Kid Friendly Entertaining...(sorry no treats today)

Now I’m no Martha, but recently I threw a formal dinner party and I’d like to share a few tips that helped the evening run smoothly. It was an intimate affair, only 4 on the guest list…all under the age of 13. That’s right, I threw a formal dinner party for kids. An extra special birthday celebration for my 3 girls. 

No, I’m not losing my mind (I lost that a long time ago).

The upcoming holiday season can bring guests of all ages to your table. So whether hosting a formal dinner party for some well deserving kids, or just sprinkling them in among your adult guests, you’ll need to have a few tricks up your sleeve.

Let's start with the hardware...china, silver, and crystal. Or should I say...plastic, plastic, and plastic.

Actually, I did use my good china (if you can even call it that). It has been sitting in the cabinet for 15 years. Never used. Not once, until now.  My 4 year old always asks about the “fancy” plates in the cabinet, so what the heck?! I blew off the dust and put them to use.  Now, if my china was a bit more precious, then by all means, I would have picked up a pack of plastic china (also found at many grocery or department stores).

I don’t own real silver, and flatware is hard to come by in my house. You know how dryers eat socks?  Well, my dishwasher eats forks.  There’s no other explanation! I have an abundance of spoons, but where do all of my forks go?  OK, back to the dinner…No silver or stainless, I went with plastic.  I love this stuff! Sale price -$4.99 (Wegman’s), can’t even tell it’s plastic until you pick it up.

I tied utensils with ribbon to simplify an already busy tablescape.

I’m sure everyone, at some point, has toasted in the New Year with a plastic champagne flute. I know I have. But I assure you, mine was never filled with Sparkling Cider.


On to the tablescape…

Simple is always best when it comes to kids.  But if you love a decorated table, then go for it, but keep it durable.  Which means the delicate centerpiece from grandma is better off kept for another occasion.  Kids touch EVERYTHING!

Kids and candles? Supervision, supervision, supervision!!!

Candles (unscented of course) can really set the mood, but typically, with kids, you’re better off doing without.  I choose to incorporate candles into the tablescape. In addition to having the proper supervision, I went with an enclosed flame.  My patio lanterns served the purpose and blended perfectly with the rustic fall theme. 

Not to mention, the enclosed flame stifled my son’s urge to see what burned quicker, the pinecones or the cinnamon sticks.

Place cards may seem unnecessary to some, unless of course, they serve another purpose.  

I picked up some mini chalkboards ($1 each) at A.C. Moore, attached a piece of ribbon to the frame with a hot glue gun, and tied on a piece of chalk.  Just a little something to keep them busy between courses. Tic Tac Toe, Hangman maybe?                                                                                                                                       

They make chalkboard tablecloths now too, hmmm? Could also occupy the adults when that darn turkey timer just won’t pop.  Pick up game of Pictionary anyone?

Before this post officially qualifies as a novel, I will end it with this (saving the menu for another time)… 

I added a fun twist by including some special treats tucked away throughout the tablescape. Everyone loves an unexpected surprise!! 

Ah, ah, ah, those are for after dinner! Happy Holidays! 


Have a kid friendly tip to share? I’d love to hear it!


  1. very clever of you!!

  2. Oh I love this! How wonderful to introduce the little guys to fancy dinner parties. It's like a fun intro to etiquette with no grownups allowed.

  3. Aprons are practical garments that offer protection against spills, stains, and splatters during cooking, crafting, or other messy activities. They help keep clothes clean and minimize the need for frequent washing, making them a functional accessory for both adults and children.


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