Thanksgiving dinner is an affair for the young and old. Most families like to place children at their own table so that they can converse with the other young guests, leaving the adult table free to chat without having to possibly talk over the excited babble of the children. As we all know, children tend to become bored quickly when adults are chatting with each other. In order to make the holidays go by smoothly, make sure to include the children in their own festivities. By letting them know that they are being thought of, they will kick the holiday boredom to the curb. Here are some tips to make the children’s table more festive and fun.
Decorate the table with festive Thanksgiving decor. If you make the children’s table look more appealing than that of the adults, you will find it easier to persuade them to sit there.
Have each seat assigned to a child. Make name cards for each child, and plan the seating so that children who may have conflicts with each other are spaced apart to avoid squabbles.
If you plan to have the guests arrive a while before the feast begins, make sure to have activities available for the children to do while sitting. Have a basket of crayons or markers available with coloring books or paper. Ask the children to draw something that they are thankful for, and offer a spot for their work to be displayed for the day.
Buy a few decks of inexpensive cards. Encourage the children to play “Go Fish” or “War” with each other.
If you have a crafty teen available who wouldn’t mind helping the youngsters out, offer a basket of different craft items. Have each child make their own Thanksgiving crafts to display for the day.
Gather a list of games from the Internet that you think the children would like to engage in. Most common might be Telephone (have a master list of sayings to go around the table to avoid inappropriate or rude sayings), Who/What Am I? (use a master list again with Thanksgiving themes), and incorporate a few ideas of your own. Ask the children what they think the Pilgrims and Indians ate at their first Thanksgiving, and how the foods were brought to the table.
Have a teen read a fun and engaging children’s story book to the table.
As we all know, Thanksgiving is mostly about the food. It isn’t enough to merely keep the children occupied while waiting for the feast. Engaging the children in actively eating and enjoying the food that is served will dissuade them from being cranky later in the evening from lack of food. Here are a few ideas to jazz up the kids’ menu and make it more enjoyable.
Using a turkey shaped cookie cutter, cut out turkeys from pieces of white or wheat bread (wheat would be more festive). Have children spread peanut butter on their “turkey” and allow them to decorate the beaks/eyes with candy corn and assorted sundae toppings (sprinkles and dots).
Give each child a sugar cone. Have each pipe a thin coating of icing (your choice) inside the cone, then fill with assorted candies or fruit snacks. These tasty “cornucopias” will not only give them plenty of fun activity, but will provide a fun snack as well.
Set out platters of fruits in bite sized chunks. Give each child a skewer (metal would be best, they aren’t as sharp as wooden skewers) and allow them to build their own fruit kabobs. Place small dishes of dips for the fruit at the table for them to eat with their fruit. Along the same lines, chunk up raw veggies and use different dips for these kabobs.
Planning ahead and having ideas in store for Thanksgiving could give children the edge they need to enjoy the feast on their own. Their own foods and plenty of crafts or games will keep their little minds busy while the adults enjoy chatting and feasting on their own.