I love Thanksgiving! It’s the kick-off to Christmas season, you eat lots of food, and my big family always gets together for the holiday before going Black Friday shopping! Now that I have a young daughter I want to start new traditions and include her in the celebration.
Here are 5 ways to involve even young kids in your Thanksgiving celebration including printable Thanksgiving placemats. They double as Thanksgiving coloring sheets and are perfect for starting a conversation about gratitude.
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1. Help make DIY thanksgiving decorations
Turn a simple nature walk into a fun fall-themed centerpiece! They can pick up pinecones, leaves, acorns, pine needles, etc on a nice walk, or maybe even from your own backyard! Put them all in a square vase and voila, instant centerpiece your kids can be proud of!
If you live in Southern California like me you may, unfortunately, have to purchase most of your fall nature pieces. I was able to get the pine cones but the rest I grabbed on Amazon or the dollar store. The links below are for Amazon but I highly recommend checking your dollar store first as the prices were a bit steep on Amazon.
To make one like this you’ll need:
- Leaves (I used a coffee stirring stick to push the leaves down)
- Square vase
- Ribbon (optional) if you want to tie a bow
This makes such a pretty centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table or you can place it somewhere else in your home as beautiful fall decor.
Kids can also help make these cute Styrofoam turkeys to add to your decor or use as name cards for Thanksgiving dinner.
2. Printable thanksgiving placemats
Grab these free printable Thanksgiving gratitude placemats for your kids to decorate. They can color one for every guest. Depending on their age they may be able to write the names or else you’ll have to do that part for them.
Each guest can write what they’re grateful for and share it before, after, or during dinner. It’s a great way to introduce gratitude at a young age. Let even the youngest guests have a turn saying what they’re grateful for, you may be amazed at what comes out of the mouths of babes.
3. Set the table
Once they’ve set out their placemats they can help set the table. A toddler may need help but they are perfectly capable of putting a fork, spoon, and butter knife at each place. Just make sure they have supervision with the fork and butter knife.
My toddler loves to help with whatever I’m doing and already helps put the silverware in the dishwasher and put them away when they’re clean! I’m taking advantage of it while she thinks helping is fun lol.
4. Create a menu
Make an example for them to follow and then let your kids help create a menu for each guest. For slightly older kids they can try to write the words, they might come up with some creative spellings! For younger kids, they can draw pictures of just color the menu.
5. Help make dinner.
No, I don’t expect you to have your toddler slaving away over a hot stove all day. But they can help with simple tasks like mixing. The first dish I remember helping with as a kid was green bean casserole. To this day my cousins and I debate over who’s going to make it, even though we all pretty much make it the same way.
It’s a super simple one as all you have to do is dump several ingredients in a bowl and mix. They can do it on a table away from all the hot things and then an adult can put it in the oven. They’ll be so excited to help instead of just being asked to stay out of the way.
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