Thanksgiving dinners with my family are multi-generational affairs. Up to four generations attend the party, so accommodating everyone takes a little forethought. In particular, keeping the kids entertained ensures that everyone enjoys Thanksgiving. With just a few simple steps, you can create a memorable, fun Thanksgiving even for your littlest guests.
Coordinate the kids’ space.
Although kids appreciate their own table, you don’t have to sacrifice style. When I planned this year’s Thanksgiving table, I chose a color palette of cranberry, candlelight orange, and tan. The dessert table, adult table, and kids’ table all incorporated these colors. The paper goods, such as the name cards and food labels, for each of the tables also matched.
Offer plenty of activities.
Providing activities for the kids keeps them occupied for several extra minutes after they finish their meal. One simple activity is a Thankfulness Tree. A small “tree” can be set up on the table by placing branches in a vase. The kids then write what they are thankful for on paper leaves and place them on the tree. The tree also doubles as an inexpensive centerpiece. Basic kraft paper can be elevated with grosgrain ribbon and placed on top of the kids’ table. The kraft paper serves to keep the linens clean and as a spot for kids to doodle. One other entertaining craft, like the owl coloring pages available on TOPS’s website, gives kids an opportunity to get creative.
Take it outside.
If the weather permits, set up the kids’ table outdoors. Kids generally love being outdoors. For school-aged kids, when they are done eating, they can play outside until the grown- ups finish their dinner. If Thanksgiving Day is too chilly, choose another kid friendly spot for the kids’ table. Setting up the table in a playroom, basement, or even a child’s bedroom allows the kids the freedom to play after they clean their plates.
Add natural elements to your décor.
Fall is a great time to find décor in your own backyard. For the Thankfulness Tree, I gathered twigs from my backyard and spray painted them white for a modern look. The dessert table included acorns and mini pumpkins upgraded with gold spray paint. For the kids, acorns were also transformed into whimsical little owls with simple craft felt. These mini owls would be perfect for your pint size guests. And, the little owls can be taken home as a party favor.
Choose Desserts for the Young at Heart.
Although Pumpkin Pie is a perennial Thanksgiving favorite, kids appreciate a few dessert options that are just for them. Gumballs and sixlets in apothecary jars add pops of color to a dessert table, but are also irresistible to little hands. Mini pies and little cookies are also easier for kids to manage. Kids won’t be the only ones sampling these goodies. Adults will certainly be tempted by the candies and mini desserts, too.