Thanksgiving may look different this year. Change up your traditions!

Remember what a holiday dinner was like sitting at the kids’ table?  

Mashed potato mountains, corny jokes, and an extra helping of dessert. Fun, right? Holidays may look different for some families this year.  Less people gathered around the table and more connected by Zoom. This year, everyone has a seat at the kids’ table with games, play, and fun.  Start a new tradition like dinner in holiday jammies.  Have your big meal later in the evening by candlelight to make dinner feel special.  Or wear silly hats that you make the week prior.  And with Dream Dinners, the food will taste great, and our detailed timeline will make it easy-peasy. 

Have you scheduled your December session yet?  Order from our December menu and enjoy the holidays with stress-free dinners and more time to create fun memories.

Toddlers: Plan a Special Activity

The heart of any Thanksgiving holiday is the big meal—carving the turkey at the table with loads of sides, second helpings, and conversation.  If you have a toddler, they may not enjoy lingering at the table as long as the rest of the family.   Have a few quiet games, a new coloring book, or activities planned that will keep them busy on this special occasion. Playing with toys at the dinner table may not be allowed usually, but this exception may give you more time to enjoy your holiday meal. Or set up a small art table close to the dining room table where they can play after they eat, but still be a part of the festivities.   

Homemade playdough with autumn-themed cookie cutters is a great idea to keep them occupied.  Make playdough in shades of yellow and orange.  And did you know that you can make chocolate playdough?  Here’s how! Your kiddos can use these Thanksgiving colors to build a turkey or two! Also, have them help you gather twigs and leaves or small pompoms, googly eyes, and mini marshmallows to add to their playdough creations.  If your kiddo stays with the family at the dinner table, your toddler might enjoy stringing pasta shell necklaces, coloring on a plain butcher paper tablecloth, drawing on a whiteboard with washable pens, or a kid-friendly craft project like this paper plate turkey! Gather around the table—however long you can keep them there!

Elementary: Thankful for the Smiles & Laughter

Blow off a little extra energy during the day to get out all the wiggles before sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner. Create a scavenger hunt for your kiddos to run around inside and outside. We’ve created a photo scavenger hunt for your family! Organize a morning Turkey Trot with a route through your neighborhood to either walk or run as a family or invite a few good friends. Create construction paper medals to award each participant at the finish line. Or dress in football jerseys for a game of flag football or keep away.  If you have a smaller space or yard, try gathering the most points in a game of Turkey Tag.  Every player gets three clothespins to clip to their clothing to protect.  The goal is to collect the most clothespins from your opponents to win! 

During dinner, keep the conversation going.  Conversation starters are a wonderful way to share around the dinner table. Whether serious or silly questions, you might learn something new. Check out our conversation starter napkin rings. Or try the statue game at the table, starting with an adult. At some point during the meal, the adult will freeze in place—with their fork at their mouth or cutting their turkey.  Silently, each person who notices will then imitate them and freeze in place. The last person to notice and freeze will start the next round. This game always brings lots of laughter! 

Teens: Gratitude & Games

Your teen may be getting ready to move out, go to college, or start their life as an adult in a few short years. You may be feeling a lot of gratitude for these holidays shared under one roof. Use gratitude in your décor by creating paper garland in the shape of a leaf or a piece of pumpkin pie (like Martha Stewart).  Ask each family member to write what they are grateful for on the garland pieces to hang on the fireplace or in the dining room.  Or purchase a white tablecloth for the Thanksgiving dinner table.  Have each person write a note with the year in colorful sharpie.  The tablecloth can be used year after year.  Or at the beginning of November, write a few items your family is grateful for every night in sharpie on a pumpkin, starting at the top and spiraling around the pumpkin. The gratitude-filled pumpkin from serious to silly items will serve as your centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner!

Before serving dessert, play a few games for some fun family photos!  Depending on the number playing, you can set up a few simple games or create a competition for a champion Top Turkey. Try Gobble Your Pie, place three gummy worms in pie plates filled with whipped cream.  Each person with their hands behind their back needs to find the worms as quickly as possible—gobble, gobble! Or purchase small decorative downy feathers from a craft store; each person gets one feather that they have to blow on to keep it floating in the air.  The last one to hit the ground wins!  These silly games will build up your appetite for dessert.

Download your Dream Dinners Turkey Day Toolkit for ideas!

Share your Thanksgiving meal photos, paper plate turkey crafts, or holiday gratitude decor on Instagram.  Tag @dreamdinners. We look forward to seeing your creative family photos around your holiday table!