Keeping the Kids Busy at Thanksgiving Gatherings

The gates have officially opened and the holiday season is upon us. Before the whirlwind sweeps us all off our feet, let’s devise a plan. There is nothing worse than having a list of a million things to do and being bombarded by children (who have no such lists) all day. Use these ideas to keep the kids from dipping into the pies and whining about being bored.

1. It has been a Thanksgiving tradition since my child could use a glue stick to make napkins rings. As soon as the bird hits the heat, I break out the toilet paper rolls. First, cut the rolls into thirds for as many napkins as you will need on your table. Next, wrap the tubes in construction paper, color them, or paint them. Decorate with paper ‘feathers’ to make turkeys, cut out pilgrim hats, or wrap with Native American headdresses.

2. You can’t go wrong with a scavenger hunt. Make the list as detailed as necessary depending on the kids’ ages. Simple lists could include finding a turkey, how many pies do you see, find three beverages, etc. Older kids could follow clues to find list items. Sample list here.

3. Simple crafts are always a hit at our house. You can keep it relative with turkey magnets, or plan ahead and start snowman/snow flake crafts. Either way, have the supplies ready for when the kids get tired of watching football.

4. Thanksgiving BINGO is a lot of fun! Make the spaces with pictures of a turkey, corn, leaves, pumpkins, etc. Have a non-cooking adult be the caller. Offering little prizes steps it up another level! Too busy to make your own? This link has 10 pre-made boards!

5. If you plan ahead, make a pin-the-beak-on-the-turkey game. Get a regular size poster board, draw a large turkey (for an extra time-filler, the kids can color him in on Thanksgiving), and cut beaks out of construction paper. You can use different color paper or number the beaks before you put some double-sided tape on the backs.

If these ideas seem too ambitious, remember you can never go wrong with coloring books for the younger children. For older children, why not invite them to help with the cooking? Either way, make this holiday one to remember and build some new Thanksgiving traditions!

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