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Setting the Kids' Table

Megan Mostyn-Brown
Setting the Kids' Table
This holiday, you’ve been nominated to host the big family dinner. And yes, the kids are getting their own table. But not only are little ones messy, they sometimes need incentive to stay in their seats until the food is served. Skip the grown-up centerpiece, nix the high-end linen tablecloth and instead, trick out the kid’s table with these creative suggestions.
  • Laminated Tablecloth


  • Spills at a holiday dinner are a guarantee. So don’t even bother with a tablecloth you can’t wipe clean. Choose one that’s laminated and made of heavy material so it won’t slip and slide around if tiny elves decide to tug and pull on it.


  • Let Them Draw


  • Copy your favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant, and cover the tablecloth with a large sheet of craft paper. Dole out a cup of markers or crayons to each child and let them draw. If you’ve got a group that’s not so great at sharing, cut the craft paper into place mats.


  • Set Out Stamps


  • If you’re worried markers will make too much of a mess, set out stamps and pads. Instead of the standard array of colors, get into the festive spirit with ink in shades of red, green and gold.


  • Play With a Winter Wonderland


  • Create a winter wonderland centerpiece the kids can interact with. Set out a wooden city block set, draw roads, add some pillow batting as snow, and a pinch of glitter for holiday pizzazz. Mark each kid’s spot at the table with a red or green car and then let them “race around town” until dinner is served.


  • Make it About the Menorah


  • This wooden Hanukkah set doubles as a centerpiece and a way to get little ones into the holiday spirit. Use the gold coins as place cards and encourage kids to pass the time before dinner with a game of dreidel.


  • Keep Them Busy With Books


  • Get rowdy kids to (fingers-crossed) chill out by stocking the center of the table with their favorite holiday books. Encourage older children to read to younger ones. And if the group needs a little incentive to sit still, set out the Elf on the Shelf® and warn them that he’s going to tell Santa who’s being naughty and who’s being nice.

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