At most Thanksgiving gatherings, there is plenty for the adults to do. Cooking, setting the table, watching football, or just catching up with each other. The kids can probably find plenty to do, too, but if you have a few things prepared to keep them busy, maybe they can stay out of trouble!!
Coloring placemats are one of my favorite things to use anytime I am making a place setting for children. They are easy to make, and add an activity to any celebration. For this holiday, I printed a placemat with 2 sides. Thanksgiving on the front, and pre-Christmas on the back. The front has pictures to color, but you could also find word games or puzzles for free online to print out. The most important part is the box for each person to write what they are thankful for this year. The back is a Christmas Wish List. Those Black Friday circulars are full of gift ideas and toy catalogs. There are spaces for both gifts "To Get" & "To Give."
|(made by Events DEE-signed)|
I LOVE this tablecover idea from the Sweet Paul Blog. You can get this type of wrapping paper at your local dollar store.
|(from Sweet Paul blog)|
Simply draw the placemats directly on the paper, put out some crayons, and let the kids decorate the entire table cover. After dinner, you can either cut out each child's artwork for a keepsake or, if the table is a mess, just fold everything up in the paper and throw it all away in one quick sweep. Then the table is ready for board games, or maybe some after-dinner crafting.
Always have a couple of board games for indoors, and a couple of outdoor game ideas along with balls, frisbees, etc... in case you are lucky enough to have nice weather. We still have Thanksgiving in my grandparents 2-bedroom house, even though the family has grown to 20+, so if we can send the kids outside, that's just one more enormous thing to be thankful for!! The kids' table can be board game central, or they can set up in a spare room on the floor.
Some kids will want to help in the set-up. There are plenty of simple napkin folds that a child could master. You can always find tutorials on YouTube. This one from Danielle's Place is adorable.
|(from Danielle's Place)|
Maybe they could help with a very simple appetizer that requires no cooking. This does the double-duty of keeping the kids busy and the adults from sneaking any turkey while everyone waits!! Most children can arrange pre-cut vegetables or cheese squares onto a plate. Another cute idea I found on Pinterest (I LOVE that site!!) is to put fruit pieces on skewers and make this Fruit Gobbler from Family Fun Magazine. They used a cantaloupe, but I think a small pumpkin would be great.
|(from Family Fun Magazine)|
I hope some of these ideas will work for you, or at least get your own imagination flowing!!