Fun Ways to Keep Small Children Busy on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away! Unlike Halloween or Christmas, Thanksgiving is often not a holiday that is directed towards small children. Our toddler loves to eat, so her second Thanksgiving will likely bring her some joy, but we also have to entertain her during what is usually a pretty hectic day! We have come up with up a few fun things you can give little ones to keep them entertained and occupied on Thanksgiving that we would like to share with you.

Fun Ways



Play-Dough Cupcake
Credit: Firefly Magic

Never under estimate the power of play-dough. You can use store bought Play-dough and some fall themed cookie cutters, but for a really interactive experience, try making these pumpkin spice play-dough cupcakes from Firefly magic. Your little one will love playing with them and they will smell like Thanksgiving!


Coloring and Activity Sheets

arts and crafts child close up color
Photo by Pixabay on

Coloring is always something we turn to when we need to occupy our toddler. We still have to keep an eye on her just in case she decides to nibble on a crayon or the paper, but that happens less and less as she gets older. If you need some great print outs, look no further than Simple Mom Project’s printable activities. There are some simple coloring pages for smaller children, but also some great pintables for children who can read as well!



I know what you are thinking, I must be crazy. Who wants to let their small children paint on Thanksgiving? Do not worry, it will not make a mess! This one takes a bit more effort than the other two ideas on this list, but it is so much fun. We love mess free art in our house. They can paint while you cook, then you can help them finish the craft after the Thanksgiving meal is over with! This Mess Free Calico Corn Painting is perfect for Thanksgiving! If painting isn’t your thing, you can also try this Fall Paper Plate Wreath.


We would love to hear from you! What do you give your little ones to keep them busy while you are preparing a holiday meal or doing other holiday activities that are not geared towards children?

16 responses to “Fun Ways to Keep Small Children Busy on Thanksgiving”

  1. Coloring is always a great idea to keep the little ones super busy and happy! It might get a little messy but it’s all woth it right?

  2. I love these ideas for my almost 14 month old son! He is so busy so this would keep him entertained for a bit 🙂

  3. I love making play dough for kids! So many cool recipes these days, love the idea of pumpkin spice!

  4. Explore Kid Talk Avatar
    Explore Kid Talk

    Making playdough is so fun. These are great activities for kids when you are preparing Thanksgiving.

  5. Great ideas for keeping the little ones busy… colouring and play dough used to do the trick when my daughter was little!

  6. My little one has JUST gotten into coloring so I need to print him out some sheets. Great ideas!

  7. Those are cool ideas to keep our little ones busy. I remember when my kids were younger, now they are grown. I will share this post with my sister.

  8. My boys always want something to do when we have big meals. I almost always have a small coloring book and crayons in my bag for them.

  9. I wish I had heard of that mess-free paint sooner (and so does the back of my couch). Lol. As the momma to an active toddler, I can’t wait to try some of these out.

  10. Coloring is my go-to relaxing entertainment. Even to this day, I love to doodle and color. Allows the creativity to just start flowing.

  11. Such a creative ideas for children. This is awesome and it help kids to learn more skills.

  12. Playdough is a big thing back at home when all the kid are around. Easy to clean up and move out of the way when the foods done!

  13. These look like so much fun. My son is so hands on about everything so I will definitely have to try these out! He loves playdough so much too!

  14. Interesting read. We do not have Thanksgiving day here, in Lithuania.
    Anyway, coloring is really a good idea to keep the little ones busy, happy and creative.

  15. Always good to have a plan to keep kids busy during any holiday season. Crafts are a great way to keep entertained in a cost effective way xx

  16. What fun idea, I am sure that any parents will use one of these ideas for the upcoming holiday weekend!

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