We all know that on Thanksgiving Day, when you are busy cooking in the kitchen and preparing the house for guests, the last thing you want is unhappy children underfoot. What can you do to allow them to feel like they are part of the celebration without making a mess?
- The kids table. I am a firm believer in the kids table –not because I want my children to sit separately from me (I think that part is just an added bonus), but because they can do what they want to do with their table. Have your children decorate the table. Instead of a table cloth use some white butcher paper. So, yes, decorate the actual table. Put out crayons, markers, stickers etc.
- Place cards. This is great for children who need to work on their penmanship. These can be simple folded note cards. Or, you can have the children do things that are even more elaborate.
- Centerpiece for the buffet table. Let kids group together some small pumpkins and dried corn. If you are lucky enough to still have colorful leaves outside, you might want to grab some of them for the kids to use as decorating tools.
- Holiday games. Play some holiday themed games: Like pin the feathers on the turkey. Make some pilgrim hats and feather headpieces. Play charades using only Thanksgiving themed words.
- Put on a Show. For older children who like to put on shows, encourage them to recreate the First Thanksgiving in a puppet show. My children always love doing things like this. And then when your guests arrive you can say, “Dinner AND a show!”
Just remember that in the end it isn’t going to matter how messy your house is, or if your children color on their faces with magic marker. What is important is being with friends and family and being thankful and grateful for all of it, construction paper glitter and all.