The Kids’ Table

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Growing up, Thanksgiving on my Mom’s side was at my Grandparents’ house.  My brother, two cousins and I sat at the “kids’ table”, which was basically just a little folding card table that my sweet Grandma always covered with a festive tablecloth.  I loved the kids’ table.  It gave my cousins, my brother, and me a chance to hang out, chat and tease one another, while the adults in the family got to have actual real adult conversation (which I never understood the scarcity of until I had children of my own).  The kids’ table was a tradition that I thought was unique to my own family, until I got a little older and realized that many families used the kids’ table as a solution to the holiday seating dilemma.  Even though my family wasn’t “special” in our tradition of the kids’ table, I still smile when I think of the four of us sitting at that little card table (which I’m sure my Grandma still owns, and maintains in pristine condition, somewhere in her house).

It is a tradition that I’ll continue when I host this year’s Thanksgiving, and I pinned some ideas on activities to use for the kids’ table.  My board has a meager sampling of the things that you can do to occupy your kids while you put the finishing touches on the meal, or try to steal a few moments of those treasured real adult conversations, and there are many other great ideas out there.  I already decided that I’d print Thanksgiving coloring sheets and leave some crayons out, and this site has plenty to offer in that regard, but I wanted something else.  I thought about doing these napkin rings, but I didn’t want to have to sort through pictures, plus, while really cute, they wouldn’t do anything to keep the kids occupied. And then I found this idea. I think it is going to be a great way to help our kids focus on some of their many blessings, while also keeping them busy doing something creative.  Doesn’t it look like fun?

Thankful Turkey from Parents.com

I was given the incentive to start this craft by accident.  Contractors had taken over our home trying to complete items on the “one year punch list” for our not-s0-new-anymore home.  That said, I was displaced from doing anything of value, which gave me the perfect excuse to craft, but also took away my access to my computer, which was buried under (drywall dust covered) plastic.  Not wanting to disturb the contractors, I went outside onto the back porch, taking my brown yarn and two foam spheres (one larger than the other, to use as a head and a body for the turkey) with me, and trying to figure out how to make this guy without the benefit of directions.

I started wrapping the brown yarn around the foam spheres, one at a time, gluing it in place whenever I felt like it needed some securing.

Change directions to cover the entire sphere.

And just keep wrapping, wrapping, wrapping…

Keep wrapping until you get both of the sphere’s completely covered in yarn.

Luckily, this craft was pretty easily amenable to my own methods, however, this is the point when I realized that access to the original instructions would have been especially helpful.  As I admired my yarn covered spheres, the thought suddenly occurred to me that my round bodied turkey would not stand up on his own.  Oops.  Funny how something so simple can slip your mind, isn’t it? (Don’t worry, I figured out how to make my turkey stand up, you’ll see 🙂 )  Anyway, after the contractors were gone for the day, I went back to read the source’s recommendation that you cut a sliver off of the larger foam covered sphere to flatten it out and make it more stable (obviously doing so BEFORE you start wrapping the spheres in yarn).  That knowledge was no help to me at that point, but it will hopefully be helpful to you.

After the spheres were wrapped, a few days past until I was able to get back to this craft.  Which gave me time to figure out two things.  1) How was I going to secure the head to the body (The source blog says to use a tongue depressor, but I don’t have one of them, nor do I have any popsicles in the house, and I certainly wasn’t running out to the store in the frenzied Thanksgiving week crowds to buy any), and 2) How was I going to get my turkey to stand up?

The former was accomplished by using toothpicks and hot glue to hold the little ball in place as the head.  It took a few toothpicks, to hold it steady, and then I glued around the contact area to increase the liklihood that it would stay in place. We’ll see how it holds up the the kids, but it feels sturdy now.

Then, I got out my card paper scraps.  This activity is a great way to use up any scrap paper that you have lying around, and I didn’t have to cut a single new piece of paper.  I fixed the second problem by making Mr. Turkey a stand out of two strips of scrap paper that I stapled together in a circle.  His “body” fits right onto the ring of paper that serves as a base.  Problem solved.

I used two buttons as eyes, and cut out Mr. Turkey’s beak and red hangy neck thingee (Which, thanks to a quick Google search, I have come to learn is actually called a wattle.  Google is my proof that there isn’t a silly question that I can come up with that numerous other people haven’t also wondered about.).  There was nothing precise about this, I used buttons that came from a hotel sewing kit, and cut some scraps of orange and red paper, bending the ends to give me an edge to glue, and then applied pressure while the glue dried.

Here's Mr. Turkey with his face, standing up on his circular stand. It's all coming together...

Then, I picked out paper scraps that were large enough to use for feathers.

I picked a variety of colors, and cut out feathers using the first one that I cut as a template for the rest of them.  It certainly wasn’t rocket science, so they aren’t exactly the same size, but I’m pretty sure the kids won’t mind. See all of the pretty colors?

I hot glued toothpicks onto each feather, leaving about 1/2 of the toothpick on the feather and the other half sticking out to use to secure it to the turkey’s body. After waiting for them to dry, I arranged them on the back of the turkey’s body, and set him on his stand.

And here he is from the back:

Tah-Dah!!  The kids’ table Turkey Topper.  His Majesty is absolutely enthralled with this thing, and is actively planning an attack on it, but in the event that Mr. Turkey survives until Thanksgiving dinner, the kids can use crayons to write down things that they are thankful for on each of the feathers, and then stick the feathers back on the body of the Turkey to display.  I might even write down a few things that I am thankful for to help get them started.

Do you have a kids’ table?  Are you doing anything special to occupy the kids in the hours before you enjoy your Thanksgiving feast?  I’d love to hear your (p)inspiring ideas!

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