Keeping Kids Entertained on Your Big Day

Fun ways to keep your younger guests engaged on your wedding day.

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. As a result, some couples choose to have a child-free wedding. Other brides and grooms, however, embrace the kids that will be attending their celebration by thinking of them throughout the wedding-planning process. If you are inviting children to your celebration, here are some fun ways to make sure they’re entertained and well behaved for the whole day.

Children’s Goodie Bags
We’ve all heard of welcome bags for guests filled with the bride and groom’s favorite local treats, a wedding itinerary, and more. But how about welcome activity bags for your younger guests? Include everything from custom coloring books that tell your love story, crayons, kid-friendly desserts like freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, and whatever else you and your groom loved as kids.

Outdoor Games
Giant Jenga or Connect 4, Twister, a piñata or a ring toss will keep everyone entertained and are a great bit of nostalgia for older guests. If your budget won’t stretch to buying new, ask around your guests what they’ve got hiding in their shed.

Provide Coloring and Writing Tools
Offer tabletop entertainment during a long dinner by covering the kids’ table(s) with white butcher paper and cups of crayons (or any other drawing tool that doesn’t stain). Other ideas are activity placemats or table cloths with crosswords and puzzles much like the one offered at many restaurants. They’ll be so busy, they’ll forget they’re still actually sitting at a table.

Set Up a Game Room
For an active bunch, turn the play space into a game room. Rent or borrow ping-pong or air hockey tables, a Nerf ball, a basketball, Twister, Hula-Hoops, jump ropes and more. If you’re having a hotel or country club wedding, you may find all the equipment you need right on the grounds. If yours is a more relaxed outdoor wedding, set up lawn games and activities like a three-legged race, cornhole or a classic game of hide-and-seek.

Create a Craft Room
For younger ones, turn one area into an arts and crafts space. Set up a coloring contest, beading lesson or have them make cute signs for the couple. Let them decorate their own picture frames, then ask the photographer to snap photos of them at the party to place inside them.

Photo Treasure Hunt
Buy disposable cameras and give kids a list of photos they need to ‘collect’, like a picture of the cake being cut or the bride and groom kissing. You can print out their pictures for them as a nice reminder of the day. Hey, you might even find a photo you want framed among them!

Movie Room
If your venue has space, leave a DVD playing in a room off to the side. Pick a recent Disney movie and you might even find a few older guests popping in for a few minutes’ respite and a sing-a-long.

Bouncy House
If your budget allows, a bouncy castle is a great addition to an outdoor wedding or a venue with lots of grounds.

Toy Boxes
A big box of random toys is always a hit with kids. Talk to some of your friends with kids, or visit the local thrift store to find some booty to fill up your toy treasure chest. Be sure to include toys for the age range of kids who will be attending.