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Get kids involved in Thanksgiving preparations

Want to thank your kids for giving this holiday season? “Cookie” magazine shares smart and simple ways to get little pilgrims involved, from picking out pumpkins to setting the dinner table.
/ Source: TODAY

“Cookie” contributing editor Laurie Gelman shares helpful advice on how to get your little ones excited and involved in Thanksgiving:

Between roasting the turkey, glad-handing the in-laws and spiking the eggnog, it is easy to lose sight of the little ones underfoot — and the table they’ll sit at. See below for some easy ways to integrate your kids into the holiday preparations, including setting a stunning kids’ table, and they will surely give thanks for you.

The day before1. Bring kids to the farmers market or produce section and pick pumpkins, squash and Indian corn to decorate the dinner table. See who can find the most gnarled and knobby gourds and the cutest minipumpkins.

2. Arrange these items on the table, or get creative by painting faces on the gourds, and carving out the pumpkin stems to create impromptu candleholders.

3. Buy a cornucopia at Target or your local crafts store, and let kids arrange grapes, pears and apples spilling out of this horn of plenty. This creates a stunning centerpiece for your holiday table.

The day-of1. To keep them away from hot ovens and frantic food preparations, send little ones to the backyard or nearest park to collect pinecones. Then have them decorate place cards with stickers and markers, and put the cards between the scales of the pinecones to create autumn-inspired placeholders. Craft paper punches also make great paper leaves and feathers. (, Clever Lever Super Jumbo Craft Punch, assorted designs, $13.20 each)

2. While they are at it, have them collect the brightest fallen leaves they can find to put underneath the place settings, tuck in the napkin rings or arrange on the table for a festive touch.

3. Grab a stack of construction paper, feathers and markers and break out the perennial Thanksgiving trick of making your traced hand into a holiday turkey. Use your children’s creations as placemats or to decorate the buffet.

During the meal1. Replace their usual cups with plastic wine glasses for their milk or juice. This small touch will make the young ones feel like they are truly a part of the celebration. (Just make sure they don’t mistake your glass of champagne for their sparkling cider.) (, pearl-essence 10-oz. Acrylic Plastic Wine Glass, 4 for $17).

2. Create a festive atmosphere with battery-operated votives from Restoration Hardware; there’s absolutely no dripping, and no danger to kids (, Pillar Candle Lights, $10-$32).

3. Have guests write what they are thankful for on their napkins. Let the kids read them aloud and try to guess who wrote what. You will be thankful for such engaged and enthusiastic helpers.

For more family-related holiday ideas, to go .