Too many cooks in the kitchen is a problem. And it’s an even bigger problem when they’re just hanging out.

Oh sure, any host would love an extra pair of helping hands, but let’s face it, when kids are in the picture, those hands aren’t always all that … helpful. And when you have kids scurrying around underfoot, the situation is ripe for an accident. In fact, Thanksgiving is the single biggest day for home fires, according to the American Red Cross.

One of the best ways to prevent a Thanksgiving accident? Keep the kids out of the kitchen. Here are 6 Thanksgiving activities to keep them busy and help you have a more festive family celebration.

1. Make a movie

Get your kiddos busy collecting family lore with a smartphone. Your whole family will treasure a video keepsake of relatives answering questions like, “Tell us about one of your Thanksgiving traditions growing up” or “What was something that you weren’t thankful for as a kid that you are now?” A silly or surprising question can elicit better responses than “What are you thankful for?”

2. Go all out on table decor

Fall is the perfect time to find the best natural decorations! Send the kids out to collect leaves, pods, and other finds and let them have a craft frenzy. They can make centerpieces, place cards, napkin ring wreaths, and more with their bounty.

3. Get a joke fest going

Now we’re talking turkey! Find some riddles online you can start here — and let everyone play along (even the cook can join in on this one). Give out a small treat like candy corn for each attempted answer. Come on, I know you’re curious: Why can’t you take a turkey to church? Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?

4. Create a photo booth

No matter how old your guests are, everyone loves a photo booth. Have the kids create fun props so people can take turns putting them on and striking silly poses against a plain sheet or fabric backdrop. The kids can take the photos, add funny filters, and edit them into a keepsake montage.

5. Make pumpkin spice play clay

Here’s a no-cook recipe for pumpkin spice play clay that young ones can mix up before or even during prep time at a low table outside the kitchen and then sculpt to their heart’s content.

6. Go old school

Some crafts and activities never get stale. Consider surveying your guests before they arrive to see what they remember doing on Thanksgiving, and then have the kids assemble to make golden oldies like handprint turkeys and “thankful” leaves. Another option: some touch football and a favorite holiday movie. (Extra points if you provide popcorn, toast, and jelly beans as a snack!) I bet you and your kids will find that there’s a (fun!) reason that the tried-and-true traditions stick around.

This time of year we are reminded of all we have to be thankful for — and that includes you, our customer. Thank you for trusting us to keep you and yours safe.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

DIY hacks | Home and garden


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.