Thanksgiving for the Kiddies

Thanksgiving is a time where families get together and all of the children are all in ONE place.  This has its pluses and minuses, yes its so nice to have all of the kids together, and for the first hour they all get along wonderfully, play, eat and talk.  And then they get bored.  All of the adult relatives who haven't seen each other, possibly since the last Thanksgiving want to talk, catch up, watch football, eat and nap.  In order to maximize the attention span of the kids, its important to have lots of self sufficient activities planned for them to do.  

Here are my favorites:

When planning the kids' table and activities, keep it simple.  Kids don't appreciate a glamorous table, they just want a few fun activities and a place to eat their food that they can comfortably reach the table.  I started with this great little Ikea kids table and chairs, depending on the number of kids, you may want to get a few and put them together.  

Leaf Rubbings Scavenger Hunt

Before I began setting the table, I thought, how fun would it be for the kids to have a sort of scavenger hunt right under their place settings?  Michaels has a great, gigantic roll of wrapping paper that they carry all year, so after taping down a few dried leaves, I overlaid the white paper.  I added a cup of colored pencils and a note to the kids to start coloring the table and these are the beautiful leaf rubbings they discover:

The Tree of Thanksgiving

This activity is nice because it gives the kids a chance to reflect on the real meaning of Thanksgiving, plus you can keep the tree up through the rest of the Holidays as a nice reminder of what this time is all about.  The tree and tags are from Michaels and the pot, Ikea.  

The Mayflower, The Pinta and The Santa Maria 

I made these little ships in advance, since this is a little too involved for the kids to do on the day of.  Its a fun, interactive way for them to know where they are sitting.  With these little ships filled with treats, I guarantee no one will be complaining about sitting at the kids' table this year!  Click here for the How To on these ships and a few other fun place card ideas.

Thanksgiving hats are a fun way to keep the kids busy.  I prefer using the sheets of foam you can get at Michaels or any craft store, it cuts easily, doesn't tear, and is much more comfortable to wear than construction paper.  Let the kids decide on what kind of hat they want to make and use these downloadable templates to print out and leave with them.

Once all the hats are made, get the kids together and take some funny pictures.  

Food and Drink

When deciding on what to serve the picky kids, its a great idea to let them take part in making some of their own treats.  These great acorns and pilgrim hats are simple and delicious.  I love the idea of reusing things, so I dove into my collection of honey jars and will use those to serve the kids drinks. 

As stressful as hosting Thanksgiving can be, remember to keep it fun and what the Holiday is really about.  With a little bit of extra planning and by creating an environment that the kids can enjoy, the adults will be able to kick back and relax more than ever on Thanksgiving Day.