By Jo Meaney
Thanksgiving is one particularly happy and joyful event because it is the time for reunions with families and friends. Grown-ups catch up on each other's lives while kids get together and play a game or two.
However, while adults can spend long hours just talking to one another, children will often find it hard to just sit in one place. They can easily get bored and will itch for something to do. Unless you provide them with productive activities, they might just expend their energy on boisterous and possibly destructive plays.
To keep the hyperactivity of children at bay, and at the same time, save yourself from having a major headache, plan a set of enjoyable Thanksgiving activities for children to keep them entertained. You may consider downloading several black-and-white pictures with a Thanksgiving theme and print them out on white paper. Gather non-toxic crayons and water-based markers and let children's creativity to flow by letting them color away their time after Thanksgiving dinner. However, if you prefer this activity, just make sure that there are enough pictures and markers for each child, or else, you could end up having a bigger problem in your hands.
Also, you may teach the children how to make a simple product like a bookmark, a doorknob hanger, or a paper doll. To keep the Thanksgiving air alive, use models that are related to this particular holiday. For example, you can create a bookmark with a pilgrim design on it. Create a semi-classroom set-up so that the fun can be injected with a hint of seriousness. This is necessary in making the children follow your instructions.
Another worthwhile Thanksgiving activity would be storytelling. Tell the children about the origins of Thanksgiving, but present the story in an entertaining manner. Make a finger-puppet show by enlisting the help of other adults. If that sounds like too much work, just recreate the typical pre-school story hour atmosphere. It will be enough to capture the children's attention. After the story, encourage them to ask questions and voice out their reactions to encourage them to practice critical thinking.
If you need to entertain older children, give them basic cooking lessons. They can make cookies and cupcakes under your supervision. If you want it a little simpler, teach them how to make salads and other no-cook dishes. Make sure that the recipes you get are easy to prepare, nice to look at, and yummy to the tongue. It will definitely be better if the dishes are related to Thanksgiving so that the holiday remains relevant to the experience.
Keep the children busy with games. There are so many choices out there -- riddles, puzzles, bingo, tic-tac-toe, the list can be endless. Ready-made templates of many of these games are found online so all you need to do is download and print them out. Many have various holiday themes like Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. However, when playing games, keep an eye out for any unfriendly competition among the children. Maintain the fun and friendly atmosphere; any kind of hostility should be resolved right away. If you want to provide prizes for the winner, make sure to give consolation prizes to the other participants as well to keep everyone happy.
Lastly, if you are musically inclined, gather the children around you while you play the piano or the guitar. Teach them some popular Thanksgiving songs and hymns. In this way, the children will not think about making noises, instead they will be making good music.
You no longer have to worry about the children ransacking the house and turning everything topsy-turvy during Thanksgiving because of their horseplay. The activities mentioned above are guaranteed to entertain them. Better yet, adults can join in and have fun, too.