It’s that time of year. The Halloween costumes are put away. The frost is on the pumpkins (ugh). It’s nearly Turkey Time. And while all the stuffing is seasoned and the cranberries are cooked, there are probably some younger ones who need something besides screen time to do.
Here are some ideas I think are great:
1. If you’re reading this while there’s still time to get to the store, I recommend grabbing one of these paper table covers from Walmart.
For $1.97 you can give your kiddos permission to write and color all over their table. Love it!
2. I like to promote an attitude of gratitude, and there’s no better time for that than Thanksgiving! Depending on the age of your children, there are a million ways you can get them thinking thankful thoughts. A simple construction paper craft could do it, so I mocked up a little handprint turkey napkin ring. Super easy.
You can use brown grocery bags if you don’t have construction paper. Trace a hand. Cut out four “feathers” and each feather gets one thing the person is thankful for.
I cut out a little piece for the neck too. Kids can use a glue stick to attach it all together. Then glue a little band of paper on the back of the hand and tape closed around the guest’s napkin.
Each person can read what they are thankful for before everyone opens their napkins to eat!
OR – If you have kids who are old enough to responsibly handle an iPhone or iPad, and prefer a digital option, have them act as a reporter and take the gadget around to use as a video camera, and “interview” guests about what they are grateful for, and why. (Need some prompts? Try these: “What was your best moment this year?” “Who is your favorite person to share good news with?” “What has made you smile most recently?” “How has someone made your life better?” They can review their recordings and write up a story on what they found. Let them report back to you on their findings before Grace is said at the table.
3. Take time to remember those who protect our freedom. Veterans Day is also in November, so your kids may have just learned about that in school. Have them take it a step further, and write a letter to a member of the military serving overseas. An organization called Operation Gratitude is collecting them this year, and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to make one and get it sent. Here’s the details and makes sure to read the guidelines: Operation Gratitude. When you have some ready, send them to:
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
UPDATE: Some chapters of the American Red Cross are collecting cards, too!
If you are local to Cincinnati, you can send your cards to the chapter here at
2111 Dana Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45207
Just please remember the guidelines! Cards do not need envelopes. And glitter is a no-no. Don’t send personal contact information. Just a cheerful, sincere card addressed “Dear Service member” or similar.
Have younger kids work with older kids, or with another grown-up. They can share a little about themselves, and most of all share a message that they are being thought of, appreciated, and kept close in thoughts at a time when the service member is probably far from home and loved ones. Sounds like a perfect opportunity for children to work on their spelling, grammar, penmanship, AND gratitude to me!
I hope you and your loved ones have a most wonderful holiday.
Let me know if any of these little tips work around your table.