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

See All Photos

Shop This Look

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

See All Photos

Shop This Look

BONUS:

Thanksgiving Kids' Table 00:30

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

Next Up

8 Vintage Pieces for Your Perfectly Collected Thanksgiving Table

We're not only dreaming about that Thanksgiving turkey, we can't stop thinking about that perfect holiday tablescape, either.

15 YouTube Videos to Watch for the Best Thanksgiving Table Ideas

Wow your holiday guests with these unique Thanksgiving table decor ideas straight from the depths of YouTube.

10 Hosting Essentials to Make Your Thanksgiving Table Shine

Wow your guests with a chic holiday table that's perfect for year-round use.

Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Centerpieces You Can Make in Minutes

Creating a show-stopping centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table doesn't have to be time-consuming. We have easy ideas for arrangements you can pull together on the fly.

19 Thanksgiving Crafts the Kids Haven't Tried Yet

The turkey's prepped, the table's set, now it's time to get ready for those pint-sized guests. 

12 Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes That Aren't Pie

Put on your stretchy pants, and let’s get to business.

10 Glam Metallic Table Accessories Perfect for Your Holiday Parties

Dress up your holiday table with brass, silver and gold for a luxe look that will wow your guests.

White Pumpkins Are Your Thanksgiving Table's BFF

Elegant white pumpkins are the perfect accent to a Thanksgiving table. Here are our favorite ways to use these decorative fall gems.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts