To please the younger set at Thanksgiving, substitute the makeshift kids’ table that looks as if it’s been thrown together at the last minute with a children’s Thanksgiving table that is the most colorful and attractive spot in the house. That way, youngsters who are relegated to a kids’ table will feel special rather than merely accommodated. Adding a few table activities as part of the décor will help keep the kids entertained.
Make a tablecloth from a length of turkey- or pumpkin-printed fabric; cut the fabric long enough so that it won’t easily slip off the table but short enough that kids won’t step on it. You really don’t need to bother hemming; just cut with scalloped scissors. For place mats, use large sheets of orange construction paper. The Delish website suggests providing kids with stamp pads and letting them decorate their own place mats while they’re waiting for the meal to be served.
Create a centerpiece low enough so the children can see over it. For example, an idea from the “Good Housekeeping” magazine website is to place a row of small white pumpkins on a long wooden platter, or you could set them on a scattering of fall leaves — real or paper ones. Kids could use markers to decorate the pumpkins between the meal and dessert. In keeping with that theme, you might also use tiny orange pumpkins as place cards: glue a photo of the child to one end of a craft stick and push the other end into the pumpkin. Tie a green ribbon bow around the base of the stick.
Set the children’s Thanksgiving table so that it looks as formal as the adult table. Although there are lots of paper plates, napkins and cups with Thanksgiving prints, kids feel special when their table seems grown-up. So, if you are using china and crystal, consider an alternative for kids. You can buy plastic dinner plates that look like fine white china with a gold band, plastic imitation silverware and clear plastic goblets that look like glass. You can even buy both goblet-sized glasses for water or milk and wine glasses that you can fill with grape juice if the adults are served wine.
Add a whimsical touch to the table by using small clay pots for the bodies of turkey treat holders from Amazing Moms. Make feathers from orange and yellow construction paper. Glue them standing up on one side of the clay pot. Glue a brown peanut-shaped head with tiny googly eyes and a red paper wattle to the front of the pot. Set the turkey on a red construction paper heart just big enough for the top of the heart to peek out, looking like feet. Fill the pots with orange, brown and yellow candy-covered chocolates or other candy.