For grown-ups, Thanksgiving is all about the delicious food and precious family time. But the appeal of a big feast may not be as exciting for our little ones—especially those that can be picky eaters. Whether you are hosting a dinner or attending as a guest, here are a few tips and fun ideas for a kid friendly Thanksgiving!
1. Taste test new foods prior to the big meal. Little ones don’t always take to new food items and to create a positive experience/ association it can be helpful if they have been exposed to that item before a big holiday meal and party.
2. Nothing grabs kids’ attention better than a good story, so tell them about the history of Thanksgiving and why it is a special holiday. You can play up the harvest angle when talking about Thanksgiving foods to help get them excited and interested in the big feast.
3. Let them be your helper in the kitchen when prepping some items. Toddlers love helping and will get excited, and are more likely to try new things if they helped make it.
4. Keep snacks light so they have room for the big feast. Some simple veggies and hummus and fruit cornucopias are festive and fun!
5. Many children are turned off by big portion sizes. Serve just a few bites so it's easy for the child to feel like they have accomplished something.
6. Consider making some healthy toddler friendly sides that all guests can enjoy! This Parents.com article has some great suggestions; I love the idea of the crinkly carrot fries. Very toddler friendly and a new twist on a traditional side.
7. Have a fun Thanksgiving themed craft area set up for the kids. The Kids Activity Blog has rounded up over 30 different craft ideas for Toddlers. Some are as simple as downloading and printing free Thanksgiving placements to color at the table; others like this turkey shape match game require a little more prep/planning. Lots of great inspiration and fun ideas!
8. Other activity ideas beyond crafts could include a cookie decorating station – bake the cookies the day before and have some frosting and fun toppings for the kids to decorate with.
9. Spend some down time after the big feast reading your family favorite Thanksgiving books or watching your favorite family movie. Great way to connect and spend some quality time after the big party.
10. Last but not least, don’t stress and take this time to just enjoy being together as a family.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!