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5 Fun Ways to Keep Kids and Grandparents Busy Over Thanksgiving

family Thanksgiving
Monkey Business

Thanksgiving means the whole family—in-laws, distant cousins, grandparents and grandchildren—gets together to share a meal, catch up and generally spend some quality time together. If you’re the host, it can be a challenge to entertain such a broad gathering of people.

You’re already busy keeping the place habitable and welcoming, not to mention that rather sizable dinner everyone’s waiting for. So getting your kids and visiting parents or in-laws out of your hair while you do these things is a huge help. Here are just a few of the fun things kids and grandparents can do together without having to fight over the TV remote:

Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt

You can make a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt last an afternoon or for the entire weekend, as easy or difficult as you think would be best. Make a list of items each player has to find and check off. These can be Thanksgiving-themed objects that are inside, outside the house, down the street or anywhere else you plan to be while everyone is visiting. Have a grand prize to award at the end of the hunt, and your players will be consumed by this game the entire time.

Science Magic Tricks

Physics and chemistry can be fun for all ages. The world works in mysterious ways and you don’t have to be David Blaine to pull off magic tricks using science. With some simple household items, you can keep your kids and parents entertained for hours, as they execute in-home experiments and turn themselves into science magicians. For extra fun, have them perform a magic show for the rest of the family between dinner and dessert. Do keep in mind that some of these science tricks probably should be done in the kitchen, so make sure you don’t need to be in there cooking or cleaning at the same time.

Fashion Show

With just a few extra dollars on hand and a trip to a thrift store, you can send your children and their grandparents to the glamorous and amusing world of style when you request a silly fashion show. Tell everyone they have to find three different costumes and then plan a show for you. They can use costumes and old clothes found at home, or you can send them to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill, with a budget and a list of items to find. For example, have them pick up a funny hat, silly glasses, goofy shoes, etc. Then, they can organize their costumes, plan the music, choose an emcee, and give you the best fashion show your spare change can buy.

Cooking Together

There’s no reason you should do all the work for the big Thanksgiving meal. Allow grandparents and grandkids a chance to bond over baking and actually make something for your dinner or dessert. Baking together is fun for everyone, and kids and parents alike come away with a sense of accomplishment. Step back and let them have the time together to make a dessert or side dish. You’ll get a little break (though you should be around to take photos), and they’ll get memories to cherish forever. If your kids are little, having a backup dish is probably a good idea. Mistakes will be made, and no one should face the burden of having ruined part of the holiday over a minor cooking error.

Crafts, Crafts and More Crafts

The Internet is filled with arts and crafts ideas for children of all ages and skill levels. Look for items that your kids can easily make and then share with the family or friends and neighbors. Choose things that require easy-to-find supplies, or that you already have at hand. Find craft ideas that won’t need an unbearable amount of clean up, as this is an activity that should give you some time, not cost you. Or, just have some craft supplies on hand and let your family come up with their own ideas. An art show is the perfect way to let your food digest while you make room for dessert.

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