Kids have a lot of energy and to expect them to sit still and behave for several hours at a strange house or at your house full of family is ridiculous. Kids need to have plenty to do to keep them out of your hair and having fun. Follow these suggestions to help make your and your child’s Thanksgiving dinner exciting and under control.
Turkey, Turkey, Chicken!
Play it the same way as the traditional version of duck, duck, goose.
All kids sit in a circle except one who it “it”. The person who is “it” walks around the circle touching everyone on the head saying turkey each time they touch someone head. When “it” is ready, they will touch the next person’s head and say “chicken” and start running. The “chicken” will jump up and chase her trying to tag her before she takes the “chicken’s” seat.
If “it” makes it into the “chicken’s” seat before getting tagged, she is no longer it, and “chicken” will take over being the name caller. Kids can play this for quite some time, and they run out a lot of energy playing this game.
Make a Scare-Crow Race
You will need; straw, old clothes and hats, paper plates, markers, and long sticks. Separate the children into teams. Each team has to use the supplies and build a scare-crow. The first team done wins! This is a lot of fun and older kids or some of the men can supervise this game and take pictures. Make sure to have plenty of supplies so that everyone can make their own scare-crow to take home!
Thanksgiving Day Activity Booklet
Create an activity booklet for each child out of coloring pages, word puzzles and other games that you can print off the internet. Make sure that the booklet content is Thanksgiving based content to add to the atmosphere. Also include some Thanksgiving Day facts throughout the booklet. Leave the cover of the booklets blank and have a pack of crayons at each child’s place-setting and let the child color their own Thanksgiving Day picture on their booklet.
Give each children small notepads and pencils. Have them go around to the guests and interview them to find out what everyone is thankful for. The kids will record the answers in the notepad. Then at dinner time they can read aloud what the person they interviewed was thankful for, as well as telling everyone what they are thankful for. This is a nice thing to do and it saves the adults from the stage fright they might have felt if they had to announce it themselves!
The Thanksgiving Table
This will give them an important job on such a special day. Each can have their own job, one can put the plates on the table, someone else can do the silverware, glasses, etc. The kids can even fold paper or cloth napkins for each place-setting to make the table look prettier. Make sure to have markers, card stock and Thanksgiving stickers on hand to let the kids make Thanksgiving themed place-setting cards for each person.
Can I Take Your Order?
Another idea that my sister and I use to love was taking the drink order for dinner. The women were always in the kitchen and the men were always in the living room at grandma’s house, and the mom’s use to send all the kids into the living room to take the guy’s drink order. The kids can use a small notebook to record the orders and they can pretend that they are a waitress or waiter while they are getting the orders!
Thanksgiving Kid Cooks!
Children love to cook and Thanksgiving is a great time for kids to get involved. If you don’t want them around the hot items the kids can be in charge of making simple food items. What my family does is puts the kids in charge of putting olives and pickles onto serving dishes, creating the veggie tray, putting the cranberry sauce onto a serving dish, making the biscuits, and making fruit salad. There are plenty of simple things the kids can help with on Thanksgiving to make your day easier and it will allow the kids to feel like an important part of the Thanksgiving Day meal.
Print out some child friendly Thanksgiving Day jokes off the internet, one or two jokes for each child. Before dinner begins, have the children do a stand-up comedy routine where they tell the Thanksgiving Day jokes. Adults can cheer and applaud the kids. This will make a fun family tradition.
If you have any drama queens in the family then hand them a pilgrim and Indian Thanksgiving Day script and tell them to practice this because during dessert they will be performing the play for the family. Find a script online or make one up yourself. Make sure that all the kids can be a part of the play. Have the kids practice and then during dessert as the adults are loosening their britches because they ate too much, the kids can put on a nice enjoyable Thanksgiving Day play. If you can get some props for the play to make it even more fun!
Thanksgiving Day Instrumental
Are there any musicians in the house? Tell your family members to bring their instruments to Thanksgiving Dinner this year. Most likely you will all know one or two of the same songs and you can all play together. Its ok if there is just a one man band, a solo is a nice addition to the dinner table ambiance.
These activities will keep the children busy and entertained, not to mention the adults. With less work to do parents can get to enjoy the day in a more relaxed way and the kids will feel like an important part of their family Thanksgiving dinner tradition.