbles and blow through the other. Makes huge bubbles!
No More Tears Bubbles recipeThis is great for small children!1/4 cup no-tears baby shampoo
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
Mix all ingredients and let bubbles settle.
Contact the parents of each child and find out what their favorite book is. You can then buy these books and give them to the children as their wedding favor. You could also rent them from your local library for free and return them later. Libraries usually allow you to keep books for about a month, so there will be no rush to return them. If the children do not have a favorite, get books that are popular children’s books. Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carl is always a favorite from younger children but there are many out there. Your local librarian can help you find the perfect book for the age of the children attending your wedding.
Have a portable DVD player on the kids table and a few children’s DVD’s to choose from. Assign an adult to watch after the movies and change the movie for the children. The kids can then sit and watch their favorite movies.
Get the DJ involved
If you have a DJ, have them play a few songs that the children will love. If you know, their favorite songs have them play those. If not, pick a few fun kid songs. Most adults will enjoy these songs as well!
Blocks, Lincoln Logs, and Lego’s
Children love to build things and blocks, Lincoln logs, and Lego’s do just that. Keep in mind that these will get a little loud if they go tumbling over; which they are sure to do. However, if will give the children hours of entertainment.
Allow the children to have center stage! Play a song and only let the children dance. They will love this time that is strictly for them. Pick a fun upbeat song that is familiar to them and watch them boogie. It will make for some really cute pictures as well!