Thanksgiving is one of the favorite family holidays. This blog features great ideas to get kids involved for the big Thanksgiving meal. Pass this along to families in your ministry!
Many of us mamas feel pressure to lay out a perfect Thanksgiving feast. Let your children deliver both good food and memorable camaraderie. It truly will take the focus off you.
First, think outside the box for ways kids can help.
- Create place cards — Children who can’t yet write can draw portraits.
- Squeeze oranges — Electric juicers seem custom-designed for children to press orange halves onto the rotating reamer and watch the liquid drip through.
- Make a dish — Worry less about an even menu and more about praising the cook. Even preschoolers can become known for their green bean casserole.
- Manage the list — Let a child take your list around for volunteers of all ages to pick their tasks and checkmark when completed.
- Work the can-opener — Let Uncle Jorge set the cans for young Evan to spin.
- Beautify the table — placing at least the non-breakable silverware.
- Fold napkins — in shapes of the child’s choosing.
To keep your head while six hands clamor to help, do private prep. If your kitchen allows it, give each his own station.
- Use the French cooking process, mise en place, to equip children to make a myriad of recipes. Substitute, for prep bowls, zipper bags filled with the right amount of flour, sugar, even that one teaspoon of baking soda. Then kids open, pour, and stir. Preschoolers will identify the starting letter in flour or sugar and can choose the right bag and the right time. So label each bag with what’s inside.
- Place a towel or rug under each chair to catch spills.
- Extra grownups who treasure children are often circulating in your home during Thanksgiving prep. Partner them with your children to feed the conversation and connections lauded by Proverbs 17:1.
If only one adult is available, have the children rotate helping. Even if everyone pushes up a chair, let one be the primary cook while the others watch and tell what the cook is doing well: “Wow! You didn’t spill at all!” or “I can’t wait to eat that!”
INVITE KIDS TO THE BIG TABLE
Children find it amazing that they can create food people enjoy. They enjoy interacting with adult guests.
Conspiratorially give a question to each child to ask during the meal:
- What’s your specialty — that food you like to make on holidays?
- What do you think is cool about being my age? What do you think is cool about being your age?
- What food did you have to learn to like when younger?
- What did my mom/grandma do when she was a little girl?
- Who is a hero to you? Why?
This article appears courtesy of ParentLife magazine. Karen Dockrey wrote this article. She is a curriculum specialist and author or co-author of over 30 books.