Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips for the Kids

Written by Nick & Aleah Valley of Valley & Co.

The holiday season means gatherings galore and traditions, old and new. It’s about getting together around a table to share in a delicious meal, laughter and great company. Thanksgiving often involves a kids’ table, a space where cousins and siblings collect to eat and visit.

We say dress up the kids’ table so they feel extra special and have a place that looks fun, is cozy, has activities, and is one that they won’t want to leave. Why not pull out all of the stops and let them enjoy sparkling cider from beautiful goblets, dine on festive china and be dazzled by a centerpiece that rivals that on the adult table?

Valley & Co.’s Thanksgiving Tips:

Elevate the kids’ table this Thanksgiving with dressy china and napkins tied with ribbon. Don’t have festive dinnerware? Look to your local rental company to rent flatware, glasses and dishes. Create a centerpiece with moss, branches and pine cones and nestle in little woodland creatures the kids can play with during dinner.

Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips for Kids - 15 Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips for Kids - 9

Upgrade the classic Tic-Tac-Toe game by painting your own squares with metallic paint on a white linen napkin {we just used plain old tape to make a grid and a foam brush to paint squares}, and give the children pine cones and creature figurines as their game pieces.

Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips for Kids - 10 Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips for Kids - 7Leave messages for the kids on their place settings that tell them how thankful you are for them.

Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips for Kids - 8 Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips for Kids - 11Hand draw Thanksgiving bounty {or download our PDF Coloring Sheet} and make up photo copies so each kid has their own coloring page to doodle on during dinner.

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Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips for Kids - 18Have small canning jars filled with moss, acorns, pine cones, and woodland creature figurines that the children can use to create their own little terrariums to take home.

Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips for Kids - 16 Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips for Kids - 2 Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips for Kids - 1What fun do you have planned for Thanksgiving?

Nick & Aleah Valley are the husband + wife owners and operators of Valley & Co. Lifestyle, based in the beautiful Emerald City {Seattle}. They love to make life grand and believe that any occasion, whether small or large, is cause for celebration. They believe that entertaining at home welcomes memories and laughter. Follow them on their blog and Instagram.

Pumpkin Spiced Homemade Play Dough

Written by Kelsey Nixon of Kelsey’s Essentials

Pumpkin Spiced Homemade Play DoughMaking homemade play dough is the perfect way to blend cooking and crafting at home with your littles. My 2 year old Oliver has recently fallen in love with play dough thanks to preschool and has been requesting that we make batches together at home. It makes my heart flutter any time he asks to be in the kitchen with his mama and we’ve had such a great time making this foolproof pumpkin spiced homemade play dough recipe together. Going beyond adding a food coloring to the dough, we’ve started adding spices or extracts so that it not only looks colorful and vibrant, but it also smells fantastic!

Pumpkin Spiced Homemade Play Dough 1With Thanksgiving right around the corner we added pumpkin pie spice and orange food coloring to our mixture to get in the spirit of the holiday. My Ollie can’t get enough of molding pumpkin pie slices, turkeys, and pumpkins out of our dough. We also like to pull out cookie cutters and a few safe kitchen tools to let his imagination run wild.

If you’re looking for a kid friendly cooking craft to entertain the kiddos this week, consider this simple and fun activity and don’t forget that you can file this recipe away and add different spices, extracts, and colors to customize your homemade play dough for any month of the year. Check out the recipe below:

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spiced Play Dough

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • orange food coloring

Pumpkin Spiced Homemade Play Dough Ingredients Directions

Heat the water and salt over your stove or in your microwave it until boiling and the salt has dissolved.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, cream of tartar, and pumpkin pie spice and mix until combined. Mix in the vegetable oil.

Pumpkin Spiced Homemade Play Dough  3Working carefully, add the orange food coloring to the boiling water then slowly pour the water into the mixer while it’s running. (be sure to help your littles with this step) Mix until fully combined and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Pumpkin Spiced Homemade Play Dough - 4 Pumpkin Spiced Homemade Play Dough - 5Pumpkin Spiced Homemade Play Dough - Pie SlicesKelsey Nixon  is the host of Kelsey’s Essentials on Cooking Channel and author of Kitchen Confidence. Kelsey’s Essentials is also currently airing Mon-Thurs at 3pm on Food Network. Kelsey, her husband Robby, and son Oliver (“Ollie”) live in New York City. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving

Written by Selena of How About Cookie

Kid-Friendly ThanksgivingBetween the big feast, luscious desserts, and tons of time with friends and family, Thanksgiving has kid-friendly written all over it. Here’s a way to make it a kid-friendly Thanksgiving; invite your littles into the kitchen and make some easy, fun food art together.

Turkey Plate

This turkey plate is a great way to get them snacking on veggies. I used this adorable Thanksgiving Cupcake Kit to bake muffins, the centerpiece of this food art. You’ll need 4-5 rainbow carrots, white chocolate chips and mini chocolate chips (or store-bought candy eyes), and your favorite muffin or cupcake recipe. I used this Best Ever Pumpkin Muffin recipe—hard to beat a name like that.

Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving - 1Start by peeling your carrots and slicing them in half, lengthwise. Trim them all to the same length, then slice the sides so they taper to a pointy tip. Arrange alternating colors on a plate as turkey feathers—this is when even the smallest of hands can help.

Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving - 2Now for the eyes: Warm a small saucepan over high heat for a few seconds, then turn off the heat. Hold a mini chocolate chip, point down, just enough to melt the tip; stick it on your white chocolate chip and let cool. Repeat to make a second eye. Gently push these into your muffin. Cut a small triangle from a carrot scrap to make the beak, and if you’re feeling extra crafty, use kitchen scissors on an apple peel to cut a wattle, i.e. that red hanging thing. (Thanks, Google!) Balance the muffin on top of the carrots.

Turkey Leg

Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving - 3This turkey leg plate is inspired by the clever Pull Apart Poultry toy. All you need is a red pear and string cheese. Cut your pear in half; set aside. Cut a piece of string cheese about 1/3 the length, then cut two more short pieces—each the height of your first. Have your child use a round measuring spoon (1/2 teaspoon-sized or smaller works best) to carve away the bottom corners of your long string cheese. Ask them to assemble the “turkey meat” and “bone”. Done!Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving - 5

Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving - 6Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving - 7Happy Turkey Day, and have fun playing with your food!

Selena Kohng is a mother of three and gets way too excited about kids’ products and good design. She posts fun food art, bento meal ideas, and general crafty things on her Instagram account and on her blog, How About Cookie.

DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs

Written by Kacia of Coconut Robot

DIY Glitter Holiday MugsI don’t know about you, but the time from Halloween to Christmas seems to just fly by.  I find myself thinking that I have plenty of time for DIY gifts and decor projects….only to blink and have December holidays upon us!

I wanted to make gifts for Harlow’s preschool teachers this year, but I knew that if I kept saying “Oh, I’ll do it when we are closer to Christmas break” would leave me running out to buy a gift card the last morning of school before break.

Can I get an amen?

So one chilly morning, Harlow and I got our crafting on and made these DIY glitter holiday mugs for her teachers!  We will be filling them with chocolates and gift cards and some artwork from Harlow as well!  I’m seriously ecstatic about how they turned out!

DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 2If you’ve followed any of my DIY projects and tutorials, you know that I like to push the boundaries of how materials are traditionally used.  Enter iron-on glitter vinyl and ceramic mugs!  I did some tests and found that ironing the vinyl right on to a ceramic mug….works!  And it stays!  I haven’t had the guts to put mine through the dishwasher, but after hand-washing and air-drying, they are still looking amazing!

How did we make them?  Let me show you!

DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 3DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 4I purchased these mugs from Amazon — they are both microwave and oven safe.*  I then had some glitter iron-on vinyl scraps left over from another project. (similar)

I have an at home vinyl cutting machine that I used to cut out the vinyl for my mugs, but if you don’t have one? Don’t fret!  I have a bunch of options and ideas for you!

I love iron-on vinyl, because it’s easy to use and apply.  Unlike adhesive vinyl, you don’t need an additional transfer sheet to apply the vinyl.  Just cut, iron and peel away the clear backing.

  • Free hand cut with a scissor.  If you choose this option, you will cut through both the vinyl and the plastic backing.  The matte side will be the side adhering to your mug and the plastic side will peel away. Keep this in mind as you are cutting letters and shapes, so that they don’t end up backwards!  :)
  • Free hand with a craft knife.  Lightly draw a design on the matte side of your vinyl.  Using a small craft, cut through the vinyl.  You won’t have to press very hard — don’t try to cut through the plastic backing as well, it’s best if that is kept in contact.  Weed away the excess vinyl, leaving only your design on the backing.
  • Use a paper punch.  Select holiday paper punches and cut out your designs.  If your plastic backing is too thick to cut, be sure to put the vinyl side closest to the blade — as long as you cut through the vinyl, don’t worry about cutting through the backing too!

There are so many ways to use iron-on vinyl for these mugs!  You could do something as simple as polka dots or stripes — both would be easy with a pair of scissors or a paper punch!

*I’m not entirely sure that it’s necessary that they are, but areas of the mug did get pretty hot as I was ironing!

DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 5After you’ve cut out your designs, you are ready to begin ironing!  If you were able to keep the plastic backing in place, your design will look like my “JOY JOY JOY” pieces.  Remember to cut them out mirrored if cutting from the vinyl side! :)

If you are cutting through both the backing and your vinyl, your shapes will look like the snowflake pictured above.

DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 6 DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 7 IDIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 8Assemble your vinyl and mugs and a small iron.  I love this mini iron, but any iron will work — just be careful!  The mug can get pretty hot as you work!

Harlow worked on her drawings, giving me direction on where to place each of the snowflakes and words for both of the mugs.

DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 9DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 10DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 12DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 13Follow the instructions found on your iron-on vinyl.  I held my iron in place for at least 30 seconds on each letter.  I love using a craft iron, because I don’t worry as much about it getting gunk on it from these projects — if you are using a nice iron, I would use a thin piece of fabric between your iron and the backing.

I iron and let it cool before peeling back the transfer plastic.  When the edges are secured enough to remove, I remove the plastic and lightly iron on the vinyl to get it to stick really well. After it cools I check the edges to make sure I got every bit of the surface to adhere well to the mug!

DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 14DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 15DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 17DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 18DIY Glitter Holiday Mugs 19And that’s it!  Continue this process until you achieve your desired look!  Fill with candy or coffee or hot cider or soup or … well, you get the idea!

IMG_1582IMG_1593IMG_1607IMG_1602IMG_1610Kacia is a natural blonde, type-A and an artist: proof that God has a sense of humor.  Kacia writes Coconut Robot about her city-living family, motherhood, fashion, DIYs and really anything else that makes her smile.  She is a published quilt designer and loves dreaming up new projects and tutorials to share with her readers.  Addicted to coffee and Instagram. (@CoconutRobot)