By Contributing Writer, Kelly Wiggains
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I love its simplicity – we come together with the people we love to share a meal and give thanks for our blessings.
Thanksgiving could be a “boring” holiday for kids. Think about it. You have to watch football all day long. You can’t go outside because it’s too cold. You can’t be in the kitchen because there are already too many people crowding it. The parade was over hours ago. Etc.
Or, Thanksgiving could be the perfect holiday to get kids in on the action. Here are some ideas:
1. Let them help in the Kitchen.
If you have kids who want to help with the big turkey dinner, find a job for them. Kids would be great at brushing melted butter on rolls, peeling yams with a supervisor, hand-mashing potatoes, crumbling cornbread and/or biscuits for the pan of dressing, placing olives and pickles on the relish tray, cracking eggs for the pumpkin pie. See this post for other ways to involve your kids in the kitchen.
2. Have plenty of Thanksgiving Snacks.
In my family, my mom always made sausage balls for Thanksgiving morning, a tradition I continue. (Brandy has a great recipe for sausage balls here.) I usually have cut up fruit ready to go as well. Look at this precious fruit turkey from Pinterest:
A fun play on the Thanksgiving theme is this trail mix, using dried fruit and nuts as well as Bugle chips for mini cornucopias. You could also use ice cream cones for the same effect. Give each kid a sugar cone to fill with nuts, dried fruit, even popcorn.
3. Read Thanksgiving Books Together.
Here is a post about my favorite Thanksgiving picture books, and most of these should be available at your local library.
4. Watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special.
Often overshadowed by its more famous specials (The Great Pumpkin and A Charlie Brown Christmas), A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a big hit in my house. My boys crack up at Snoopy making toast and popcorn for an impromptu Thanksgiving dinner, served on a ping pong table, of course. The DVD also features “The Mayflower Voyages,” which retells the journey of the original Pilgrims, featuring the cast of Peanuts as part of the story. It’s quite accurate to the history, and it’s entertaining.
5. Make a Thankful Tree.
Get the kids involved in the entire process. Send them outside to collect some sticks and rocks. Then, offer a vase to construct a tree. Use gift tags or cut out some leaves from construction paper. Everyone can write down a thank you blessing. My kids and I do this throughout November, but it would be a great “day of” activity as well.
6. Let the Kids Set the Table.
One of our homeschool co-op teachers recently gave a lesson on the proper way to set a table. My boys found this fascinating. “Mom, did you know you are supposed to put your knife and fork in a special place?” What can I say? We’re not too formal around here. What better time than Thanksgiving Dinner for your kids to use all of the fancy plates and utensils! Give them this printable place mat chart and get out of the way.
7. Have Thanksgiving Crafts.
A standard kid table at my house always includes a butcher paper tablecloth with jars or tins of crayons and markers. Follow my Pinterest board for other crafty ideas.