Holiday ideas for the kids' table

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Make the kids table the best seat in the house. I remember the kids' table at our holiday gatherings so well. My cousins would pass their food onto my plate because they were required to clean their plates and we weren't. I was always way too tall for the short chairs. And, to be honest there wasn't really anything fun about it. So, for special holidays, I've tried to make it a little more special for one very selfish reason ...

Watch the segment now!

The longer they sit ... the longer I can eat!

Ah ha. Now I have you motivated. Check out these suggestions for a fun centerpiece, a few activities and some dinner tips. You just might have some adults begging for a seat! Well, probably not. But give it a try.

Ideas for the Kids Table

A fun and functional centerpiece Here's a great, easy-to-make centerpiece that serves a purpose, too. It doubles as a caddy for markers, crayons or pencils for artistic talents. Here's what you'll need:

1 Styrofoam ball - mine was 5 inches Brown paint Assorted markers, colored pencils or crayons Brown paper or a paper bag

Cut the foam ball in half and paint it brown. While drying, cut out a small circle from brown paper that will be your turkey's head. Draw or glue on eyes and a beak. Add cutout wings or feet if you want. I happened to have some pipe cleaners and they looked really cute as the legs.

Now just stick your colored markers, etc. into the back half of the Styrofoam ball to form a tail shape. Add the head and other pieces and you have a fun, functional centerpiece.

Dressing for dinner! Here's a fun activity that gets all the kids in the Thanksgiving spirit. It's so simple that even older kids can manage this one and help the little ones out. You'll need:

Assorted feathers (you can buy them by the pack at craft stores or even cut them out of construction paper.) Duct Tape or any wide packing tape Construction paper for the turkey heads.

Measure heads with the duct tape to form a band. Place the tape sticky side up and place about 6 - 7 feathers in the middle of the tape allowing for half of the tape to be folded over the feathers. Fold the tape in half and you have a feathered headband length. Draw or assemble a turkey face and glue it to the band. Place on the child's head and secure with a separate piece of tape. Now that's getting dressed for dinner. You may want to stay out of the kitchen!

Keep them busy in their seats Thumbprint turkeys get the creative juices flowing.

Here's all you'll need: Multicolor stamp pads, or watercolor palette and a few wet sponges. Paper Fingers! Fine point marker or black pencil

Start with a thumbprint and then add some "finger feathers" Draw on eyes, a beak and feet and you have a cute little fine-feathered friend. Then let the kids create anything they want - Pilgrim people, anything.

By the way, this little activity is a great one to check if the kids washed their hands before eating. Anyone with painted fingers obviously didn't!

An easy after-dinner game for the kids The kids always finish before the adults so why not plan for it and have an easy game at-the-ready! An older child can run this one while you sit back and have another helping.

Field Goal Fever This is played just like Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

Start by making a simple goal post cut out of poster board or butcher paper. Cut out about 5 (depending on the number of kids) "footballs" out of brown paper. Stick double sided tape or sticky tack on the back of each.

Using double-sided tape or sticky tack, attach the goalpost to a wall that has some empty space in front of it. Have a scarf or bandana ready to use as a blindfold.

When the kids finish dinner, they can play a few games of Field Goal Fever. The object of the game is while blindfolded, spun around a couple of times, to get your football between the field goal posts. There's no winner. Everyone just plays for fun.

Make it a place they'll stay and eat awhile All the arts and crafts in the world won't keep the kids at the table forever. So entice them with kid-friendly foods and a delightful table just for them. Add mac and cheese to their table offerings. Treat them with special root beers, sparkling water or sparking cider. Make it even more special by gathering special glasses for them during dinner. They don't have to match and should be sturdier ones from your collection.

Keep the plates and napkins in mind, too. Even if you're doing paper, give the kids some special ones, also. They do notice.

And, if you really want to wow them, try what I did one year. I only had about 4 kids, so the night before, I made each one of them a Cornish Hen. I reheated it the next day and told the kids that they were each getting their own turkey! I've never seen them eat so much. This was a hit!

Hey, whatever it takes right! The goal, a few extra minutes to sit and enjoy your company and the food before you have to get up and start wrangling kids again.

Make your kids' table the best seat in the house this holiday.

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