There’s nothing cuter than little girls twirling around the dance floor at a wedding reception. Hearts melt the world over when tiny tots hold hands and walk down the aisle. But when it’s the toddlers who are melting down, all cuteness evaporates instantly. We’ve compiled some easy and inexpensive ways to entertain, and more importantly contain, kids at your wedding reception.

  1. Get crafty. Set up a dedicated kids table with activity books, crayons, puzzles, board games and more. Forgo the linen and cover this table with butcher paper. The kiddos can leave behind well wishes, drawings and of course, worry-free mess!
  2. Don’t let them get “hangry.” Hunger is an express train to meltdown city. Keep kids well fed. And frequently. Make sure you’ve got kid-friendly appetizers and that kids meals come out quickly. You can even set up a buffet for the kids that stays open all night for tiny fingers and empty bellies.
  3. Photo booth fun. Old-school photo booths, complete with props, are all the rage for kids and kids at heart. Make sure your props include lots of kid-friendly items like superhero masks, tiaras, wands, swords and more for hours of entertainment and a slew of great photographic memories.
  4. Take it outside. Outdoor weddings are great for kids. Not only can they romp on the lawn but you can add great outdoor games like corn hole or carnival games like the ring toss to keep them occupied. Have a station of prize bags (everyone is a winner here!). Bounce houses and bubble stations help get the wiggles out.
  5. Interactive games. Turn kids into mini photographers with a game of “I Spy.” Arm each child with a disposable camera and list of things to “capture,” such as people laughing, a couple kissing, or anything on the dance floor. Set up a wedding themed scavenger hunt throughout the night. You can even set up a gaming station with age-appropriate video games – but watch out, the adults might take over!
  6. Hire a hand. If your budget allows, consider hiring babysitters to oversee the kids’ activity area or entertainers such as clowns, balloon makers or impersonators (any superhero or Disney character will do).

Any of these ideas will keep kids engaged and out of trouble. They’ll also make for great photo opportunities for your photographer. The kids will be happy. And their parents will be happier!

All rights reserved Salient.