What to do with a bored kid on Thanksgiving Day? Let’s face it. Thanksgiving is filled with wonderful smells, laughter and the occasional hiss of “Jimmy! For the last time, get OUT of the kitchen!”
For little kids not interested in football or how to make a flaky pie crust, it can stink. Here’s 5 quick and easy options to keep them busy and out of your hair…
What To Do With A Bored Kid On Thanksgiving Day
1. Sing it with me: “Dollar Store!” I always hit the Dollar Store before a holiday when all the cousins are getting together. They can make foam and felt craft items for the table, pictures about “what I’m grateful for” and sword fights in the backyard with glow in the dark wands.
2. Start a new tradition: okay, this is so sick but one of my favorites. One caller on our radio show told us that her mother would dress up their little dog in a turkey costume and the kids would use sticks as pretend guns and chase it around the yard. NO, no one hit the poor dog, obviously. But they do it every year. Make it weird. Make it fun. Pick a new recipe the kids can make.
3. The Thankful Tree: have the kids scout for just the right branch to create the “Thankful Tree.” Any branch with lots of room for paper leaves works fine. The kiddos cut out a bunch of leaves from colored paper, and everyone writes what they’re thankful for on their leaf . The kiddos get to (messily) glue the leaves on to the Thankful Tree for all to admire.
4. The Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt: we try to do a “nature” one so it’s outside, but you pick based on patience level and weather. The kids get a list of items to find based on age–usually 5 to 10 items like a red leaf, an acorn, something blue, etc. As they come back in with all their items, they get a small prize.
5. Service: at our home, The Todd is the cook so our job is to stay out of his way. I started taking the kiddos to Walmart on Thanksgiving Day morning to buy socks, gloves, hats, etc. for the homeless ladies and gentlemen who congregate at a local park.
(Editor’s note: A few years ago, we started passing out the warm items while an enthusiastic youth group served a turkey dinner. As I was chatting with one gentleman, my MacLean casually reached out and took the man’s cookies and started eating them. Yes. Let me reiterate just to highlight my truly pitiful parenting skills. My 7 year old stole a homeless man’s Thanksgiving dinner dessert! As I apologized profusely, the gentleman lit up and said, “oh, it’s my pleasure! Enjoy them!”)
Here’s the lesson I learned that day: everyone needs to be able to offer the gift of service and generosity. That lovely man gave me the understanding that he needed to get his blessings (or Karma, or whatever you want to call it) by offering generosity to my son with the gift of his dessert. Maybe not the suggestion you were looking for, but one that has changed my life.