Big fun for little kids

August 06 • 2012

Activities for kids at weddings<br><a href= target=_blank>emilie inc. photography</a>

Kids can look forward to a few highlights at weddings: serving as the flower girl or ring bearer, doing the chicken dance, gawking at a cake that’s taller than they are. But after dessert, all the speeches, slow dances and grownup conversations can test even the most well-behaved tykes. So if you’re inviting pint-sized guests to your wedding, plan some fun activities – they’ll thank you, and so will their parents.

First, a few pointers. Decide whether to reserve a separate room and babysitter. This can be a great option if you’ve got lots of children attending. A good rule of thumb: Have one childcare provider for every five toddler-aged kids, or, for older children, one for every 10. And don’t expect to just drop a few boxes of crayons in front of them and then rush back to the dance floor to catch the intro to “When I’m 64.” Help the kids get started with their activities, whether it’s in a separate room or in a designated area in the reception hall.

Some fun ideas to consider (don’t be surprised if some of your “young at heart” guests get in on the action, too):

Kids-only dance: Cue up a fun song like “The Hokey Pokey” and invite all the children to the dance floor for a special performance.  Follow it with another high-energy favorite like “YMCA” and encourage the kids to drag their parents out with them.

Activity sets: Assemble kits for each child in fun containers like plastic buckets, galvanized aluminum pails or even paper bags, and label each with a child’s name. Toss in some Silly Putty, pinwheels, glow bracelets, stickers, beanbags, pipe cleaners, (washable) markers, coloring books or other fun goodies. Check out this great DIY idea for creating personalized coloring pages from digital photos. Oh, and use butcher block paper instead of tablecloths at kids’ tables to create a fun canvas and avoid an awkward conversation with the venue staff.

Piñata: Go for the traditional papier-mache donkey, or try fun spins on the original like an acorn pinata for autumnal nuptials, or let the kids take a whack at a wedding cake piñata. You can also fill large balloons with candy and have the kids help you and your honey pop them. If you’d rather avoid the sugar highs – and crashes – substitute small child-safe toys, stickers or other treats for candy.

Dress up party: Let the kids choose from hats, boas, glasses, wigs, stick-on mustaches, fairy wands and more to put together wacky outfits. Collect items from friends and family and second-hand stores, or go all out and choose a theme, like pirates or the Wild West, and hit up a toy store for accessories. Rent a photo booth to snap priceless shots of the ensembles, and have the kids do a fashion show for the adults.

Photo scavenger hunt: Break the kids up into groups led by a grownup and give each child a disposable camera, with instructions to snap a list of photos, such as the cake cutting, the bride and groom dancing, etc. Count on the best kid’s-eye shots to capture scenes not included on your list. Upon completing, award each little paparazzo a prize.

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