Getting the Kids Involved in Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving can be either an awful or wonderful memory for kids. It can be a day full of adults yelling to “get away from that stove” and “don’t stand in front of the tv while the football game is on” or it can be a day where kids help prepare food, decorate the table, greet the guests, and have a good time.

Here are a few suggestions to keep the kids busy yet involved- so that you can get the cooking done, they can help, and everyone stays happy!

1) A Thanksgiving Prayer– Teach your children the true meaning of thanksgiving by having them write the prayer at the beginning of the meal. It can be elaborate, funny, long or short, it can rhyme, whatever they like. They can even illustrate it! I used to write the Thanksgiving prayers when I was little, and it thrilled me to read them to my favorite adults. Now my kids do it! It’s a great tradition to start.

2) Table Settings/Placemats– Get out some construction paper or printer paper and let the kids design some special Thanksgiving placemats. They can use their hands to create turkeys, draw the Mayflower, some pilgrims or Indians, or what they are thankful for. Another idea would be to make them draw their family tree, especially if you are having relatives over. Make the placemats reusable by covering with contact paper before using them, or don’t cover them and use them as disposable placemats. Some kids may also enjoy folding napkins into interesting shapes. You can also use the opportunity to show them how to set a “fancy” table like the restaurants do, complete with salad, dinner and dessert forks, etc.

3) In the Kitchen- even small children can help mash the potatoes, stir up a salad, or stuff the turkey. Older kids can even help baste the turkey- always with adult supervision! Be sure to include kids in preparing veggie and fruit trays- they’re more likely to eat food that they’ve helped prepare!

4) Door Greeter– Have your child be the official “greeter” while you finish doing things in the kitchen. Most kids love to have a special “job” and it helps avoid the “Mom, I’m bored” complaints when your harried and hurried. You could also have them design an Indian “vest” out of a paper bag to wear as the door greeter.

5) Cleaning– all family members should help mom clean up! Even small children can pick up their toys. Older kids can help sweep, vacuum, wipe off tables, dust, and clean the sinks. I usually do the toilets- I don’t think I could pay my kids to do that chore!

6) Server– playing “waiter” can be a fun game for the kids- have them ask your guests if their drinks need refilling, or if they’d like more of whatever appetizer you’re serving. Some kids even like to dress up for the job- an added bonus because it’s free entertainment for the guests! Don’t forget to take pictures!

7) Half Time Show– If your family traditions include watching football, let the kids be the half time entertainment. That way everyone is happy! Let them sing, dance, tell jokes and stories, whatever they like. You may find that you enjoy it more than the game!

About the AuthorKim Tilley Editor of Frugal Moms Live better for less!