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6 Ways to Keep Kids Busy at the Dinner Table

BY: Aimee Algas Alker | Dec 13, 2018

Ask a kid to sit still, and you may as well ask them to calculate the size of your house using the Pythagorean theorem—it’s just not in their wheelhouse. This can make holiday dinners difficult. You want everyone to sit at the table together, but the little ones might be more cantankerous than your uncle after his team loses. So what’s the best way to keep them at the table? Keep them busy by making them feel part of the celebration!


Make Place Settings

Take a cue from restaurants and give the kiddos something to draw on. But instead of covering the table with butcher block paper, like theMelissa & Doug Tabletop Paper Roll ($11.99), use a narrower strip as a table runner, or cut it down into placemat size. Give the kids crayons or (washable) markers to match the holiday decor, and they’ll be making some decorations themselves. 


Let Them Help Decorate

Cardstock has infinite possibilities for crafting holiday decorations, as long as you precut it into the shapes you want. Make long strips to decorate and glue together into traditional paper chains, or try a paper chain kit, like the one pictured above: Animal Paper Chains ($22.46).


Work on Dessert

Keep it simple and give them sprinkles and small candies to adorn little gingerbread or sugar cookies. Or get more elaborate and let them collaborate on (or even decorate their own) gingerbread houses—or this Gingerbread Train Kit ($13.99).

Pro tip: Keep the supplies in view and tell them they can only work on the dessert if they’ve finished their veggies.


Make Ornaments

At our house, we love shrink plastic, reminiscent of the shrinky dinks I used to play with when I was little. They’re perfect to make hanging ornaments with—with the added fun of watching them shrink in the oven. Or try an ornament-making kit, with everything you need to decorate your own. Check out our Paint Your Own Christmas Ornaments Kit ($18.99).

Pro tip: To reduce the mess, swap the brushes and paint pots for paint pens or Sharpies.


Construct a Clay Snowman

Buy some air-dried clay and make an anthropomorphic centerpiece. Give it a name, and a cute hat, and some holiday spirit. Cut corners with My Very Own Snowman Kit ($16.99).


Be Part of the Conversation


Give them a pack of index cards and have them write down some fun questions to ask everyone at the table: What was your favorite Christmas? Do you believe in Santa Claus?





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