Cleaning the house, shopping for all the ingredients, cooking the large meal, baking desserts and everything else that is associated with Thanksgiving — by the time the wonderful day comes you want to spend time catching up with your family. However, if you have a lot of kids in the family like we do, it can often become difficult to relax when you’re constantly watching the children. This is especially true since the meal is longer than most, and while there may be a lot of cousins to play with, the weather may keep everyone cooped up inside. Here are some ideas to entertain the kids who require little supervision, a good deal of youth creativity and a whole lot of fun.
Alicia on “Holiday Decor”
It may be Thanksgiving, but wouldn’t it be nice to have some homemade decorations for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa or New Year’s? Let the children decorate all sorts of fun items for the next holidays. Break out crayons and markers (washable, of course) and items like tablecloths that can be colored on, construction paper for greeting cards, pipe cleaners, felt and foam for ornaments or posters. Then let their imaginations run wild as they create decorations for the next holiday. This way they feel like they are contributing to the next holiday and they will have plenty to keep them busy with their young family friends. If you really want to see them immersed in the activity, offer a prize for the best Hanukkah card or Christmas-tree ornament. But give them all a treat, like a cookie, when they are done. They will be excited to show off their creations and you’ll be able to mingle with the adults while they are occupied.
Sarah on “A New Tradition”
One of the best Thanksgiving traditions in my family has been going on ever since I can remember. Each Thanksgiving, while the entire family is sitting around the dining-room table, we all say what we are thankful for into a tape recorder. Just recently, I found tapes from more than 30 years ago, and hearing my grandparents, aunts and cousins all say their various thanks gave me goose bumps. Keepsakes like these are priceless and show the history in your family. So this Thanksgiving try this tradition in your family. It is truly a one-of-a-kind treasure when, years down the road, your kid can hear you giving thanks for being blessed with her birth this year, you can hear your brother say thanks for the bright red sports car he just bought, or you and others can hear your parents express gratitude for 50 years of marriage.
Three additional ways to keep younger ones entertained. #1. Get Theatrical.
Have the older kids write and videotape the story of Thanksgiving, with all of the kids as the actors. Provide them with old clothes and props, and then at the end of the night you can watch the film. Or if you want to be more old-fashioned, you can have them put on a live play.
#2. T-H-A-N-K Bingo.
This classic game is always a hit and the older kids can definitely be in charge. You can create your own game via Word with a clip art, or use items already made on the Internet like http://www.brownielocks.com/thanksgivingbingo.html. If you don’t like this page, you can Google “Kid’s Thanksgiving Bingo” and buy sets or create and print different bingo games. Be sure to make goodie bags or prizes for winners to keep the kids interested for up to five games (remember that there may be three winners in one game, so plan accordingly). This should provide 30 to 60 minutes of fun for kids of all ages.
#3. Puzzle Play.
Puzzles are an easy way to capture the attention of a child, especially if it has the kid’s favorite characters on it. Pick up puzzles that are age appropriate. For example, if you have children ranging from ages 10-14, they’ll enjoy putting together a 3-D puzzle.
About the Authors
We are the co-founders of Buttoned Up, Inc.(www.getbuttonedup.com) , a company dedicated to helping stretched and stressed women get themselves organized and co-authors of “Everything (almost) In Its Place.” We welcome your thoughts! Please visit us at www.getbuttonedup.com