A big Thanksgiving dinner is a treasured tradition in homes across America. Many families have plans to host a special gathering, with recipes and chores divided among willing hands. But in all the planning, many times the youngest members of the clan are forgotten. This year, cast your children in a starring role with these ideas for fun things for kids to do on the holidays at Thanksgiving, or anytime.
Fun Things for Kids To Do on The Holidays
1. Decorate. Holiday decorating offers many opportunities for creative kids to shine. From elaborate napkin folding to floral centerpieces, crafty kids can create a holiday setting that sparkles and draws “oohs” and “ahhs” from guests. Shy adolescents may prefer to make decorations ahead of time, but others might lead a decorative craft activity at the gathering. (See below for link to napkin folding tutorial.)
2. Serve. Older teens are frequently hired as wait staff at restaurants, but why not put those skills to work at family gatherings? Kids can gain valuable experience by helping guests to the table, setting up a buffet, or passing trays of hors d’oeuvres.
3. Cook. Many children have culinary talents, especially when it comes to dessert. Let them take charge of one or more dishes, and they’ll reap the accolades as well. Some youths may choose to make their signature dish on their own, while others may enjoy leading a group activity such as decorating cupcakes.
4. Entertain. Kids can literally take center stage to perform for the crowd. Accomplished young musicians might give a recital, while actors could put on a skit. The performance can be as low-key or elaborate as they want. Some might want to share a joke or magic trick, while others could present a slide show of baby photos or the summer vacation.
5. Sports. A house full of exuberant youngsters can get downright rowdy. One or more of those energetic teens can help redirect that enthusiasm into outdoor games. Depending on the size of the gathering, kids can organize anything from an informal Hacky Sack toss to a full-fledged football game.
6. Tournaments. Foul weather or inclination may keep folks indoors, but determined children won’t be deterred from competitive games. Indoor game tournaments can range from serious chess matches to wacky charades, or even Wii dance-offs. In addition to organizing the games and keeping score, kids can award prizes, such as traditional ribbons or humorous certificates.
7. Paparazzi. Place your child behind the camera or camcorder, and you may get a new perspective on family gatherings. Youngsters can be very creative and selective about what they choose to record, and the results can be both visually arresting and very entertaining.
8. Historian. A holiday gathering presents an excellent opportunity to learn about family history. Kids can interview their elders to collect family stories, preserving them in their memories for recounting as part of an oral tradition. Or, they can assemble those stories into a family book or scrapbook album.
9. Record. In addition to stories, families share recipes and traditions that have been handed down from one generation to another. Unfortunately, sometimes this heritage is lost because they are not recorded. Kids can put their digital media skills to preserve these traditions in an online photo album, video collection, or family blog.
10. Build Bridges. With modern families living so far apart, it can be nearly impossible to gather everyone for a traditional meal. Tech-savvy teens can help bridge that gap using online applications or social media tools. They can set up Skype accounts so that family members living in distant parts can see each other during the holiday, or they can create a Facebook group for the family to connect throughout the year.
Share these suggestions with your child, but don’t be surprised if they’re inspired to come up with their own game plan. They may choose to help out in a completely unexpected but equally wonderful way.
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Sandra Foyt | Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of six cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Find her on GetawayMavens.com, an award-winning destination guide to extraordinary travel in and from Northeast USA, on her portfolio site at SandraFoyt.com, and in freelance gigs on Family Travel 411, Minitime, Huffington Post, and Matador Network. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter @SandraFoyt.