These fun ideas will give your Thanksgiving the festive punch this special holiday merits.
Thanksgiving is the “Great American Holiday.” No matter our faith or heritage, we all come together once a year to be thankful for all the blessings we’ve been given. Now that Halloween has grown to be the second biggest holiday, along with Christmas, Thanksgiving can sometimes get lost in the mix. We can help fix that.
Here are some ideas that will make the kids’ table at your Thanksgiving dinner “the place to be.” The table will be beautiful and fun, but the focus will be right where it should be—on the bounty and abundance we are all thankful for.
Then, you and the other “grownups” can enjoy your Thanksgiving feast at your table while your kids are busy being thankful and artful at theirs.
Be Thankful for Busy Kids
“There are so many great Christmas table ideas,” says Paula Biggs, of Frog Prince Paperie. However, it’s a lot harder to find great themes for Thanksgiving. So Paula created these, which you are sure to enjoy.
1. Make an engaging tabletop.
• Start with a roll of plain, brown packaging paper. Roll it out over the table and cut 6-inch slits in the ends to make a fringe that hangs over like a tablecloth.
• Next, trace a placemat on the table with a marker at each place setting so that the kids can color it in. Place a set of crayons in a decorative cup near each placemat. If you’re lucky, this activity could even give you a few minutes to finish your dinner.
2. Let love mark the spot.
Be sure to put a place card at each placemat on the table. That way, each child will know that you are thankful they are spending Thanksgiving with you.
3. Make a “thankful tree” centerpiece.
• Place a “thankful tree” in the middle of the table. If you have a mini Easter or Halloween tree handy, paint over it with brown spray paint. Paula cut hers from heavy cardstock. Alternatively, try placing bare branches in a tall vase filled with stones, candy corn or dried beans for support.
• Punch holes in 5-10 leaves (real or made with colored construction paper) for each child at the table. Tie a ribbon loop onto each one. Be sure to put the child’s name on the back of the leaves, because these are likely to become precious keepsakes. They also make adorable scrapbook pages, so you’ll want to make sure each child goes home with his or her own.
• During dinner, have the children write one thing they are thankful for on each leaf. Be sure to have extra leaves available—you might be surprised how thankful your kids are. All the leaves can then be hung on the tree centerpiece and removed and taken home after the feast.
4. Offer activity-based party favors.
One idea is to provide brown lunch bags for making hand puppets. The children can then take their thankful leaves home in their bags.You can also try Paula’s idea: She made turkey puppets for her table and put them in orange-decorated mini planters filled with beans. For instructions to make the turkeys, visit Paula’s website: frogprincepaperie.com.
5. Plan a family craft night in advance of the big day.
To add homemade warmth to the table, gather the family to prepare the thanksful tree leaves and make the place cards. You may also want to embellish the table with homemade napkins. Use fabric paint and potato cutout stamps.
By Bridgett Hurley
Styled and photographed by Paula Biggs, frogprincepaperie.com