During the Thanksgiving holiday adults have no shortage of things to do. Shopping must be done. Food has to be cooked. The house has to be cleaned. While mom is busy with all of these activities, the children may have a hard time finding more to do than watching television or spending time online. Here are some ideas for keeping the kids busy on Thanksgiving while you do your busy work.
Children love to feel that they are being helpful. There are lots of ways that even the youngest child can help out with Thanksgiving preparations. Your children can help you get the house ready for guests. Encourage your little ones by telling them how important it is to have a clean house when the guests arrive. Smaller children can clear toys and other items from the floor. Older children can help by vacuuming, dusting, or sweeping.
Children can also be great at helping in the kitchen. You can let them help with desserts and simple meals. They can decorate cookies and cupcakes, wash vegetables, or mash the potatoes and yams. If your children are old enough, you could put them in charge of preparing some meals on their own. Some easy meals that your older children can be responsible for are brownies, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, or salad.
Allowing your children to help you with cooking Thanksgiving dinner is a unique opportunity for you to bond with them. It’s also a great way to teach your children about food and cooking. Make cooking with your children a holiday tradition in your home.
Children love crafts. They can spend hours creating masterpieces that you will cherish for years. There are many simple craft ideas for Thanksgiving. Print coloring pages from the Internet for your children. The search phrase, “Thanksgiving coloring pages,” will provide hundreds of results. You can easily find many coloring pages that are suitable for all skill levels. When your children have finished coloring, display their art on the refrigerator or walls for Thanksgiving.
Help your children make Thanksgiving costumes. These can be simple Pilgrim hats and Indian head bands made from construction paper. Have your children make one for each guest to wear Thanksgiving Day. This will add a fun twist to Thanksgiving dinner for everyone.
A fast, fun craft that can double as a snack or an appetizer is sugar cone cornucopias. You simply use an ice-cream cone as the cornucopia, and then fill it with snacks like pretzels, crackers, Chex Mix, nuts, or candies. Let your children enjoy them right away, or place them on an appetizer try for your Thanksgiving guests.
4. Teach your children about Thanksgiving
With all of the hustle and bustle, it’s sometimes easy to forget why you go through all of this fuss on Thanksgiving. Take a few minutes to sit down and talk to your children about why Thanksgiving is celebrated. After your discussion, have them use construction paper to make a Thanksgiving card. Let them decorate the outside of the card with a picture that reminds them of Thanksgiving. On the inside of the card, have your children list the things for which they are thankful. These cards are sure to be heartwarming reminders of things that everyone should be thankful for. Display these cards on Thanksgiving Day. Grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, and uncles will all love reading them.
You can also teach your children about being thankful and giving to others by taking them to visit a shelter, food kitchen, or food bank. Take them with you to make a donation. Tell them why you donate to charitable causes. Share with them why this is important to you, and how it makes you feel to help others. You may not realize it, but these actions will have a strong effect on the way your children think and feel about helping other people.
If your children are old enough, then take them with you to volunteer at a food kitchen. This will allow them to have a first hand experience of how good it feels to give back to your community. Many children ask to be allowed to volunteer in food kitchens on Thanksgiving. If your child is one of them, make sure that you encourage and support their request. It’s never too early to start helping others.
Younger children can learn about the joys of helping others by visiting a nursing home. You could let them help you make cookies as gifts for the elderly residents. Nursing homes are often lonely places. The residents will be very grateful for your visit. You and your children may even make some new friends whom you can visit throughout the year.
It isn’t hard to keep your children busy during the long Thanksgiving weekend. Let them feel like a part of the festivities by helping out. Encourage them to be creative with crafts. Don’t forget to give them a lesson about the meaning of Thanksgiving. These activities will make Thanksgiving an even more special time for you and your children.