Including the Kids in Thanksgiving Prep

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! For an over-planner like me, this means the spreadsheets, lists, and plans of attack are flying through my head this week. While I’m not hosting the meal, I am bringing several dishes to my parents’ house. I am a New England traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving, and it’s important to me to pass on my own traditions to my two sons. Raising boys who can cook, and cook well, is really important to me, so I like to try to include my 3 and 6 year old boys in as many ways as possible as we get ready for our family’s dinner together. It’s true that they do not do “perfect” work, but in my opinion, the benefit of having them be included and learn their way around the kitchen is worth the possible less-than-perfect results. And trust me– the grandparents don’t mind at all if things don’t look exactly as planned. If you’re interested in finding ways to let the kids pitch in and help on Thanksgiving, here are some age-appropriate ideas!

Made with love :)
Made with love 🙂

Ages 2-5:

-Mash the potatoes

-Mix up pie fillings in a bowl

-Arrange cut veggies on a platter*

-Make a cheese and cracker plate with pre-sliced cheese*

-Crumble bread for stuffing

Ages 5-8:

all the above tasks plus…

-Frost cupcakes (my kids aren’t pie fans, so we are attempting these turkey cupcakes this year!)

-Slice cheese and veggies for platters (of course, at your discretion, and with a not-too-sharp knife)

-Make place cards for dinner guests

-Help set the table, learning where parts of the place setting go

-Slice up apples for pie

-Help do the dishes

Ages 8 and up:

all the above tasks plus…

-Arrange flowers for the table

-Crimp pie crust edges

-Prepare a simple dish completely on their own (with stove help from a grown up), such as apple crisp, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, or something similar

-Practice measuring out ingredients for younger siblings to mix

-Peel potatoes

-Plan and supervise simple crafts or activities for younger family members to do after the meal


Do you welcome holiday help from your little ones? If so, share how they participate below!


*Be sure to have extras…because I’ve learned from experience that little helpers tend to snack as they go 😉

3 thoughts on “Including the Kids in Thanksgiving Prep

  1. So true that grandparents don’t mind at all if the things that the kids make aren’t perfect. iIt adds so much to the festivities when there are special things made by little hands!!!

  2. Our kids also love helping. They also make the placemats. You can buy sticker thanksgiving ones from oriental trading, but also just construction paper and theme stickers. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Oh this is awesome, thank you! My three year old loves to “help” me cook and these are great suggestions!

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