How To Host A Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner

If you are inviting family and friends over this Thanksgiving, you’re probably also going to be entertaining kids. Younger guests will grow restless and GET bored faster than the adults and they tend to have more finicky food preferences. The following suggestions can make turkey day fun and tasty for everyone, regardless of age.

Setting Up: Get The Kids Involved

Enlist the help of older children to set the Thanksgiving table or let them help cook some of the simple dishes being mindful of safety precautions when it comes to the stove, oven and knives. Task them with pouring non-alcoholic beverages for guests and ask them to clear used dishes after the meal. Giving kids tasks can help them feel more involved and they help teach life lessons.

Separate Kids Table

Are you expecting a large turnout, especially in terms of how many kids are coming over?

If you have the room, set up a separate table for the kids. It doesn’t need to be fancy, rather it can be simple, such as a plastic fold-up table with chairs their size.

  • Use a large white sheet of paper instead of a table cloth and hand out crayons to the kids. They can all have fun distracting themselves by coloring on the paper without damaging your fancy linen.
  • Or stock up on coloring books or other small games and puzzles at your nearest Dollar Store. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to help keep them entertained until the food is ready.

Kid-Friendly Dishes

While most of the adult guests can’t wait to devour your traditional Thanksgiving meal, the kids might not. Consider offering popular kid-friendly side dishes. Not every protein served needs to consist of turkey and you can play it safe by offering a couple alternative options for even the pickiest of eaters.

  • Mac and cheese
  • Chicken nuggets or strips
  • Veggie dip tray  
  • Mini sliders made with turkey meat
  • Sweet potato puffs, bites or tater tots
  • Steamed broccoli with cheese
  • Turkey dogs cut up into small bites

If even those options are STILL too “fancy” then you can fill a tray with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut up into small squares, sure to please any tiny tot crowd.

Start A Family Tradition

Consider creating a Thanksgiving tradition if you don’t already have one. Ask the children for ideas and it can be as simple as a pumpkin decorating activity, going on a walk after the big meal, starting on Christmas wish lists or watching a kid-friendly holiday movie.

Mommy Tip: Amazon.com and Netflix has a variety of movies for all ages!

5 Thanksgiving Movies For Kids

  1.   A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
  2.   Garfield Thanksgiving (1996)
  3.   Winnie The Pooh: Seasons of Giving (1999)
  4.   Dora The Explorer: Dora’s Thanksgiving Parade (2012)
  5.   Free Birds (2013)

Whichever family tradition you decide to create, make sure to be present, by turning off all electronics—cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc. Giving your undivided attention results in a more memorable and enjoyable experience with your loved ones.

There’s nothing more precious than time once its gone. So, enjoy quality time with your family. Happy Little Camp wishes you and your family a wondering Thanksgiving!