Setting Up the Perfect Thanksgiving Table for Kids

Give little ones a place to dine, draw and more.

If you're planning a big family gathering for Thanksgiving, you might be dealing with the reality that you simply can’t fit everyone around one table. This is where the Thanksgiving kids' table can save the day.

Sitting at the kids' table can actually be a lot of fun. And we want to make sure that all the kids are having a great time while also feeling like they're part of the bigger family celebration.

Here are 10 of our favorite ideas for making sure your kids' table is the best spot in the house.

1: Place Cards

Pheasant Place Cards and Party Favors

Pheasant Place Cards and Party Favors

Kids will have as much fun crafting these cute place cards as they will devouring their sweet contents. Our free printable template makes assembly a snap. Ready to make your own? Get step-by-step instructions.

Avoid any conflicts and make sure each kid knows exactly where they’re sitting at the table. These adorable turkey place cards are easy to make and will keep the kids happy with some sweet treats before the meal gets going.

2: Mocktails

Photo by: Photography by Bethany Nauert; Styled by Erica Reitman and Paige Geffen

Photography by Bethany Nauert; Styled by Erica Reitman and Paige Geffen

Help the kids feel like adults with their own kid-friendly versions of the cocktails you might be serving. These small martinelli apple cider juice bottles are a fun upgrade from a standard juice box. You can simply add a cinnamon stick and a pretty paper straw, and they immediately feel like a special, grown-up drink.

10 Mocktail Recipes

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Virgin Grapefruit Mojito

Grapefruit isn't just for breakfast anymore. Delightful for a party or even for a lazy Saturday brunch, this no-booze spin on a classic cocktail is fun to make and a tasty mix of flavors.

Spicy Raspberry Lemon Cooler

A grown-up take on lemonade, this non-alcoholic drink combines the fruitiness of raspberries with spicy ginger beer.

Mango Mock-o-lada

Any good bartender must have a good frozen colada recipe in their arsenal, and this non-alcoholic mango version couldn't be easier to make. In fact, make it ahead: Freeze the mixture in ice cube trays, then re-blend when your party guests arrive.

Virgin Garden Mary

Delight guests with a non-alcoholic Bloody Mary bar at your next party. Set out pitchers of carrot juice, tomato Mary mix and cucumber water; let guests layer and mix their own drinks. Be sure to put out a bottle of hot sauce and extra lemon wedges for your friends who like it tart and spicy.

Virgin Hibiscus Cosmopolitan

Be prepared for any girls' night out with this tasty non-alcoholic spin on the classic Cosmo. Hibiscus flower petals, dried for making tea, are a deliciously tart substitute for cranberry juice in your mocktail concoctions.

Creamsicle Punch

The flavors of this festive punch will bring you back to your childhood. Perfect for an outdoor gathering, bridal shower or Sunday brunch, this sunny concoction is easily doubled and great for a crowd.

Sparkling Sunshine Punch

Adorn this tart and bubbly punch with pretty, yet simple to make, floating ice flowers.

Cantaloupe-Ginger Spritzer

Fresh ginger root is a great way to add some punch to non-alcoholic beverages. Combine it with fresh cantaloupe juice for a refreshing drink.

Pom-Berry Bellini

This simple yet elegant drink is festive and delicious with non-alcoholic champagne, sparkling wine or cider. There are high-quality, alcohol-removed sparkling wines now available in local wine shops. Leftover pomegranate syrup can be mixed with sparkling water, ginger ale or poured over ice cream.

Mexican Chocolate Mock-tini

Sweet and satisfying, this mocktail could easily replace dessert. Mexican chocolate has hints of cinnamon; here cocoa powder is paired with cinnamon and almond milk.

3: Kid-Friendly Sides

Sweet Potato Pups

Sweet Potato Pups

©2013, Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from Southern Fried by James Villas. Photography by Jason Wyche

2013, Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from Southern Fried by James Villas. Photography by Jason Wyche

Consider making some smaller, more kid-friendly versions of your Thanksgiving side dishes. Turkey-taco macaroni and cheese would be a big hit, as well as these delicious sweet potato balls.

4: Centerpiece

Dining Table With Paper Leaf Centerpiece

Dining Table With Paper Leaf Centerpiece

Get a little help from the kiddos to craft this easy focal point. Use our free template to cut leaf shapes from colorful card stock you can attach to bare branches gathered in the backyard. Before dinner, ask your guests to write what they're most thankful for on the leaves or just leave them blank. Get crafting with our step-by-step instructions.

