6 things the kids can do to help out with the big meal

6 things the kids can do to help out with the big meal

Cooking up Thanksgiving dinner is a daunting task all on its own. So when you have bored kids underfoot, it becomes practically impossible. Instead of trying to keep them busy with an endless stream of activities, harness their energy and use it to help you. Assign your youngsters simple jobs that will make them feel like part of the meal and take items off your to-do list at the same time. Here are a few Turkey Day tasks the kids can handle.


  1. Write up the grocery list.
    Depending on the age of your children, they can help out with the grocery list a few different ways. Older kids can sift through your digital or printed Thanksgiving recipes and jot down all of the ingredients you need to grab at the store, whereas younger kids can spell out ingredients as you dictate them.
  2. Serve as shopping-trip sidekick.
    Maybe your kiddo isn’t quite old enough to contribute to the grocery list, but if he can ride in a shopping cart, he can tag along on the trip to the supermarket. Send kids ahead to grab ingredients as you mosey down the aisles or task older kids with locating a hard-to-find meal component while you search for something else nearby.
  3. Make place cards or centerpieces.
    Encourage your children to unleash their inner artists as they help out with the Thanksgiving table. Cut and fold small pieces of cardstock (or have them do it on their own) and instruct youngsters to write each dinner guest’s name on a card and decorate it with a festive turkey or pumpkin. Older kids can design a simple centerpiece using elements like dried leaves, apples, or mini pumpkins.
  4. Perform some simple prep.
    Maybe you don’t want to entrust the kids with chopping, dicing, or carving, but they can do some other tasks in the kitchen. Let your little ones mix butter and garlic into the mashed potatoes, sprinkle extra herbs on top of the stuffing, or put cookie dough on a baking sheet.
  5. Lead the thanks-giving.
    Before you dig into your feast, you probably go around the table and let everyone give thanks for something specific. This year, let the kids take over this tradition. Have them get the ball rolling and make sure that everyone has a chance to share what they’re grateful for in front of the family.
  6. Clear the dinner table.
    After a day of cooking and an hour (or two) of indulging, the last thing you feel like doing on Thanksgiving Day is cleaning up after the meal. Assign the job to your children instead. Have one child clear the plates, another stack the dishwasher, and another wipe down the dining room table. Your cleaning tasks will almost be done by the time you’re able to drag yourself from your seat to the sofa.


16 Ways Kids Can Help With Thanksgiving Dinner [Care.com]

How Kids Can Help With Thanksgiving Dinner [She Knows]

5 Ways Kids Can Help With Thanksgiving Dinner [The Daily Meal]