Let Me Entertain You, Kid-Style

Ah yes, one of the big questions. What about kids at the wedding? I know people who are all over the map on this one. Some would not dream of a wedding reception without their cousin's sweet little tyke sitting in the pews; others can only envision that same tyke running around the reception hall, screaming on the floor, and – dare I say it – running straight into the cake! (Don't laugh; I have seen it happen!) To be sure, the pros/cons list for kids at the wedding is long and varied. I for one, take a middle road. Unlike some of my friends and family, to me an event is still an event regardless of the age of the attendees. I happen to like children, actually (hence my chosen profession!), and I personally would not dream of telling said cousin to leave a little one at home. And who doesn't swoon over an adorable flower girl or dashing ring bearer? That being said, if I was having a grande event (read: not the handmade, casual look I am going for) I would definitely think about hiring a babysitter. (As a tip, a lot of junior high or high school students will do this relatively cheap; I know – I used to do it! And I teach a lot of girls who still do it!)

Anyway, for my wedding itself, this became a non-issue. We originally booked an all-ages resort, but with less than a year before the wedding, they switched it to adults-only. This did affect us – my bridesmaid, as I have said before, now has a five month old and since baby cannot make the trip, neither can she. Totally understandable. Honestly though, I do not think we would have booked an adults-only resort in the first place, though we are not complaining about the higher level of luxury our location is going after!

But the at-home reception is another matter. To me, it was not a question as to whether or not to allow children at the celebration; it was what to DO with them. I mainly teach kids age 11-15, and THEY get bored easily. A six-year-old sitting in a chair, around people she may or may not know, listening to people give speeches and watching a video featuring a couple she barely knows, all the while being hushed and told to sit still? Yeah right. I hope our reception is not boring, but I am pretty realistic. No child is going to be interested in that for long! I also do not know how many, if any, kids over the age of, well, 6 months, will be attending (nor will I until a week or two before the event), and I do not have the financial resources to pay for something elaborate or really involved. Not only that, some kids (okay, probably little girls) may actually LIKE sitting there and looking at a pretty dress and flowers and candles, at least for a little while. So I did not want them removed from the room, or too occupied.

My solution? Activity books! I have seen these before, and made some up based on ones I have seen online, through google image searches, and by using Discovery Education Puzzlemaker ( http://www.discoveryeducation.com/free-puzzlemaker/?CFID=3765160&CFTOKEN=76671992 ), which I use a lot for my classroom.  I also picked up a crayon pack at the dollar store, which will be given to each child with their activity book. I tried to keep them multi-age, varying between puzzles, games, and colouring, mostly all wedding or beach themed; hopefully they like them!

I just printed them off my home computer using paper I already had, so the only cost was the ink I used and the dollar-store crayons (I bought a big pack for $1.25 and will split them up among the kids who come to supper). I simply whole-punched the pages, and tied them together using my trusty hemp cord.

Here are a few pictures:

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Are you having kids at your wedding? If so, are you doing anything special to keep them entertained?

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