From a child’s point of view, Thanksgiving dinners can be really dull. All that hugging and kissing from relatives they never knew they had, and then they have to sit at the dreaded “Kids’ Table.” Borrrring! With a few creative changes, even the kids will be thankful at your next holiday meal.
Friendly Competition – Hunting for Treasure
For those living in warmer climates, fresh air, a little exercise, and some friendly competition could be just the right combo to entertain the kids. Everyone has heard of an Easter egg hunt. Start a new tradition by having a Turkey egg hunt. Plastic eggs are easy to come by, and tiny toys or candies can be hidden inside. If you can’t find eggs, write numbers on brightly colored rubber balls, where each number corresponds to a prize.
Children Love Coloring
Coloring Option 1: Instead of using a standard tablecloth, cover the kid’s table with a thick sheet of paper. Banner paper, which is sold in 24” x 75 ft rolls, can be spread across the tabletop and secured in place. Sharpened, soft-lead, colored pencils will enable young guests to doodle to their hearts’ content.
Coloring Books – Staying in the Lines…or not
Coloring Option 2: Coloring books come in many themes and sizes, with age-appropriate challenges, and perforated pages for easy tear out. Crayons are great for the younger kids, while the older ones will appreciate colored pencils or markers. The finished drawings can be presented to all the guests. Prizes are optional. Crafter Tip: To ensure markers do not damage your table, use a vinyl table cover.
If your kids love video games, this will keep them occupied for hours. You might have to pry them away for dinner. Adults are hooked on gaming as well, so this could be an activity for guests of all ages.
In terms of food that will appeal to children, you may want to consider the following suggestions as either appetizers or as the kids’ main course.
Chicken Nuggets are a Food Favorite
Finger foods are so much easier to handle and no utensils are required.
Creatively Wrapped Mini Hot Dogs
Also known as Pigs in a Blanket, these mini hot dogs have been wrapped in Pillsbury Crescent rolls. Note the bottom row is decorated as mummies, which you may have seen on television. With a few minor adjustments – add a ketchup beak and a jagged edge above and below the face – the top row resembles baby turkeys hatching from eggs. See photo below for a simpler wrap. (Crafter Tip: Use mayonnaise for the eyeballs. The pupils can be made with pepper or mustard.)
Simply Wrapped Mini Hot Dogs
Pigs in a Blanket are easy to make and easy to eat.
Macaroni & Cheese
Any kid’s menu would be incomplete without Mac & Cheese. Better make extra because as you know adults love it too!
Making dessert a memorable occasion requires very little effort… and don’t be surprised if the adults want to join in the fun.
Fanciful Ice Cream
This dessert is sure to make everyone smile, and it’s incredibly easy. All you need is a sugar cone, a single scoop of ice cream, sliced fruit and a few M &M’s chocolate candies. Mint leaves and a flower are optional garnishes, or use additional pieces of candy instead.
Decorate Your Own Cookies
Kids are naturally creative. Feed their artistic ability with a basket of plain cookies, tubes of icing and candies like the ones shown below.
Mini Candies, Marsh Mallows & Rainbow Colored Sprinkles
Sweet confections, perfect for cookie decorating, are “glued” in place with icing.
Cookie Party Favors
Decorated cookies can be eaten then and there, or wrapped in plastic bags to take home. Wilton sells special bags as party favors, but simple zip lock bags will work just as well.
Dinner parties require a lot of planning, great food, and our family and friends. Don’t forget to include a few perks for the little ones. When the kids are happy, everyone is happy.