Outdoor Tablescape For Kids

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Fun and Festive Tablescape for Kids

Welcome to the summer edition of the blogging progressive dinner party organized by my friend Heather from A Southern State of Mind. Click around to all the other blogs tagged at the end of this post to get fun ideas for summer tablescapes, recipes, and cocktails.

fun and festive outdoor kids table

Last summer we made some improvements to our patio (cleared trees, expanded the flagstones, added a new patio set) and THIS summer, we’re enjoying it! We have a party for adults planned for early July, but… in the mean time, I wanted to share some of the ways we make it fun (and fancy-ish) for the kids!

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Setting a fun table for the kids

We certainly like to keep things practical when it comes to patio dining with the kids (i.e. less breakables), but it’s fun for the kids to feel like they’re having a special meal every so often. (Note… the subtext of all this is that if my kids feel like they’re having an ‘elegant’ meal, the hope is that they will also ACT elegant.) Here’s my 6 tips for making it fun and festive for the kids:

kids summer dining on the table

1. Different than the Norm

Normally, they eat off of plastic rainbow-colored Ikea plates. But to make it special, I bring out a different set of melamine plates that I love and makes them feel soooper adult.

melamine patio plates for the kids

2. Make it Adult-ish

When I set a more decadent table for an adult gathering, I’ll try to use an array of glassware and utensils… so for the kids, I keep this same idea in mind… hence the champagne glasses (don’t worry… they’re plastic too!) and bubbly water. Watching them negotiate the champagne glasses was the best surprise of the meal, but no doubt they felt very grown-up.

kids drinking out of champagne glass

3. Ambiance

The sun is already setting fairly late here so candles don’t show up on camera, but I love to use tea lights to glam up the kids table whenever possible! Ditto to the lights on the umbrella! I should have turned them on for you to see, but instead, I set the ambiance by bringing over a few items for a centerpiece. Certainly not the fanciest, but fancier than the pair of socks that often sits in the middle of our regular kitchen table.

centerpiece for the kids table

4. Food presentation

You’ll note that we served cheeseburgers for the kids which isn’t anything fancy, but… I brought out some ‘appetizers’ (carrots and hummus) beforehand on a tray and had a colorful fruit salad and cookies waiting in the wings to up my serving game. Normally, they finish a meal and I bring over fruit when they’re done, so this was different than usual.

food presentation for kids meal

5. Protocol

Here’s how mealtime usually works for us: Mark or I make the food, call out to the kids that dinner is ready, they come sit at either the bar or the table, and dinner is served. Drinks are brought over. 3.4 minutes go by and the kids ask for fruit. Fruit is served. Kids ask for dessert. Dessert is served (or not)… and we’re done. So for this outdoor kids’ meal, I had the whole meal ready to go so we all could sit down together and remain seated for the whole meal. We clinked glasses and said cheers. You get the drill… we tried to make it special!

cheers for kids meal on the patio

6. Talk It Up

A lot of the strategy for making this outdoor meal special was just the fanfare that went into it! “We’re having a fancy meal outside… such a SPECIAL occasion… we can’t wait. This is such a treat.” Etcetera Etcetera.

fancy kids meal on the patio fancy kids meal on the patio

Look… there’s nothing overly creative about ANY of this… but setting a ‘elaborate’ table for the kids was really fun for me and sneaky exciting for the kids. It’s so easy to have a backyard BBQ and just throw out disposable paper plates, and goodness knows we do A LOT of that, but a chance to make the kids meal a little more thoughtful was a grand occasion for all of us!

eating with the kids out on the patio eating with the kids out on the patio eating with the kids out on the patio

At Charlotte’s House
Dixie Delights
Dimples and Tangles
Haneen’s Haven
Our Fifth House
Southern State of Mind
This Is Our Bliss

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Setting a fun and fancy kids table for summer

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  1. Adorable! Definitely not “fancy-ish” — I say you can leave the ish off! I bet the kiddos feel so special when you do this! I love the plastic champagne flutes, too – must find some! Love that your crew can gather outside for meals together!! Loved hosting with you today – xo

  2. Such a fun reminder to make the ordinary feel extraordinarY. GReat tips! Thanks for joining the progressive Dinner!