Thanksgiving Play Trays

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

One of the many challenges of Thanksgiving is trying to find a way to entertain the kids while the turkey is baking. Sure, there's the TV and their tablets, but even those will only hold their attention for so long. So I'm here to give you some activities you can pull out when your preschooler utters the dreaded phrase: "I'm booored."

I kept supplies limited for this, so hopefully you find you can put these trays together easily and quickly!

Tray One: Lego Recipe Cards

Supplies: Lego Recipe Cards (make your own or scroll to the bottom of this post for the printable .pdf),
2x2 Legos: 2 red, 2 yellow, and 2 blue, and 2x4 Legos: 2 red, 2 yellow, and 2 blue.

While you are baking in the kitchen, your little one can bake on the dining room table! These recipe cards are very simple and have a little bit of wiggle room for creativity. My kid wanted to do every single one! I have included blank cards as well, so they could also create their own recipes.

For some extra fun you can place orders for recipes, or ask your kids to name the dishes they have created. 

If you have more than one player you can have races to see who can finish the most cards in a certain amount of time, or who's recipe can create the taller structure.

Tray Two: Pumpkin Pie Counting Game

Supplies: brown paper, orange paper, scissors, glue, 1 die

To create your pie you will need two circles to trace (I just used two medium plates, one slightly smaller than the other.) Trace the larger circle onto the brown, and the smaller onto the orange. Glue these together. Once the glue is tried cut the pie into SIX pieces (unlike the normal eight.)

To play the game I put a plate out, then your child will roll the die to see how many pieces of pie the person will get. Try to encourage putting the pie back together after every turn. 

You can make the game more complex by having them roll until they serve the whole pie, or by having children take turns rolling to see who will get the most pieces in the end.

Tray Three: Turkey Feather Sensory Tray

Supplies: feathers and play-doh

To start out with I showed Ro a picture of a turkey and encouraged him to make his own fan. After he constructed a pretty cute one I let him stick the feathers in whatever pattern he wanted to.

Eventually leaves got involved, and he created a sculpture that could have doubled as a fine centerpiece for our Thanksgiving meal!

All of these activities had minimal setup and were open-ended enough to be fun while retaining some educational value. I think the turkey feather was our favorite, but how many times do you get to play with feathers and playdoh? Turns out to be a match made in heaven. But then again... those Lego recipies are something we could pull out whenever he wanted to play kitchen...

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