Thanksgiving celebrations revolve around the four F’s: fellowship, family, friends and – of course — food. It’s a busy day, with lots of cooking and visiting with the people we love, as well as keeping the youngest family members occupied until dinner is served. Avoid holiday boredom by exploring these ideas to spice up the day.
· Turkey placemats: Children can color or paint construction paper with a focus on creating a “Thanksgiving feel.” Try making a handprint turkey using paint and the palm of the hand. To make your placemat last longer, cover the construction paper with clear contact paper.
· Fall wreath: Cut out the inner circle of a paper plate. Then either collect real leaves or cut out leaves using earth-toned construction paper. Glue the leaves to the plate.
· Thanksgiving tablecloth: Purchase an inexpensive, white tablecloth. Then allow the entire family to draw or decorate pictures of what Thanksgiving means to them. Alternatively, have family members write what they are thankful for.
· Leaf necklace: You will need a leaf pattern or fall leaves, craft foam sheets in fall colors, yarn or beading string (available in craft stores), hole punch, fall-colored beads.
Trace around leaf patterns or leaves and then cut out the shapes.
Decorate with markers, crayons, glitter, etc.
Punch a hole in each leaf stem.
Thread your string or yarn through the leaves and beads for a beautiful fall necklace.
· Turkey centerpiece: Create a turkey using 1½ empty toilet paper rolls. Glue the ½ roll onto the full roll to create the head and body of the turkey. Then use either feathers or create your own feathers with construction paper and glue them to the back of the turkey’s body. Add wiggly eyes and other accessories.
· “Deer and Hunter”: “Duck, Duck, Goose!” but using the phrase “Deer, Deer, Hunter!”
· “Fox and Rabbit”: Find a grassy, open area. Select one person to be the fox and another to be the rabbit. Both of these players are blindfolded. The other members will then spin the fox and rabbit in circles several times and then let them loose. Relying on sound, the fox tries to find the rabbit while the rabbit tries to avoid being caught. The other players act as trees and help direct the rabbit and fox if they get out of the designated area.
· Pin the Tail on the Turkey: Draw a turkey without feathers. Cut out feathers from construction paper. Place double-sided tape on the feathers and have the children try to tape them onto the turkey blindfolded.
· Beanbag Game: Make no-sew beanbags. Just glue them together and then decorate them on the outside. Draw a Thanksgiving theme picture on cardboard and cut holes in it. Children can throw their beanbags at the picture and try to get them through the holes.
· Relay Races: Divide into teams and give each team a hard-boiled “turkey” egg. One player from each team must then balance the egg on a spoon, run to a designated spot, and then return to the starting position to pass the egg and spoon to the next teammate. The first team to have all of its members complete the race wins.
24 chocolate-striped shortbread cookies
12-ounce package of chocolate chips
24 marshmallows (large)
Tube of yellow decorator’s frosting
Set the chocolate-striped cookies on a tray covered with wax paper, stripes down.
Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave or double boiler.
One at a time, stick a wooden toothpick into a marshmallow, dip the marshmallow into the melted chocolate, and promptly center it atop a cookie.
Use a second toothpick to lightly hold down the marshmallow and carefully pull out the first toothpick.
Chill the hats until the chocolate sets, then pipe a yellow decorators' frosting buckle (a square shape) on the front of each hat.
Push sturdy toothpicks into the base of a red apple to form the legs of the turkey. Insert one toothpick onto the top of the apple and push a large marshmallow through it. Behind the marshmallow on the turkey’s “back,” place 4-5 more toothpicks in the apple and put gumdrops on the sticks for feathers. Decorate a face using raisins and nuts.
Make cooking a family affair. Even if the recipes are too complicated for children, there are still kid-friendly kitchen jobs. Some suggested tasks for children:
· Put out a snack.
· Remove the crust from bread for stuffing.
· Pour ingredients.
· Stir and mix ingredients.