Kids Can Help Too! Let your children feel extra-special this holiday season by assigning them age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen. Allowing them to share with your family holiday meal planning, meal prep, and table decorating is not only fun, but it gives your child a sense of both accomplishment and participation.
The main idea here is to make sure that your children are provided with safe, age-appropriate activities to assist with for holiday prep. We want them to be safe, have fun, yet not make extra work for us adults! Here are several great ideas to get your children involved in the day-to-day festivities leading up to the holidays, such as Thanksgiving and/or Christmas day:
*Allow your child(ren) to be included in holiday meal planning & decorating. Let them choose a vegetable or side dish that they can be responsible for. My suggestions would be a food prep task such as washing all of the produce for a salad, and tearing the lettuce up into a serving bowl, etc.
*Have them roll up your good silverware into Christmas-colored napkins, paper or cloth, for your guests. Tie an autumn-colored ribbon around the napkin after silverware is rolled up in it.
*Have your child lay out clean linens and washcloths in the guest bathroom. Have them add a new, pretty, smell-good bar of soap and bottle of lotion to the bathroom sink area for your guests to feel right at home!
*Have your child arrange winter magazines on your coffee table for guests to browse through.
*Have your child create an "I am Thankful for..." card for each person at the dinner table, to be read out loud at dinner.
*Give your child the task of pulling bread apart for your home-made stuffing! Or maybe if they are old enough, they can peel potatoes. Always make sure their little hands are clean and dried properly first!
*Give your child the important job of emptying the cranberry sauce onto a beautiful dish and adding a pretty spoon that has been tied with a cranberry colored ribbon/bow. They can also place a sprig of Rosemary on the edge of the bowl and add a few cranberries to it to make a pretty Holy Berry.
*Have your child make dinner table name cards for all of your guests. To do this, simply cut squares out of autumn colored card stock paper or construction paper, fold the cards in half, write a name on each card, and decorate with glitter, or a sticker or two! Easy peasy! *Tip*: Index cards work well for this, also!
*Have your child arrange a veggie platter in the shape of a Christmas tree or turkey! Celery, carrots, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, a yellow bell pepper or slice of cheese cut into a star, etc... let them get creative!
*If you are lucky enough to have flowers growing around your home, then allow your child to pick or cut some fresh stems for a table center piece. No flowers? No problem! Try arranging some fall-colored leaves in a bowl, or Clip some Christmas tree branches or other greens, and let your child arrange them in a pretty vase. You've got yourself an attractive, rustic Thanksgiving or Christmas center piece!
*For Thanksgiving fun: Halloween may be over, but your kids can still have fun carving out pumpkins! Have them carve out a lid for the pumpkin where the stem is, but for Thanksgiving, they will not be carving out faces on the pumpkins. Have them scrape out all of the pumpkin seeds- rinse the seeds, and let them dry for a couple of hours, then toss with a little olive oil and sea salt and make some roasted pumpkin seeds to be served with Thanksgiving dinner.
After the pumpkin is hollowed out, use it as a decoration on your Thanksgiving Dinner table- Just add some pretty flowers and water to use as a vase; Use it as a bowl to serve pumpkin or squash soup, or even your mashed potatoes! Or, carve a turkey on the front of the pumpkin by tracing your child's hand print on it, in the shape of a turkey. If they are not old enough to carve the turkey hand print out by themselves, then an adult will need to supervise and assist with this task. Never give a knife to an unsupervised child, or a child whom is too young to perform the task by themselves! After carving, an adult can light a candle inside of the pumpkin, and display it on your Thanksgiving Dinner table.
I hope you enjoyed my tips to help include your child in your holiday planning. Please join us here every week for new recipes and ideas to keep your kids busy, happy, and healthy.