With no gifts, no candy and no costumes, many children consider Thanksgiving a distant runner-up to other fall and winter holidays. While adults are happy with grown-up conversation and good food, kids can become bored and restless once the meal is finished. Instead of leaving the children to their own devices, plan some enjoyable activities that keep the kids thankful about how much fun they are having. Here are our top four Thanksgiving activities to keep kids entertained.
Help in the Kitchen
Thanksgiving means cooking, so keep kids busy with simple kitchen activities. Ask the younger kids to stir batter, help frost a cake, tear lettuce leaves or carry items to the trash. Have older children chop, peel, grate and mix, but keep an eye on them to make sure food preparation stays safe and sanitary. Keep kitchen time long enough so kids feel like they’ve helped, but short enough so they don’t get bored. While you baste the turkey, have the children create table place tags by writing each guest’s name in metallic ink on a miniature pumpkin, then add a sprinkling of faux fall leaves around the plates.
Keep kids busy with a selection of Thanksgiving crafts. Set out paper, crayons, markers or watercolors and have kids create masterpieces showing what makes them most thankful. Or make a gratitude wreath with precut paper leaves and a grapevine or foam wreath. Encourage children to write a word or sentence about what Thanksgiving means to them on each leaf, then paste the leaves to the wreath and hang it on the wall. If convenience is paramount, select a few Thanksgiving craft kits from your local hobby shop, then let the kids enjoy themselves at a designated crafts table.
Kids and adults alike will enjoy getting a dose of fresh air while waiting for the hearty Thanksgiving meal. Go for a walk, or set up a relay race in the backyard. Tape a paper feather to each player’s back, then enjoy a spirited game of capture the turkey’s tail. Get out bicycles and circle the neighborhood. If you have a basketball hoop or volleyball net, get a family game in motion. Invite the neighbors if you need a bigger crowd.
If the weather is too cold for outdoor fun, keep kids entertained with indoor games. Break out a selection of board games the whole family can enjoy. Try Pictionary, Monopoly, Sorry, Apples to Apples or Trivial Pursuit. If board games are too sedate, keep kids busy with an indoor-scavenger hunt. Hide miniature pumpkins throughout the house, then provide kids with a list of clues to their hiding spots. Other options include family-friendly games on a game system like the Wii or game DVDs such as Scene It.