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Monday, September 24, 2012

10 Ways Kids Can Help Prepare Thanksgiving Dinner


Thanksgiving is all about family and spending time together.  Generations often share the kitchen while creating some of the best tasting dishes.  Bring the kids into the kitchen this year and help them learn about some of your family’s traditional Thanksgiving recipes.  From toddlers to teens, there’s something everyone can do to help out.
  1. Lay out the bread to dry. Many stuffing recipes require stale bread.  Have your child set the bread out on the counter. Once it’s stale, allow him to break up the bread and dump in premeasured spices. 
  2. Wash the vegetables for the crudité platter.  Serve a platter of crudité with some dip for guests to snack on.  Kids can wash the veggies and drain some pickles and olives before putting them onto a platter.
  3. Peel the potatoes. Around ages 8 to 10, most kids can use a potato peeler with supervision.  Teach her how to use the peeler than observe her in action before leaving her to the task.
  4. Add the marshmallows to the top of the sweet potatoes. Kids may enjoy the simple task of adding marshmallows to the top of the sweet potatoes, while sneaking a few as a snack, of course.  When kids help prepare a dish they feel connected to it and may be more likely to try it.
  5. Make some whipped honey butter. Allow a stick of butter to sit out until it reaches room temperature.  Have her add the butter, along with some honey, to a mixing bowl.  A couple of tablespoons worth are enough.  Add a few spoonfuls of powdered sugar and turn on the mixer.  Once blended, scoop the finished product into a pretty bowl and it’s ready to serve.
  6. Toss the salad. There are several ways kids can help create the dinner salad.  Let him tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces, rinse it off and toss it into the salad spinner. Once he spins the lettuce dry he can add in the rest of the ingredients, including the dressing. Have him toss the salad and set it on the table.
  7. Set the table. Depending on their age kids can set the entire table Thanksgiving table independently or set out items as you direct. Draw a table setting on a piece of paper. Your child can use the paper as a place setting guide.
  8. Plan the meal. Letting young ones help plan the menu for the big day will not only allow them to feel part of the celebration, but it may get them to try more types of food. Ask your children what vegetables they’d like to see on the menu and work together to find something appropriate to include.
  9. Snap green beans. Green bean casserole is a traditional dish served at many Thanksgiving feasts. Have the kids snap the ends of the beans that you’ll use in the casserole. Parents and kids can race to see who can finish snapping the ends off of their pile of beans that fastest.
  10. Mashing potatoes. Another traditional dish at the Thanksgiving table is mashed potatoes.  After the potatoes are boiled, kids can use a hand masher to help mash the potatoes up. 
Consider what meal preparation tasks are age-appropriate for each child in your family. Assign each child at least one responsibility. The more involved kids feel, the more excited they’ll be about sharing Thanksgiving dinner together.

  P.S. This post was  proposed to me for publication by Kathleen CrislipI'm therefore publishing it by her invitation and under her permission. See also the link below fore more information:

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