Are you thinking about inviting your mommy friends and their toddlers or preschool aged children over for a Thanksgiving play date?
I don’t host play dates that often, but when I do, I like to have some sort of activity planned. For a couple of reasons. We always have new members rotating in and out of our play group, and I know from past experience that it’s easier to talk to strangers when you have something to do than it is to just jump in cold turkey. Ha! No pun intended.
Second, making crafts makes such a big mess and truthfully, I don’t really enjoy making the huge mess when it’s just us. BUT, if we have a group of friends to make a mess with, for some reason that seems more acceptable to me! Isn’t it more fun doing arts and crafts when you have some other adults to chat with while you’re doing it?
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. The fall is my favorite season, the food is wonderful, and it’s nice to have a family gathering that is not based around gifts. It’s a holiday that all Americans (generally speaking) can celebrate, no one gets offended when you say “Happy Thanksgiving!” and it’s a reminder of our blessings.
So, without further ado, here are some ideas for simple, toddler approved activities and snacks for a Thanksgiving themed playdate:
1. Make a simple Thanksgiving craft.
Toddlers love gluing things, so my favorite, easy activity is what I call the “Build Your Own Turkey.”
Brown, orange, and off white colored construction paper
1. Cut the brown construction paper into something that resembles the shape of a turkeys body. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The toddlers don’t care.
2. Cut the orange into small ice cream cone shapes for the beak.
3. Cut some kidney bean shaped pieces for the abdomen or wherever they want to put it – from the off white.
4. Place the feathers, googly eyes, glue sticks, and body pieces out. Give each child a body piece and let them go from there.
5. It may not result in a perfect turkey, but I assure you, they’ll have fun!
My second favorite craft for toddlers, preschoolers, or even younger school aged children is the finger print turkey. These fingerprint turkeys are so simple and you can have your kids make all kinds of fun things from Greeting Cards to place cards for Thanksgiving dinner, or just a couple of turkeys for fun.
Also very simple, but this one can get super messy with toddlers. If you are okay with that, it’s really fun and enjoyable.
Paint (brown, red, yellow, orange)
Place your child’s thumb in the brown paint and make a brown body and head. Use the pointer finger to make colored feathers around the edge. Once this has dried, use your black marker to draw the face and feet.
Be warned, your toddler may have their own ideas of how to make this, but you can still go with it!
My four year old did a little better, but we’ll have to work on keeping the card cleaned up. But, it has personality!
We were aiming for turkeys that looked like this: (mine wasn’t perfect either!)
If finger prints are too difficult, they can always use their whole hand print to make a turkey.
The great part about finger painting, (and really most crafts) is the added cognitive benefit. Finger painting helps develop fine motor skills, identify different textures, and even learn new vocabulary.
IF neither of these activities are your style, check out this list of 25 Easy Thanksgiving Activities for Toddlers, found at Kids Activities Blog. There are really endless ideas for Thanksgiving crafts.
2. Read some Thanksgiving books.
There are many good ones to choose from. Some of our favorites include:
3. Sing some fun Turkey songs
Mr. Turkey (to the tune of Are you Sleeping) is super easy:
Mr. Turkey, Mr. Turkey
Run away, run away.
If you are not careful,
You will be a mouthful,
On Thanksgiving Day,
On Thanksgiving Day.
There are many songs out there for toddlers.
4. And of course, serve fun Thanksgiving themed snacks
Turkey sugar cookies, a fruit platter in the shape of a turkey, candy filled cornucopias, and more! Pinterest will not disappoint on this topic.
As with all toddler play dates, just go with it and have fun. If all else fails, bust out the toddler dance music and bubbles.
And that’s how to have a great Thanksgiving play date for Toddlers!