How to Set the Kids’ Thanksgiving Table

How to Set the Kids’ Thanksgiving Table

Use these easy, low-cost ideas to create a pretty (but no-fuss) Thanksgiving table for kids.



By: Lexi Walters Wright

It’s easier than you think to create a special space for children to celebrate Thanksgiving. And it doesn’t require worrying about them ruining your fancy holiday tableware — or trolling social media for the absolute cutest turkey craft. Just consider these basic elements:

1. A dedicated surface: Let the kids take over an area where they can be a little noisier (OK, and sloppier) than the rest of the guests.
Consider a small card table near the main dining space.
Set a countertop island if kids are old enough to perch there safely.
Floor picnic! Just use an old blanket or tablecloth to demarcate the space.
If the weather’s right, move the kids to an outdoor picnic table and let them eat early outside while the grown-ups have appetizers.

2. A no-fuss tablecloth: Forgo stainable fabric table coverings. This is the time to use easy-wipe coated cotton, vinyl or butcher paper. Have leftover birthday or summer party table plastic coverings? Break them out: The kids won’t mind the holiday mash-up

Or, cover the table surface with brown craft paper, white butcher paper or even wrapping paper. Set out markers, crayons and stamps for little guests to doodle. (Feeling crafty? Fashion paper pilgrim hats out of an upside-down paper cup and construction paper, set at each place setting and fill with art supplies.)

3. Smart place settings: For peace of mind and easier cleanup, set the table with paper, plastic or other unbreakable dishware. Preempt “I wanted to sit there!” arguments by placing mini-pumpkins at every seat labelled with each child’s name.

4. Pretty, practical tablescape ideas: Little finishing touches won’t just make the kids’ table photo-worthy — they may actually help young eaters sit longer. Some simple table décor ideas include:

  • Thanksgiving tic-tac-toe: In the middle of the table, draw several tic-tac-toe boards with marker. Place pinecones and acorns in a basket to use as game pieces.
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  • Yummy cornucopias: Fill waffle ice cream cones with candy corn and other sweet treats (or berries and fruit slices) at each place setting so kids can snack as they wait for dinner.
  • Sticker crafts: If you’re setting out mini-pumpkin place settings, also put a pile of Thanksgiving stickers out so kids can decorate them. Or, cut out large leaves from construction paper to act as place mats, and let kids add stickers to those.
  • Leafy conversation starters: Place several small twigs in a vase in the middle of the table. From them, hang red, yellow, orange and brown construction paper leaves that ask kids simple questions. They could be random (“Can you name four animals that start with the letter ‘C’?), family-related (“Which aunt was once a professional horseback rider?”) or more open-ended (“If you could meet anyone from the past, who would it be?”).

5. Awesome activity sheets: Depending on the age of your dinner guests, print off word searches, crossword puzzles or mazes. Print them on quarter sheets of paper and place in a basket in the middle of the table.
Do you have any clever ways to set the kids’ table? What about activities? Share them in the comments section below!

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