This easy-to-create paper leaf centerpiece would be a great choice for the kids' table. You can work with your kids and keep them busy ahead of time while you work on the Thanksgiving meal prep by asking them to find the needed branches and cut out the individual leaves.

5: Cupcakes

Turkey Cupcake

Turkey Cupcake

Seriously, how cute is this little turkey — don't you just wanna gobble him up? Yeah, me too, and so will your littlest Thanksgiving guests. Bake cupcakes the day before and have icing and small bowls of candy prepped so kids can start decorating their cupcakes as soon as the festivities begin. Get step-by-step instructions.

These adorable turkey cupcakes will definitely put a smile on all of the kids' faces. You can make them from scratch or simply buy store-made cupcakes and doctor them up with frosting and extra candy.

Make It: Turkey Cupcakes

6: Gratitude Boxes

Photo by: Meri Cherry

Meri Cherry

It would be lots of fun to set up an art project for the kids to keep themselves busy before everyone sits down for dinner. These gratitude boxes are an awesome way to teach the kids to start thinking about what they are truly thankful for. Once the kids finish each box, they can bring them to the table and share them with the rest of the family.

Make It: Gratitude Boxes via Meri Cherry

7: Plates

Photo by: Pottery Barn Kids

Pottery Barn Kids

You might want to stock up on durable melamine plates to avoid any accidents. These fun turkey chargers would look fabulous, and they pair well with any other Thanksgiving-themed accessories you might already have.

8: Table Runner

Crayon & Craft Paper Runner

Crayon & Craft Paper Runner

If your table runners are too nice for sticky fingers, then give the little ones materials to make their own. Protect your tabletop with white butcher paper; then unfurl a roll of 12-inch brown craft paper down the center and cut it to size with scissors. Supply the kids with crayons, and let them draw while they snack. Once the party is over, the runner can then be cut up into pieces and framed as keepsakes or favors for guests.

Give the kids something to do during dinner by covering their table with brown craft paper and putting a small cup with crayons by each place setting. The kids can draw right on the paper throughout the meal, and you won’t need to worry about ruining any of your delicate table linens.

9: Necklaces

Thanksgiving Kid's Table Crafts

Thanksgiving Kid's Table Crafts

Craft projects are a great way to entertain and encourage creativity, but the dining table shouldn't be cluttered with paints and glue sticks. Instead, stock the table with an assortment of colorful beads, leather cording and feathers so the kids can create a necklace or bracelet to wear with their headdress.

Another fun project for kids are these leather cord necklaces. You can put small bowls with colorful wood beads at each place setting, and each child can use their leather cord to make their own Thanksgiving necklace or bracelet.

10: Snack Mix Station

Thanksgiving Snack Station for Kids

Thanksgiving Snack Station for Kids

Keep the smallest holiday guests occupied while you finish Thanksgiving dinner with a snack station where they can concoct their own sweet-and-salty mix.

Keep kids busy either during or before the Thanksgiving meal by setting up a snack station. If you want to keep them busy during the cocktail hour, you can include snacks such as nuts, pretzels or candies. You could do a variation of this during the meal and include a small buffet with items such as French fries, mac-n-cheese balls or chicken nuggets. This would also work great as a dessert bar with small cookies, brownies and chocolate candies.

Set Up a Thanksgiving Snack Mix Station for Kids

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Create Your Own Snack-Mix Station

Keep the smallest holiday guests occupied while you finish Thanksgiving dinner with a snack station where they can concoct their own sweet-and-salty mix.

Free Printable Sign

Download and print this handy sign then pop it into a standard 5x7 photo frame to display at your station along with a stack of pint-sized to-go containers and lids.

Turkey Time

Set up a nearby area where the kids can decorate the lids using our thumbprint turkey tutorial. Be sure they add their name so they'll know which container is theirs.

Sweets & Treats

Fill small bowls with candy, pretzels, popcorn and any other items that would be yummy in the mix. Use a tiered tray for pretty presentation and to make it easier for several kids to fill their favor cups at once. Tip: Try to stick with treats that come in fall colors.

Scoop It Up

Fill the bowls with mini wooden scoops which are the perfect size for adding small candy and treats to the container and helping to control portion sizes.

Here Comes the Fun

Allow the kids (and any hungry adults) to scoop their favorites into the pint-sized container.

Shake It, Baby

Once the painted lids have fully dried, just add the lid and shake the container so the sweet and salty treats mix together.

Enjoy!

Kids can munch on their custom mix during the Thanksgiving festivities or take their container home as a party favor.

BONUS:

Thanksgiving Kids' Table 00:30

Keep the kids busy on Thanksgiving Day with this fun tablescape.

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