Keep The Kids Busy

Thanksgiving is just days away! I’m Edna Sanders here in Shady Pines Story Town. Harold and I are excitedA happy family hugging their pets that members of our family we didn’t see last year will be visiting this week  While we’re excited about that, it’s always a challenge to keep our kids 4-legged Boomerang and Halley’s Comet, busy during these holiday get togethers. I bet you face the same challenge with your two-legged children.

To help all of us I found some creative Thanksgiving ideas that will help all of us. These are for kids of all ages—from meal planning to table setting and more.

1. Plan the Meal

Here are some fun ideas to consider:

  • Start off by giving your kids fall-themed colors and having them list all of the fruits or veggies that fit. Then use these lists to help inspire your Thanksgiving menu and to look for recipes as a family. 
  • Have each of your children choose one dish to be “theirs.” When Thanksgiving Day comes, give them more responsibility for this dish, whether it’s preparing the ingredients, mixing it all together or dishing it out. You could even ask your kids to show off their special dish by presenting it to the family and explaining how it was made.
  • Instead of grocery shopping alone, why not take a little road trip to pick out the ingredients as a family? You can talk about all the traditional Thanksgiving foods on the way and let your kids pick out their own sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin or other produce.

Picky eater tip: As you’re planning the meal, take this opportunity to talk about the vegetables you’ll be eating on Thanksgiving, including the ones that your kids don’t like. Setting expectations early, without making a big deal out of it, can prevent mealtime surprises and help your kids build a healthier Thanksgiving plate.

2. Make the Decorations

No need to buy expensive decorations to get those warm Thanksgiving vibes! Homemade crafts are a fun way to teach your kids how to recycle and fill your home with adorable fall-themed decor. 

Spice up your Thanksgiving kids table with these cute yet simple holiday crafts:

  • Leaf centerpieces: Send your kids outside to gather sticks and branches and then have them color large leaf shapes out of paper. Paint the branches, glue the leaves on and then arrange your little trees in vases.
  • Table runners: Buy a roll of craft paper, spread it down the center of your table and set out crayons or pencils. When your kids start getting antsy in the middle of the meal, they’ll have a ready-made activity to keep them busy.
  • Toilet paper roll turkeys: With some paint, googly eyes and construction paper feathers, you can turn everyday recyclables into cute turkeys to set up around the house. You could even hide them around the yard and have a post-meal game to find all the turkeys!
  • Thankful placemats: On a piece of construction paper, write, “I am thankful for _________.” Let your little one jazz it up with crayons, ribbons or glitter and then use it as their Thanksgiving placemat. Isn’t that a good idea?
  • Before you start eating, work on filling in the blank together. You may learn something about your child you didn’t know before!

3. Prepare the Meal

You’ve already worked together to plan the meal, so keep your kids involved by giving them age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen! Younger kids can fetch ingredients or wash them, and older kids can help with cutting, mixing and cooking. The more involved your kids are, the more excited they’ll be about contributing to the Thanksgiving feast.

To make your Thanksgiving kids table even more fun, take all those traditional foods and incorporate an extra touch of holiday creativity:

If you don’t have any meal prep tasks to share, your kids can work on last-minute decorations or go ahead and set the table.

4. Set the Table

Once the food’s cooking, it’s time to get the table ready:

  • Gather up the decorations your kids made and spread them across your tables, snack stations and self-serve areas.
  • Put some extra fun on the table with Thanksgiving-themed silverware, table cloths or these precious folded napkin turkeys.
  • For the finishing touch, have your kids cut out turkey feathers and feet from construction paper. Then arrange them at each place setting so that the plate will create an adorable turkey shape.

These are just some of the ideas I found. I’m sure you can think of a whole lot more for your family.

Whatever you do, I just hope that you spend some time giving thanks for the blessings we all enjoy. Thanksgiving is a great time to do that. Even if it’s been a hard year, gratitude is an importnat lesson for children – of all ages!

Now, what are we waiting for? Let’s go ahead and dig in!