The BEST thing to do is cover the kids table in craft paper. Skip the markers unless you want to wash it out of their holiday clothes and go with crayons or colored pencils, and make sure there are plenty to go around. You could even just stop here, and this hack alone will give you enough time to enjoy one glass of wine in peace, I promise you. Add in a bunch of stickers and you can even have pie too.
If you want to get all crafty yourself, you can have the kids create their own placemats, or draw them on yourself ahead of time. Draw on a tic tac toe board and let them use mini pumpkins to play, draw on a road and give them each a few cars to drive around, with the craft paper the ideas are endless.
Another cute option are these coloring pages placemats (these also come in handy at restaurants, fold a couple up and stash them in a bag), I picked these up at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga, and they come with different mats that are suitable for a bunch of different ages. Rather than just a coloring page, these brilliantly designed mats gets kids creativity going with suggestions like drawing their own pasta and creating their own alien gallery. My oldest has even gotten so into the "comic strip" placemat that he is still lingering at the table after the meal is over.
Cereal necklaces are a great way to keep the kids occupied, they can even make a cereal garland to decorate their table! Bonus points for any cereal actually consumed as well, it all counts as them eating.
Another useful idea is to make up a plate of kid friendly appetizers, think apple slices and cheese, goldfish crackers and pretzels, something easy that they can help themselves to, and then there will be another option on the table if they turn their nose up at turkey and stuffing. For a sweet snack, I am in LOVE with this idea from Baked Bree of turning a waffle cone into a mini cornucopia, the cutest.
Finally, put together a few easy craft ideas for the kids to do that don't require a ton of work on your end. Hats are always fun for Thanksgiving, and while I love the turkey handprint, let's face it, paint + kids always = a mess so put the paint away and keep it simple with just tape and construction paper on the big day.
I want to wish all of you a healthy and happy Thanksgiving, spent somewhere warm and cozy with family around you. ps, if you're looking for some Thanksgiving week activities, click the photo below for the round-up! xoxo