LilSugarSource: Create a Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Table With Tips From Martha Stewart's Darcy Miller
Thanksgiving dinner may center around a long, delicious meal, but when there are little kids in the mix, it tends to feel more like fast food, because dinner gets inhaled and the kids go back to their fun and games. But when the kids have a special table - filled with details and activities just for them - they're more likely to spend a few extra minutes sitting at it.
We turned to Darcy Miller, editorial director for Martha Stewart Weddings, and a mother of three, for some tips for creating a kid-friendly dinner that both parents and kids can enjoy. Among her ideas is using craft paper as a tablecloth and an orange paper runner with a punched edge for accent; the paper doubles as a great way to keep the kids entertained. Placing coloring pages, crayons, stickers, and rubber stamps (holiday-themed, of course) on the table can also help keep them at the table a few minutes longer. Keep reading for more of Darcy's tips, as well links to free downloads you can print out for your own Thanksgiving festivities.
- Create a Turkey-rific Kids' Table: "This paper turkey shape makes for a creative place card. You can either lay it down flat or cut a slit in the bottom and stand it up with a folded paper napkin," Darcy says. "You could [also] hole-punch and string them together on a mantle." To continue the harvest feel of the table, Darcy embellished kid-safe gold paper cups with glitter leaf stickers, an activity Darcy suggests the kids work on before or during the meal.
- Get the Kids Involved With Their Table: Kids' place mats with Darcy's artwork (available as a free download from Martha Stewart) are great for kids to color. She says, "You can laminate and use them as place mats afterward, or put them in your scrapbook." Candy- and popcorn-filled cups are transformed into ships when adorned with Darcy's pilgrims artwork and Mayflower template (also available as a free download from Martha Stewart). The orange runner is made of paper and the Martha Stewart Crafts Deep Edge Punch.
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- Personalize Place Mats: Darcy suggests using her downloadable place mats as both a decoration and an activity for your Thanksgiving feast. She says, "You and your family can use them to decorate the table and share what you're thankful for this season. Print in color or black and white if your kids want to color them in themselves."
- Blend the Grown-Ups' Table With the Kids' Table: Darcy made these little pumpkins festive for the holiday with gold Martha Stewart Craft Paint. You can attach a paper banner to turn the gourds into a place card and then add the rest to the table. Chocolate Godiva turkeys and pumpkin truffles add some sweetness to the table.
- Create a "Thankful Tree": A "Thankful Tree" is a great alternative to buying expensive flowers. "Pick branches out of your yard or from the farmers market the weekend before so you don't have to worry about it when it's time to start cooking," Darcy says. "Adorn the tree with paper leaves, and every guest can write what they're thankful for on a leaf. It's important to remind everyone at your table what this holiday is about." To create the tree, Darcy filled cylinders with curly willow branches. The outside of the cylinders are decorated with gold fine paper that is punched with the Martha Stewart Crafts Daisy Fan Deep Edge Punch. The individual leaves come from Etsy seller Courtney McFarland to create a real Fall look.
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- Add Some Fun Touches to the Table: Little touches help round out the table decor. More free printables from Darcy can be used to organize the meal or as scratch pads for kids. Drinking glasses can be dressed up with Oriental Trading Thanksgiving stickers (something the kids can do to help get the table ready for guests). And cylinders can be made into elegant centerpieces with the addition of punched paper. Darcy also suggests attaching the punched paper to pillar candles with a piece of double-sided tape.
- Sweet Desserts : It's easy to go overboard on Thanksgiving desserts, but with miniature versions of things - like cake pops and cupcakes - guests can have a small bite without feeling too full. Darcy says, "These bite-sized apple pie cupcakes from Baked by Melissa are a huge hit with kids and adults. Style them on a cake stand easily decorated with punched gold paper." Darcy's sketch of the Mayflower, pilgrims, and turkeys (available as free downloads from Martha Stewart) personalize the dessert table for Thanksgiving.
- Keep the Memories Alive Long Past the Holiday: When the day's done, take the leaves off the tree and put them in a scrapbook. It will make a great memory keeper!
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