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While the adult dining table is, undoubtedly, the main event, we’re ready to make a case for going big with the kids’ table as well. Our reasoning? By pulling together a fun and interactive spot that’s designed just for them, little ones will be so entertained that parents might actually get a (much needed) break during dinner. We’ve rounded up everything you need—from colorful tableware to the coolest edible centerpiece—to create a festive setup that will draw them to the kids’ table and keep them busy through dessert.
Not only are these special goodies—perfectly sized to top off a place setting—great for occupying small hands, but they’ll attract kids to their seats and make each pint-size guest feel special. Plus they pull double duty as party favors. Opening the surprise balls and crackers is a fun activity to kick off dinner (both have trinkets hidden inside), and if you cover your table in kraft paper, you can let the kids go wild decorating it with an oversize multicolored crayon (i.e.: less cleanup than individual sets—hooray!).
Create a centerpiece for younger kids that’s one part decor, one part craft project, and one part imaginative play—like a sweet winter village scene complete with card-stock houses, wood trees (for the arts-and-crafts–inclined kids, painting this unfinished set makes for a fun predinner activity), and a set of peg people. Or—even better—get the older kids to make their own centerpiece with one of these charming sets: an edible geodesic gingerbread dome, paper vases and flowers, or a couple of DIY clay votives.
Each kid can have their own designated color at the table with these saturated-hue melamine tableware options (plates, cups, forks, and more) and clever cloth napkins that are printed with folding directions so crafty littles can create different designs. From there, layer in fun elements like mini splatter-painted bowls, a gold-embellished cake stand, and reusable color-changing straws.
Chances are, the kids are going to finish their meal well before the adults. Here are a few ideas to keep them content and occupied around the kids’ table, including more involved projects like a DIY board game (because kids make their own rules), a superhero mask kit, animal-themed origami, and a color-your-own puzzle set, as well as straightforward (but cool) art activities, like a Japanese-designed stamp kit and stencil book with more than 100 shapes that will last well into the new year.
Finally, put the cherry on top with these festive finishing details: Sprinkle some glittery confetti on the table, hang a 3-D paper wreath, string some pom-pom lights or colorful streamers—or both (why not?). At the end of the night, send little ones home with leftovers in retro takeaway containers sealed with a neon sticker. They’ll be reminded of the best kids’ table ever when they’re digging in the next day.