Entertaining Little Ones on Thanksgiving

If you’re expecting a houseful of guests on Thanksgiving you’ve probably, as any good hostess would, already planned out every detail of your menu.  So, now it’s time to ask yourself how you’ll keep your littlest guests entertained from the time the doorbell rings until that final helping of pie is served.

While you may not bat an eyelash at your kids’ roughhousing or jumping on the couch most days, your Aunt Ida may not appreciate it when she’s visiting for Thanksgiving.  Here are some ways to avoid meltdowns, keep little hands busy and everyone smiling.

Set Up a Kids’ Table

It doesn’t have to be fancy, but giving your young guests their own space will help keep boredom at bay.  Cover the table with craft paper, provide crayons and let each child decorate their table setting.






Download and print some simple Thanksgiving themed decorations from Alphamom.  Kids can color their own napkin rings, place cards or make a centerpiece for the kiddie table.





Get Crafty

Organize a group activity and have the kids make their own paper bag turkey.  Have one adult guest who’s willing to help with some of the cutting and gluing.  Have the popcorn filling already made and just listen to the giggles as the kids stuff their bird.






Use a paper plate, some felt and colorful paint to update the classic handprint turkey we all made as kids.  It’s also a nice keepsake; in years to come it will be hard to believe their hands were ever so small.





Game Time

Download and print Thanksgiving Bingo boards from Crayola’s website and get a game going.  Before you know it, even the grown-ups will want to join in the fun.


For older kids, you can create your own free crossword puzzles and word searches at Discovery Education.  You can even personalize it by choosing Thanksgiving related words and family members’ names to add to your puzzles.



Invite the whole family to play the game Ask Me Anything, from Family Fun Magazine.  Make a simple board from a piece of cardboard and create questions like, “What are you most thankful for?” Or, see how well family members know one another by asking, “If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be?”





Vivian Cardinale