A Host's Guide To Creating A Thanksgiving Kids Table They'll Actually Sit At

No kid likes being relegated to the "kiddie table." Unless, of course, the kiddie table is THE place to be.

Thanksgiving isn't the most kid-friendly holiday — waiting around for the turkey to be cooked and carved, for the table to be set, only to result in hours of adult dinner conversation and waiting around a table. No presents or anything.

The solution? Shaking things up with a super-fun kids table that makes the occasion a good time for the young'uns. With a few DIY additions, you can create a new Thanksgiving tradition the kids in your family will look forward to every year - that's something we can all be grateful for.

1. Activity tablecloth & place mats

Subbing a linen tablecloth for craft paper turns the entire table into a blank canvas to keep kids busy during courses. If you don't want to cover the entire table in paper, place large square pieces at each place for a colourable place mat instead. Make place mats even more fun by printing out Martha's colouring-book style Turkey place mat template.

2. Fun and functional centerpiece 

Rather than assembling a floral arrangement in the centre of the kids table, create a little more interesting and interactive centerpiece for them. A paper bag turkey filled with popcorn! Using a large brown grocery bag, 2 small brown lunch bags, 3 bags of popcorn and a hot glue gun, you can make a turkey centerpiece that kids can "carve" themselves with a butter knife to reveal a snack everyone can enjoy before the main meal.

3. Kid-friendly eats

No kids table is truly effective without the meal being tweaked to add a bit of interest. You don't have to make an entirely different meal to please younger palates. For example, stick toothpick flags into stuffed squash halves to make squash boats, roast sweet potato halves with mini marshmallows stuffed inside, or carve jack-o-lantern faces into stuffed peppers. It's all about adding minor details for fun presentation factor.  

Also, get kids involved in the cooking and they'll be more likely to take interest in the feast. Find a way to get kids involved from washing produce to measuring ingredients.

4. Wearables

Who says Halloween is the only occasion that calls for a costume? Place a paper pilgrim hat at each place setting and let kids get into character. Simply download this template and trace it onto paper. Cut out the silhouette of the hat, fold up the brim, then cut out the headband, rest it inside the fold of the brim and secure with glue.

5. Mocktails

A fancy, kid-friendly mocktail goes a long way for making the kids' table special. Cranberry Apple Spritzer mocktails are seasonal and not sugar-packed. Bonus points if you serve it in hollowed out apples.

6. Gratitude games

The purpose of gathering for Thanksgiving is, of course, giving thanks. Turn gratitude into a game to make it accessible for kids.

For an activity your whole family can take part in, set out rectangle scraps of paper in Thanksgiving colours in mason jars at the table. Record something you're grateful for on the scraps, and after dinner, link the papers together to make a garland-like chain. Keep it so each year, you can add to your Thanksgiving gratitude garland and hang it by the table. As the chain grows, it will be a reminder of how much you really have to be thankful for!

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