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Thanksgiving Dress Rehearsal

Thanksgiving is a great time to talk to your kids about table manners and nutrition. Choose 4 different "thanksgiving manners" that you want to talk about with your children. If you have a child that will not stay in his chair at a meal, this is a great opportunity to address this behavior.

Thanksgiving Manners

Before the the dress rehearsal, print off these pictures of food items (thank you Stacy and Things to Share and Remember for this great idea) and glue them to some small paper plates.

When it is time for the dress rehearsal have your children put on some fun dress-up clothes. Let them get as fancy as they want!

Now it's time for dinner...

First, have your kids help you set the table. Let them pick out a table cloth and napkins. If your kids do not know how to set the table this is a great time to teach them! But keep it super simple and have fun with it. Remember, learning is play and play is learning.

Thanksgiving spread

Next, have a seat and select a meal item. Ask your child "Would you care for some sweet potatoes?". Direct her to respond with either "yes please" or "no thank you". Then, she should pass the item to a friend, sibling, or teddy bear and do the same. Allow your inner child to come out here with this dramatic play! Your kids will love it.

During this time chat about different foods that people eat for Thanksgiving and emphasize the importance of eating vegetables and healthy sized portions.

Then, the best part.... carve the turkey! Surprise your kids by making a paperbag turkey filled with popcorn. They will be so excited to see what is inside. Trust me when I say to keep it a secret and enjoy watching their eyes light up when you stick a knife into the bag and reveal the buttery contents.

Popcorn Turkey

You will find a great tutorial for the popcorn turkey here (Thank you Kami at for this fun and delicious idea).

While you are snacking enjoy some light table chit-chat. I am sure they would love to hear some stories about your Thanksgiving memories as a child.

This is an amazing and fun activity that encourags a lot of hands on learning, dramatic play and great conversation. You can even give toasts! After today, you will have no doubt in your mind that your kids are ready for a Thanksgiving Feast at Grandma's house. Happy Dress Rehearsal Thanksgiving!

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