Entertaining and dinner parties are huge this time of year. We’ve been invited to a few adult-only gatherings and some big family affairs, too! Dinner parties at our place are usually kid-friendly since we have kids and most of our friends have kids, too. So when Wayfair asked me if I would put together some tips on a holiday kids’ table, it was a no brainer and really fun to do.
The purpose of a kids’ table is, really, to make sure kids are entertained and happy so that adults have a chance to mingle and enjoy a meal, too.
There are endless possibilities for keeping kids entertained and content, the easiest probably being throwing down some butcher paper and washable markers or crayons for them to color while they eat–it’s a crowd pleaser! But for this dinner, I decided to try something different and it worked really well.
1. Always have something for the kids to snack on right away. Can you call pretzel sticks an appetizer? Sure! But whether it be pretzels or popcorn or bruschetta (!), having something on their table when they arrive, will get them to their table and busy munching (aka, prevent spiraling out of control due to hunger) while adults dish up or you finish preparing a course.
2. A few (unbreakable!) decorations will go a long way in making them feel special. Kids might not always be vocal about appreciating a tablescape, but I guarantee they’ll feel special when they see a cup with their initial on it (these look great on open shelving in the kitchen, too!) and a little tree to decorate just for them! In this case, melamine dishware, a wooden tree and shatterproof ornaments will allow the adults to rest easy knowing their child can’t break anything during the soup course.
3. Encourage Eating, even from the other room. I made these surprise balls for the girls and their cousins. With each course, they can unwrap a layer and play a little and eat some more and unwrap another layer. They love it and it keeps them busy and eating!
I followed these instructions and wrapped up little dinosaurs, balloons, Shopkins, jelly beans, etc and just used regular streamers from the dollar store to do it. Wrapping each “surprise” in a layer. It extended their meal (kids are always “done!” so fast, aren’t they?), encouraged eating and kept their little hands busy for over an hour. I topped each with some snowflake stickers and plastic gold pinecones to make the little ones feel special. They ate it up. Really, so easy to make and a big hit for everyone (including the adult conversation that went uninterrupted for so long!).
4. Kid Table Decor doesn’t have to be kid-only decor. The classic ticking stripe runner can translate into every season and holiday. It can be dressed up or down, made fun or sophisticated. That’s how a lot of our base pieces are around the home. And the trees are a great neutral so if in a year or so, my holiday color scheme changes around the house—they’ll still work in. I like to choose pieces that can move from room to room, feel timeless and appeal to all ages.
As for the food, our children eat everything we eat so we rarely make something separate for the kids table, but I’ve learned it’s also better not to ask, “Do you want ____?” I put a little of everything on their plate and let them try it all and they usually do.
What are your favorite tips for setting a kids table? We set this one up downstairs in the new playroom and we can’t wait to share more progress there in the coming weeks!
This post is in partnership with our long-time friends at Wayfair.