When you know you will have kids on the guest list for Thanksgiving, a little bit of special thought and preparation can make them feel included, and give them enough to do that they occupy themselves for awhile!
Here are a few thoughts on how to “do up” your Kids Table to make it a little extra special for them – and for you!
1) Choose the location wisely.
I am putting the kid’s table outside. It will seem extra special to the kids, there won’t be a problem if any food spills on the ground, and it provides a quieter environment to hear every detail of my grandpa’s stories of the old days. If this is not an option for you because of the weather or maybe the layout of your home wouldn’t provide a safe view, just have it inside. But make sure the table isn’t sitting on top of your prized expensive rug!
2) Cover the table in paper.
I am using brown butcher paper because the warmer tone feels more like fall. This will provide for easy clean up when the meal is over, as well as plenty of activities to keep the kids busy.
3) Put out plenty of crayons!
Make jars of crayons as their centerpieces. Let them know that drawing on the table is not only allowed, but encouraged! Show the kids how to draw a turkey on the table using the outline of their hands, and tell them to list the things they are thankful for. Hold a contest for the best picture of the Mayflower.
4) Have kid friendly table decor.
Set some apples on the table. Apples are seasonal, add color, and they can satisfy the kid’s urge to eat fresh fruit during the meal! Another good idea is to create levels by stacking thanksgiving or fall themed books (obviously not a good idea if your guests don’t know that not all books are coloring books). You could also add small pumpkins or gourds, pine cones, or pictures of things/people they are thankful for.
4) Think about the food presentation.
We know that sometimes what a child will or will not eat has little to do with the actual taste of the food. Often the texture, shape, color, or general mood of the child that day are the biggest factors. Think of ways to tweak the thanksgiving meal without having to completely make something different for the kids. This could be as simple as serving the turkey on a roll as a sandwich so that the child never sees the whole bird (which may scare them away). You could also add some food coloring to a side dish just for the kids or use fall themed cookie cutters to shape the food into something they would have more fun eating. Create a special presentation, just for them!
5) Fun extras!
I remember making pilgrim and Indian outfits when I was a child. I loved running around with my sisters and friends in our costumes, and it really helped me understand and be interested in the history of the holiday. I don’t know about full costumes (I had a supermom) but I found some super easy pilgrim and Indian hat craft ideas on Pinterest. I decided these would be great as name cards! Add some decorations to the hat, and when the kids put them on we could briefly remind them of the first Thanksgiving.
Maybe you have time to only pull off one of these ideas – then good for you! Your tiny guests will be sure to remember their special day at your house!