How to entertain children at an adult party
If you are anticipating having children at your party, there are a few things that you should keep in mind to ensure that guests of all ages have an enjoyable time.
The Kids Table- You may have dreaded memories of being a teen and still being banished to the kids table, but honestly, setting up a separate area for those that WISH to use it, is never a bad idea. My biggest tip here, allow the guest to make the choice of whether to sit with the grown-ups, or with the kids. Some precocious tots prefer adult conversation and some toddlers are not ready to be separated from their moms. It is all about where they are the most comfortable. If they do choose the kids table, they can sit in a height-appropriate chair, (be sure to rent a handful of booster seats and/or highchairs when you order your other party rentals.) Cover the table with white butcher paper or chalkboard paper and give them something to draw with. If dinner is not to be served right away, place a bag of crackers or pretzels at each place setting for the kids to munch while they are waiting. Paper or plastic plates and cups at this table are a must. Even better, if you know that you will be entertaining toddlers, invest in some cups with lids, your carpet will thank you for it later.
Food and Drink- When planning your menu, consider appetizer selections that are popular with all ages- fruit and cheese platters, vegetable crudité with ranch dressing, tomato soup shooters. Under-season your dishes to make them appropriate for all taste buds and offer salt and pepper or other seasonings to be added at the table. Alternately, prepare two similar dishes, one spicy, with onions, etc and one plain. For larger parties, it might make more sense to work in a separate kids buffet or kids plates to be served with kid-friendly items such as macaroni and cheese and chicken fingers. Hey, I have seen picky adults indulge in this buffet on many occasions as well! Will you be having a champagne toast? Kids don’t like to be left out. Remember to purchase some sparkling cider for them and serve in plastic champagne glasses. (Your non-alcohol drinking adult guests will appreciate the option as well.)
Entertainment- Ok, you have gotten them through dinner, now what is going to keep them busy? Set up a seasonal craft table. Think foam Christmas ornaments or gingerbread-scented playdough with cookie cutters. Hire a professional, well a professional babysitter, yes, that would be highly recommended, but additionally, how about a face-painter or a caricature artist? Photobooths are also popular, with any age. DIY a photobooth area by making a backdrop out of crepe paper streamers and supply guests with boas, glasses, mustaches and silly hats. Have your teenage guests in charge of taking pictures and upload the photos of all of your guests to Instagram hashtagegd with a custom tag line for easy finding. Other quiet time essentials could include books, puzzles, coloring books and board games. Supply each little guest with a favor bag including items such as bubbles, stickers and a small ball to keep them busy. *Be careful not to give any of the younger children items that would be a choking hazard though.