We all love the Thanksgiving feast, but for the youngest among us it can be overwhelming and also a little tedious. So, to make sure everyone enjoys the celebration, let’s make a special table just for the kiddies.
Here are some activities to keep small hands busy so the adults can finish last-minute preparations or just talk with family and friends in relative peace.
• Fill containers with bracelet-making supplies for junior jewelers. Have the kiddies ask everyone about their favorite colors and then make each person a bracelet.
• Roll out a length of kraft or butcher paper on the kids’ table and ask them to draw on the “tablecloth” with crayons, stickers and stamps. Cover or remove it to protect from spills. Keep it to show next year, or roll it up in a tube and send it to a family member who couldn’t attend.
• Make a kiddie relish tray. Kids love to put cheese on crackers, celery and fingers. This is the one time I’d suggest a can or two of “aerosol cheese.” Add other kid-friendly foods like black olives, mini carrots, ranch dressing, grapes, pretzel sticks and saltine crackers. Don’t put out so much food that they have no appetite for dinner.
Making Thanksgiving memorable for the children is important, and we’re going to make a table so fun, the adults will be jealous. Which reminds me, these ideas work for the grown-up table, too.
Edible Play Dough
The consistency of this play dough is soft, smooth and moldable. While safe to eat, remember it’s pure sugar and ridiculously sweet, so limit the amount eaten by kiddies to prevent bouncing off the walls or upset tummies.
1 (16 ounce) container of pre-made frosting (white or vanilla)
2 3/4 cups of powdered sugar
Optional: Orange coloring and green candy for the stem if shaping into pumpkins
Using the paddle attachment on your mixer — or a wooden spoon and brute strength — add 2 cups powdered sugar to the frosting in increments, frequently scraping the sides of the bowl.
Before adding the remaining sugar, touch the play dough, and if it feels sticky, gradually add more powdered sugar. Mix food coloring to reach your desired colors. Divide as you wish and roll into balls.
Alternatively, shape into pumpkins and add stems. Keep covered and refrigerated to prevent drying out. If, by chance, you added a little too much powdered sugar, just knead a little olive oil into the dough.
Wooden spoon or pencil
Candy for filling
Take sugar cones, one at a time, and dip the pointy end in hot water for about 20 seconds. Then, place the soaked cone into the microwave for 20 seconds, making the end soft and pliable.
Roll the soft end around a wooden spoon handle and hold until set in a curve. Fill with candy — or nuts and dried fruit for a healthier twist — to make a “cone-u-copia.”
Mini round cookies, like Nilla Wafers, Golden Oreos or Nutter Butters
Mini chocolate or peanut butter chips
If your cookies are sandwiched, separate the halves. Melt some of the chocolate chips in the microwave.
Unwrap your chocolate kisses. For each candy, put a little dot of melted chocolate on a cookie and press together with a kiss, let set. Put a dot of melted chocolate on the flat side of a mini chocolate chip and press it on the top of the acorn to make the “stem.”