Thanksgiving is supposed to be time to relax and enjoy family, time to take a few minutes to recognize the blessings in our life. You aren’t alone if your annual Thanksgiving celebration is anything less than stressful and overwhelming. There is food that needs prepared, family members to please, extra furniture to set up, grocery shopping to do, not to mention arranging schedules to make sure that you are present at every family celebration. In all of this, kids often get less to their own devices, and end up making messes that need cleaned up, and arguments that need solved. By taking a few minutes to prepare simple activities to keep the kids busy, you can check one worry off your list! Here are some ideas and resources that you can use to entertain children – big and small – and bring some peace to the holiday.
- Thanksgiving pre-k pack and expansion pack from Over the Big Moon. Download and print these packs – it will take 10 minutes and your children will be busy for hours. There are puzzles, tracing sheets, coloring pages, patterning pages, sorting activities, writing practice, letter sound and vocabulary cards. You may have to do some cutting, but if you have an older child ask them to do this for you. Place all of the pages in a gallon Ziploc bag with a couple of pencils and a box of crayons
and you are all set!
- Coloring sheets that double as a placemat. Our favorite Thanksgiving placemats are from paper and glitter. Print enough of these for all of the kids at your celebration, and a few extras in case the adults want to join in too.
- This genius idea comes from TomKat Studio. Set out small containers of nuts, dried fruits, and candy with bags or containers. Ask each child to create their own Thanksgiving Harvest Mix, which they can snack on before the meal. This will keep them out of the kitchen, and you won’t have to answer “can we eat yet?” over and over again.
- If you are hosting the celebration, gather a collection of Thanksgiving related books from your local library. The children will enjoy the books, and older relatives will have just as much fun reading to them.
- Find ways to involve the children in preparing for the big day. They can help set the table, ask guests what they would like to drink, put away coats when guests arrive, remove foil and plastic wrap from dishes and platters, refill bowls of snack mix, and make sure there are napkins in strategic places throughout the house. Giving children a job will make them feel like they have a role to play, and will take your attention off of small tasks so that you can focus on preparing the meal and entertaining your guests.