While getting the family together in-person for Thanksgiving might not be doable this year, there are plenty of other ways to bond with those you love. For families who are having a virtual Thanksgiving, agreeing to make a common menu — aka creating the same dishes so you can enjoy the food together — is a great first step. But what about keeping the kids engaged while trying to talk to your family members via screen? We tapped Beth Le Manach, the creator of the YouTube channel Entertaining with Beth, for her best tips. Read ahead to get a peek!
1. Designate One Person to Be in Charge
With too many cooks in the kitchen, things can get complicated. To ensure the day flows smoothly, trying placing one family member in charge of the activities. "Designate a person to be in charge of the 'entertainment'; otherwise, it could be a big gabfest with no structure," Beth told POPSUGAR. "The 'run of show' may involve each person sharing what they are grateful for or sharing favorite memories of past Thanksgivings."
2. Keep Kids Busy With an Art Project
Parents with kids who are learning virtually know how hard it can be to keep kids engaged while they're staring at a screen, so why not give them a break or two for some arts and crafts? "Zooms can be hard for kids to be 'present' the whole time, and it can also be frustrating for the parents who are trying to hold a conversation," said Beth. "Bring the idea of the kiddie table to the Zoom by emailing around in advance a few coloring pages or an art project to the other parents. At the start of the Zoom, parents can distribute the pages or the project to the kids and let the kids go off to create! For a longer project, have kids create their own Thanksgiving meal with playdough and come back to share their results!"
3. Play a Few Rounds of Thanksgiving Trivia
Looking up a handful of age-appropriate questions online can be a great way to give children something to do before or after dinner. Parents who want to go above and beyond can even set up trivia in a Jeopardy-style format, where certain queries are worth more points. "Give them a reason to show off a bit and share their knowledge," said Beth. "Designate someone in the family to hold a 'Top 10 Thanksgiving Trivia Contest,' and ask a mix of questions. Kids pay attention best when they feel they have something to contribute, and hey, the grown-ups may learn a thing or two!"
4. Get Out the Board Games
After watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving little ones can battle it out by playing their favorite game with their relatives. "Yes, board games on Zoom are fun!" Beth said reassuringly. "After everyone has finished eating and chatting, get the kids involved in a fun family board game. Some good ones that translate well online are Beat the Parents ($15), Pictionary ($14), or the 5 Second Rule Game ($30). The parent in charge would have the game, and the kids and guests can easily participate in the play!"