Growing up in a large family means that even at twenty-two I am still relegated to the kiddie table, but even if you don’t have a silly cousin to whip “tofurkey” off the kids mouths and keep them busy we found plenty inventive ways to entertain the kids. These tips are great for parents who host children regularly and people without kids who have a ragtag group visiting from out of town. Normally children eat upon phone books placed on mixed-matched chairs and an old card table, which can’t be too comfortable for the kids or too pleasing to look at. Giving kids their own space will make them feel more comfortable and giving them things to do will keep them preoccupied, which means the big kids can play undisturbed a little longer.
I found this “Kiddie Table” on Country Living.com. Notice the plaid “drop cloth”… not even the grass is safe from kids’ messes and spills. We prefer a round table like our Flea Market child-sized table and chair set to better encourage sharing and conversation.
Use a table their size to give kids autonomy. When they feel more independent they are going to want to feed themselves and keep themselves busy.
Now, for the keeping them busy part…Create an engaging, useful and cohesive table arrangement. (Yes, I’m still talking about the kid’s table) A good looking kiddie table will separate the real decorating divas from all the wannabes. I found this turkey/marker centerpiece from Disney’s Family Fun site and think it’s just the greatest idea. It requires a trip to the craft store (or closet) so grab a pen and make a list.
- Cut a Styrofoam ball (7inch diameter shown here) and paint brown and let it dry
- Using brown card stock paper create a turkey neck and head
- Use googly eyes or create your own (don’t forget to draw the yellow beak and red gizzard!
- Use markers to poke holes where they will be creating the look of feathers
And there you go; it’s easier than pie! Now kids have a centerpiece they can use, but we aren’t stopping there. Crayola.com has a great selection of free coloring pages that will keep the kids preoccupied for hours. Simply print out a few of your favorite black and white patterns and create a packet for each kid. Write their name or initials at the top so they can take their packet home with them at the end of the night.
When you are at the craft store picking up your Styrofoam ball you can also get a roll of thanksgiving themed stickers and sprinkle them around the table; kids will love to incorporate the stickers to their drawings and they will look festive on the table.
Just as kids don’t want to feel like they are being separated from the rest of the group they want to feel useful, especially when mom and dad are entertaining. An easy, safe and fun way for kids to be of some helpful getting ready is by going to the backyard and collecting a bunch of leaves you can use on the “grown up table.” Thanksgiving is a celebration of America’s farming history just as much as it is about giving thanks and because of that, incorporating nature into your decor creates an appropriate rustic charm. Use the leaves the kids have collected to decorate clear vases, hurricane lamps, etc.
Image Country Living
I would prefer to fill this mini rectangular lantern with leaves and candles in different heights; it feels rustic while still being modern and would be a little dash of the unexpected.
Another great use for the leaves: using a string and adhesive have kids paste the leaves onto the string to create a fun garland. It is something that will be predominately displayed so your children can feel proud that they contributed to making Thanksgiving memorable. Keep checking back here at The Well Appointed House Blog for more holiday tips, table dressing, gift ideas and yummy recipes!