Thanksgiving Day preparations can be hectic if you are having a big family meal. Bored children underfoot can be stressful, as you try to shoo them out of your way. Kids like to be involved in holiday preparations, and depending on their age, there are many things you can do to entertain them, plus get a little help.
Home Made Placemats
Set your little ones down at a small table near where you are working. Give them each a plain white paper placemat (Dollar stores have these for a couple bucks per package) and a box of crayons. Assign them certain placemats, such as one for grandma, grandpa, etc. Not only will your children be entertained, family members will love taking these colorful creations home as a keepsake of the day.
Capture the Memories
Older children can make great little photographers! Buy a disposable camera for each child and let them photograph the entire day as it unfolds. From food preparations, to eating dinner, to football games on the television, kids are sure to snap it all! Grandpa Joe may even give in and let a grandchild grab a rare shot of him. The kids will have a good time with it, plus you will all enjoy the memories later.
“Thankful For” Cards
Cut poster board into business card sizes. Arm each child with a handful of cards and an ink pen. Have them ask each guest that arrives to fill out an “I am thankful for” card. The kids can keep track of the cards and place them in a jar they have decorated in festive colors. While everyone relaxes after dinner, have the children take turns reading the cards from the jar. There is no need to know who wrote what card, yet the family will be aware of how each other is feeling.
This story telling game can be quite hilarious at times. Have the kids write a short story about one of their days (how they spend it, an event that happened at school, something they did with friends). If you can get the elderly members of the family gathering to do the same, it is even better.
After dinner, gather everyone in a circle for story-telling. If the older guests wrote a story about their day, have them trade with a child. If only the children wrote a story, have them give their story to a grandparent. Each person must read their story as if it actually happened to them. The better the acting the funnier it can be! Imagine Grandma telling about her day at the mall with friends and seeing the “Oh so cute boy in her class!”
Christmas List Picture Book
Kids are excited about Thanksgiving dinner because they know Christmas isn’t far off. Adults may even be asking the kids about a wish list. Help those out who may not know a lot about today’s toys and games by having the kids create a picture book of things they want. Ask all the adults to bring sale flyers and Christmas catalogs.
Provide the kids with scissors (for those old enough) glue and plain white paper. Have them look through all the flyers and catalogues, cut out pictures of items they want and glue them onto the paper. They can even design a cover for their wish book. When they are done, make a few copies of their pages, help them staple them together and then they can hand their wish book out to grandparents. You can even keep one so you know exactly what your child wants when you go shopping.
Source: Keeping my own children and grandchildren entertained during holidays.