A house full of guests can get frustrating, especially when you are trying to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Make it less stressful by inviting the children to help you with the Thanksgiving day meal prep. Here are some easy tasks the little ones can do to help you out while having fun.
1. Creating the Thanksgiving dinner seating chart
Sometimes we get stuck in the habit of sitting in the same spot, by the same people for dinner every time. Let the kids mix it up! Give children the job of creating the Thanksgiving dinner seating chart. The day before, let them create place cards for everyone’s seat. This task will make them feel like an important part of Thanksgiving Day.
2. Gathering recipe ingredients
This task is especially rewarding for younger children who can’t quite help with bigger meal prep jobs. Have them grab all of the ingredients before you begin preparing, or let them grab the items as you both go through the recipe together. To make it more exciting, create a recipe ingredient scavenger hunt. Scatter the items (plus extras) and have them search for the correct ingredients.
3. Reading the recipe out loud for the cook
For the children who can read, have them read each recipe out loud for the cook. Not only will this help them with their reading skills, it will also give them a sense of accomplishment. Just make sure you read the recipe first…just in case!
4. Rinsing vegetables, fruit, and pasta
A very easy way to involve the children this Thanksgiving – have them rinse veggies, fruit, and pasta! Place a colander in the sink and line up your food that needs to be rinsed. Knowing they helped prep the food will entice them to eat it.
5. Mashing the potatoes
What kid doesn’t love mashing things? Stick your cooked, peeled potatoes in a plastic (unbreakable) bowl and let them start mashing. For the older kids, provide them with pre-measured ingredients to mix in with the potatoes. Voila! One side dish is complete.
6. Stirring food
Have the kids stir the easier, low-maintenance dressings and desserts, such as cake batter, pie fillings, marinades, and salad dressings. Make sure to use a large enough bowl to prevent accidental spilling. Be prepared for little fingers to go in for a taste test.
7. Rolling out pie crusts and cookie dough
This task can be quite rewarding and fun for the little ones, as long as you don’t mind a bit of a clean-up. Clean off a spot on the table or counter, sprinkle some flour for them and let them start rolling it out. If you are making cookies, let the kids use the cookie cutters and place the dough on a baking pan!
8. Topping the dishes
What is a yummy Thanksgiving dish without a delicious topping? Let the kids do this job for you! Once the dishes are ready, provide them with pre-measured toppings, such as marshmallows for sweet potatoes, cheese for casseroles, and whipped cream for desserts.
9. Decorating and setting the table
The day before, let the children create some Thanksgiving crafts for the dinner table along with the place cards. Print out some Thanksgiving decorations or let them create their own with construction paper and glue. They will be more likely to sit still through the whole meal when surrounded by their own decorations. Also have them set the place settings before dinner is served. Print out this Table-Setting Place Mat or provide a setting at the dinner table for them to copy.
Try out these Easy Thanksgiving Decoration Ideas.
Let’s face it – nobody likes to clean up after Thanksgiving dinner. Make it fun and rewarding for the kids by making a game out of it! Try out these Fun Cleaning Games for Kids, or use the oldest trick in the book – withhold dessert until everything is clean. That should result in a spotless kitchen in no time!
These are just a few simple ideas to involve the kids this Thanksgiving. Share your ideas with us below!