Thanksgiving is truly a time for family, friends and thankfulness. Everyone comes together to reflect on the year and laugh together over delicious food and long-awaited conversation. It is the perfect reason to test out your cooking skills and pull out the fine china. With such a fancy feast to prepare, sometimes it can be a little difficult to figure out how to manage all of the younger visitors.
When it comes down to it though, the most important part of the day is the memories you will make with your family. We have some tips for getting a stamp of approval from even your littlest guest.
Five Tips for Hosting a Family-Friendly Thanksgiving
Set up a kids’ table
Oh the fun you can have with this! There is a well-known joke that no one likes to sit at the kids’ table, but it does not have to be that way. Sometimes the kids’ table is the best spot in the house! Kid-friendly place-settings with a few Thanksgiving-themed items are sure to be a hit.
Check out your store’s local dollar spot for festive place mats, name tags or table games. You can even put brown paper down as the table cloth and place crayons around for an interactive table mat. Ask the kids to draw their best turkey and have a small prize for the winner!
Prepare a kid-friendly Thanksgiving craft
Between the sports on the television, the cooking in the kitchen and the precious time chatting with family from out of town, the kids might not be getting as much attention as usual. You’ve probably cleaned the house from top to bottom for your guests, but consider leaving one area that is allowed to get a little messy. In the playroom or on the porch you can set up a card table and let the little ones craft away.
Check out Pinterest for adorable turkey, leaf or pilgrim-related craft ideas. Try to minimize the mess (for example, finger-painting or tons of glitter), but allow the kids to create something of their own. Pilgrim hats anyone? Then invite them to bring it to their kids’ table as part of the décor!
Play an outdoor family game
There’s something perfectly Thanksgiving-ish about a family game of tag football in the backyard. It gets everyone involved and allows you to burn off some of those holiday-meal calories. Even Grandma and Grandpa can cheer from the sidelines if they are not up to join one of the teams.
If football isn’t your thing, consider corn hole or kickball. You can have family members bring their favorite sport-related shirt or if you are really passionate, you can have family-themed shirts made for each team. Can’t you just see this one becoming a family tradition?
Let the little ones join in on cooking
This does not have to be some elaborate activity, and it definitely is heavily age-dependent. However, allowing the kids to put their stamp on some portion of the food makes them feel like they are contributing. This could be as simple as setting up a decorating station and letting them get creative with the cookie toppings.
If you are looking for a little more help from an older child, have them read the recipe out loud and hand you ingredients. Be sure to share with the dinner guests what the little ones made so they can take credit for their addition to the feast.
Share what you’re thankful for
This is a wonderful way to get the entire family to open up about the important things in their life. No matter what the size of your dinner party, the sentiment is the same. There are a lot of cute ways to go about this too.
One of my favorite ways is filling a little basket with corn kernels. Everyone gets three corn kernels. You pass the basket around the table and when it is your turn you drop each one into the basket as you say what you are thankful for this year. It is a fun way to combined festive decoration with the meaning of the season.
Capturing all that thankfulness in one room can be a powerful message to a child, and you might find out a few things you didn’t know about the little ones in your life.
With all of the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s easy to get bogged down with responsibilities and lose sight of the bigger picture. Focusing your festivities on the entire family will help ensure everyone has a meaningful holiday. It might just take some stress off you too. Don’t forget to snap a photo of those thankful little pilgrims as they eat at the kids’ table! It’s a memory you will certainly cherish for years to come.