By Anna Kocharian and Lydia Geisel

Published on November 21, 2017

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Photography by MOMS & CRAFTERS

As soon as the holidays roll around, the number of dinner parties and family gatherings increases, exponentially. Families with little ones know all too well the perils of hosting or attending dinner parties that aren’t always the most kid-friendly. While there are a slew of electronic alternatives to keep them occupied, we’re all for taking it back to the basics with arts, crafts, and table-friendly games, to keep the little ones entertained all evening long. Take a look!

Dinner and a show? We’re positive you can count little ones in. This super easy DIY lets children put on their own puppet show for the entire kids’ table. Plus, this project requires minimal materials, so you won’t have to make a last-minute run to the store (just to the laundry room).

Get the how-to on Moms & Crafters.

 
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Photography by EASY BAKED

The best way to keep little ones busy? Food, food, and more food. Have them work on crafting their dessert while they’re waiting for the main course to arrive. These ice cream cone teepees serve as an especially sweet solution for bored children.

Get the how-to on Easy Baked.

 
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Photography by SAVVY SASSY MOMS

Considering just about every kid—regardless of age—gets a major kick out of funny faces, assemble a book of features for them to pass around and create their own silly combos on the big day. Warning: Loud laughter may disturb adults-only tables nearby.

Get the how-to from Savvy Sassy Moms.

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Photography by HANDMADECHARLOTTE

Pair each little one’s seat at the table with a coloring placemat (especially if they’re seated with the grown-ups!) to keep them entertained while mom and dad eat in peace. 

Get the scoop on Handmade Charlotte

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Photography by CHRONICLE BOOKS

Coloring books that double as story books are always a good idea. This intricately graphic version is so detailed and wonderfully imaginative, they won’t be able to keep their eyes away!

Jon Burgerman’s Burgerworld

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Photography by THE LAND OF NOD

Kids and crayons just go hand-in-hand. Fill a bowl with coloring tools and pile stacks of paper to keep them busy for (hopefully) hours on end. Wishful thinking? Probably. 

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Photography by RYAN LIEBE VIA PARENTS

Dress the table with a disposable cover or craft paper and give the little ones some creative freedom! Set cups or small bowls to fill with stickers and crayons by each child, to avoid any fuss over having to share. Hey, every little bit counts!

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Photography by THEINSPIREDTREEHOUSE

Put the little ones to work and have them create small centerpieces for their designated spot! Assign each kid to their very own mini pumpkin and outfit the table with DIY essentials such as feathers, googly eyes, and craft paper. They’ll be entirely way too busy to get in any sort of trouble! 

Get the tutorial on The Inspired Treehouse

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Photography by CRAFTYMORNING

We’re all for arts and crafts, especially ones that involve sweets. Repurpose leftover Halloween candy for craft time, much like this ultra adorable owl DIY!

Get the details on Crafty Morning.

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Photography by YELLOW OWL WORKSHOP

Have the little ones create and customize their very own goodie bags with this oh-so-clever kit! Each kit comes complete with a blank cotton tote, playful stencils, and markers!

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Photography by BRIDES

We get it, Thanksgiving day can take a chaotic turn fast. If you’re running behind, simply stock a box with a variety of travel-sized games—from miniature coloring books to Sorry.

Get the scoop on this kid-friendly set up on Brides.

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Photography by AREAWARE

The building blocks (we had to) of every successful dinner party include a little something to keep the kids occupied. Consider this architecturally sound and inspired building block set as just the thing. 

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Photography by INSPIRATIONMADESIMPLE

This clever game is pretty much guaranteed to keep the little ones occupied throughout the first course of the dinner. The idea behind it is to decorate a turkey by rolling dice, where each number corresponds to a part of the turkey  – eyes, body, feathers, etc. The first person to finish their turkey, wins!

Get the scoop on Inspiration Made Simple.

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Photography by MAKING FRIENDS

The classic pastime comes with a playful Thanksgiving twist featuring thematic snippets we just can’t get enough of. Use candy corn or buttons in lieu of the standard bingo chips for a festive touch!

Get the full scoop on Making Friends.

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Photography by MARTHA STEWART

When your table decor doubles as entertainment for the kids, we consider that a win. These clever DIY place cards come complete with a set of thematically-appropriate trivia questions that are an absolute blast!

Learn more on Martha Stewart.

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Photography by BABBLE

Put the little spies-in-training to work with this whimsical Thanksgiving-themed puzzle. Recreate your own, or simply print one out!

Get the scoop here.

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Photography by KIDPRINTABLES

Embrace the abundance of free, printable puzzles available online. Print out a curated variety of crossword puzzles, word searches, and mazes, and set up a friendly competition among the little ones!

Discover more here!

Originally published October 2016. Updated November 2017.

See more spur of the moment hacks:

You Can Make These Thanksgiving Desserts Within the Hour
10 Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Decorations You Can DIY
Last-Minute Decorating Ideas for the Perfect Thanksgiving

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