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Ah, the kid’s table… the spot where, if lucky, you might corral busy youngsters for a whopping seven minutes during Thanksgiving dinner. It’s always just enough time for them to smear potatoes across their face, drop their plate on the floor, then materialize at the grownups’ table just as you’re getting seated. But we can fix that!

Here are a few tips for setting kid-friendly Thanksgiving kids’ tables that keeps kids put, and content, so you can enjoy your meal. See more details on how we did it below…

Start with Kid-Friendly Tableware
The last thing anyone wants to do during a festive meal is clean up broken glasses or dishes, so choose kid’s dinnerware wisely. Plastic or disposable dinnerware is (or should be) acceptable for kids even in formal settings. Another dinnerware option is Bambu brand disposable plates, made of — you guessed it — bamboo. They even have sporks! Bambu is the year’s hottest earth-friendly dinnerware item. Or consider using durable plastic dinnerware. Melamine dinnerware styles offer the look of better ceramics, while acrylic glasses add a festive touch, without the worry.

Capture Their Attention with the Unexpected
Make kids feel special at the kid’s table with a creative placecard.  Here we’ve used mini pumpkins, which they can continue to decorate after the meal. Small toys or stuffed animals with kid’s names or holding little name cards are good options too.

Take a Tip from Busy Restaurants
Cover the kid’s table with kraft or butcher paper and let kids draw or decorate with crayons, markers, stamps and stickers before and after the meal. Or buy some holiday-themed coloring books and assemble your own restaurant-style coloring placemats, complete with a small bundle of crayons for each child.

Turn the Kid’s Table into the Craft Corner
If kids are old enough to use markers and glue sticks, holiday-themed projects such as Indian headbands, turkeys, wreaths, or woven paper placemats can keep them happily occupied while you enjoy your meal. You can find precut ornament kits at any craft store, too. Or just provide construction paper, craft foam or felt so kids can make their own creations

Happy Thanksgiving… and if you have any great kid-corralin’ ideas of your own, please share!