Have you seen it? It’s everywhere. It’s in the stores, the malls and even along some streets. What is “it?” Christmas decorations! Santa is even getting a head start at my local mall. I’m not mad. I love Christmas but I also adore Thanksgiving. I looooovveee food (can I get a “UH-HUH”??), I love my family and I love football. Wait. Scratch the football thing. The lovely little ditz inside me still doesn’t get the game of football but I do enjoy the excitement of it.

Thanksgiving can also be hectic. This is especially true if you have lots of little ones running around. Do you wish you had some activities to keep them busy? Here are some ideas that will also end up creating the perfect kids Thanksgiving table.

 

 

Before we jump into the activities, let’s address the problem of a kids Thanksgiving table.

Kids can be a tad bit messy. I mean…not YOUR kids. Some kids. However, if you have Mohawk’s SmartStrand rug you don’t have to worry about those messes. Why? Because it’s the only carpet with built-in stain and soil resistance that will never wear or wash out. You can FINALLY have light-colored carpet with kids and pets! It’s easy to clean with just water or mild detergent.

 

The rug in the picture above is SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona carpet. Style: Council Gardens Color: Natural Grain.

 

A stain resistant rug such as Mohawk’s SmartStrand rug is the perfect foundation for a kids Thanksgiving table. No need to worry about mac n’ cheese carpet smears.

But what about a table? Most of us will be at someone else’s house over Thanksgiving and they may not have a kid-sized table. No worries. Push together a few plastic bins together to create the perfect table height for kids. Add a tablecloth over the top (or an old sheet…the beautiful teal bed sheet/tablecloth in the picture above is $1.71 thrift store find) and you’re ready to begin.

Most people don’t have a sufficient amount of kid-sized chairs either. No problemo. Take sofa pillows or decorative bed pillows and cover them with a regular t-shirt. Stick the pillow into the shirt the same way you’d put it on. Tuck one side of the bottom of the shirt under the other side. Then tuck in the sleeves. This gives the kids a soft little seat and if they happen to wipe their mashed potato hands on the pillow, you can just throw the shirt in the laundry.

 

I already mentioned the teal tablecloth (aka thrift store $1.71 bed sheet). I wanted to have a fun runner. So I used part of the kraft paper roll I have in our wrapping paper stash and painted a yellow chevron pattern. Now you don’t have to spend all that time creating the yellow chevron pattern but you could use simple kraft paper as a runner. This would allow the kids doodle space. Another idea is to collect different leaves from outside and let the kids dip those in paint & “stamp” them onto the kraft paper runner.

Kraft paper is a staple of mine. The cheapest place to find it is at your local hardware store. We got a HUGE roll for $10 and it has lasted us through Christmas (as wrapping paper) and multiple craft projects and I still have a 10lb roll left!

 

For a fun place setting that doubles as a crayon holder, create a turkey out of a small Styrofoam ball. I painted mine dark brown. Make sure the paint you use doesn’t have any acetone as an ingredient. It will eat through the Styrofoam. Regular acrylic paint will work great. I cut off a small piece from the bottom of the Styrofoam ball so it could rest without rolling around. Stick the pointy end of the crayons into the Styrofoam ball in a turkey feather pattern.

For the turkey head, I used the end of a cork for a guide and just drew a head with a small neck. Using my glue gun, I applied the eyes & the mini clothespin. Finally, I added the name for the place setting.

 

You can’t just give kids crayons without anything to color! I doubled up the use of this coloring sheet as a silverware pocket too. To create the pocket, fold the bottom of the coloring sheet up halfway, fold either side to the back and slip the silverware in. See…no origami complicatedness here. I keep it simple.

For free coloring sheets for any holiday, check out: www.free-coloring-pages.com.

 

The place setting layers are easy: a dark brown rattan placemat (already had), yellow polka-dotted scrapbook paper sheet, red felt leaf (from craft store – $1) and orange paper plate. If you do prefer paper plates for the kids, check after-Halloween sales. You can find some really cheap orange paper goods.

 

This is a project that you’ll have to mainly do because it requires a glue gun but your child can help by counting out the corn kernels, as you need them. I used my corn kernels that I have for popcorn and attached them to a cardboard toilet paper roll with a glue gun. A really easy way to do this is to pour the kernels onto a plate, cover a section of the tp roll with glue and then press it into the plate of kernels. It goes a whole lot faster than trying to apply each kernel individually. Did I do this at first? Oh yeah. Was I determined to find a faster way after it took me forever? Ohhhh yeah. Hopefully that will save YOU some time.

After the pretty kernel napkin rings were assembled, I spray painted them yellow. You can do whatever color you prefer. I think they would look GORGEOUS with gold paint. Maybe you could do the gold napkin rings for the adult table? In hindsight, I should’ve done a quick coat of primer first. The paint took several coats to stick. So the tip I pass on to you is…primer is your friend.

 

Squash the impatience of waiting on the Thanksgiving plate with a little cup of goodies. I just mixed candy corn with cocktail peanuts. It balances the sugary candy corn with the salty peanuts. I have also heard that adding protein to something sugary tends to keep the blood sugar more stable (or maybe I made that up for an excuse to eat this??).

The cute little orange treat cups are from Pick Your Plum.

For drinking glasses, I used small mason jars with a colorful yellow and white straw. If you’re concerned with drink spills, attach a regular cupcake wrapper over the Mason jar and secure with the top screw on lid. Poke the straw through the top and it will be a whole lot harder to spill.

 

I am calling this the colorful thankful tree. For the centerpiece, I gathered some acorns and a couple branches from my yard. The acorns served as filler in the vase. The branches were spray-painted dark brown (you don’t have to do this…I just thought it would look cleaner). I then cut a ton of colored leaves. I used several different leaf shapes (just printed from the computer) as a guide. A better idea would be to cut out handprint leaves. Use your child’s hand as a guide. Trace around them then cut them out. They’ll love trying to figure out which “hand leaf” is theirs once they’re all on the tree. I tried to use my own hand but the leaves looked a little freaky so I’ll leave that up to the cute kid hands!

To attach the leaves to the branches I just used my trusty glue gun.

Once you let your child try and find their name at the table, take their place card & attach it to the thankful tree with another mini clothespin. You can use this activity to tell your child how thankful YOU are for THEM. Then you can ask what or whom THEY’RE thankful for.

 

Hopefully this gives you some inspiration to create a colorful kids Thanksgiving table on your stain-resistant Mohawk SmartStrand rug.

Happy Thanksgiving and Party On!

You can see more entertaining ideas at www.PartiesforPennies.com.