Easy Thanksgiving Recipes Your Kids Can Help Make
Thanksgiving can be a busy time filled with lots of cooking and baking. So how do you keep the kids entertained on Thanksgiving?
One way to get your children in the festive Fall mood is to let them in on the hustle and bustle of cooking! We have some easy recipes and kid-friendly Thanksgiving snack ideas for your little ones to try!
Cute Thanksgiving Treats
When most children think of Thanksgiving, they’ll automatically think of food! So a fun Thanksgiving idea for kids is to have them make their own festive and creative snacks. Here are a few unique recipes that are simple enough for your little ones to make:
Pumpkin Rice Krispies Treats
Create these cute pumpkins out of rice krispies with your little ones! Not only are they fun to make, but make for a great Fall festive treat. It can also be perfect to bring to parties as a little treat.
- 6 cups rice krispies cereal
- 3 Tbsp salted butter
- 1 (10 oz) pkg. mini marshmallows
- Orange gel food coloring
- 3 pretzel rods, end portions broken off into 2-inch pieces (so you'll have 6 pieces)
- 6 mini green airheads or green fondant*
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Measure out rice krispies cereal and pour into a bowl. Melt butter in a 4 quart non-stick saucepan or pot over medium-low heat.
- Add marshmallows and stir and as they begin to melt start adding in the gel food coloring until desired color is achieved. Stir constantly until marshmallows have melted.
- Remove from heat then immediately pour in rice krispies cereal and gently stir and fold with a spatula until cereal is evenly coated. Let mixture cool slightly (until it's cool enough to handle with your hands).
- Spray hands with non-stick cooking spray then shape rice krispie treat mixture into balls about the size of a baseball, then insert 1 piece of the pretzel rod into the top center and reshape the pumpkin as needed. Transfer to a plate or dish sprayed lightly with cooking spray.
- Beginning on one side of the airhead candy cut out a leaf shape with clean scissors then use the remaining portion of the piece of candy to roll and shape into a thin rope shape then twist into a vine shape (or just shape the fondant accordingly, no cutting required).
- Place candy on the sides of each pretzel on the pumpkin (as pictured). Repeat with remaining candy. Store in an airtight container.
Turkey Hand Print Cookies
Nothing’s cuter than making a sugar cookie shaped like your little one’s hand! Let your kids have fun decorating them and you can even turn them into dinner place cards for the family.
- pencil or pen
- sugar cookie dough try our favorite homemade sugar cookie recipe, or you can use store-bought dough
- rolling pin
- baking sheet with non-stick liner
- icing or frosting use our royal icing recipe with helpful tips, or purchase your favorite
- water to thin out the royal icing
- parchment paper
- chocolate covered sunflower seeds
- Using a pen or pencil, trace your child's hand onto a piece of cardstock. (If you have different sized hands in your house, it's fun to make different sizes.)
- Cut each hand out.
- Roll out your sugar cookie dough, place the cardstock hands on top of the dough to use as a guide and cut them out with a knife.
- Carefully transfer to baking sheet. If there are any rough edges, just pat them down.
- Bake, let cool, then carefully transfer to your counter where you can start to decorate them. (Try not to have any finger casualties.)
- Outline the handprint cookies in black or brown icing. NOTE - The icing for the outline, feet, gobbler and name should be thicker than the fill icing.
- Fill each handprint cookie with the thinner brown frosting. (Just add a touch more water to the thick stuff you made.)
- Pop the bubbles with a toothpick right away when it's still really wet.
- Make some feet and gobblers with icing on a piece of parchment paper. After they are dry (several hours they will peel right off.
- After your fill frosting has set up a tiny bit, add sunflower seed feathers. If you add these too soon, they will fall into the frosting and get swallowed up. But don't wait too long so that the icing cracks when you push these on.
- Using black icing, write the name and add an eye. Glue your dried gobbler on with a dot of frosting.
- With dots of frosting, put the legs on last. I learned the hard way they they are fragile and if you try to do other decorating after you put them on, your hand might break them.
Pumpkin Pie Cheese Appetizer
Let your children get creative by making these mini pumpkin pie slices out of cheese and crackers! It’ll be a great snack for them or even an appetizer for the guests before dinner.
- Cheddar cheese
- Triscuit Thin Crisps
- Chicken in a Biskit crackers
- Wavy stick crackers from a bag of Chex Mix
- Whipped cream cheese
- Assemble your ingredients.
- Slice cheese into thick wedges, slightly smaller than your Triscuit Thin Crisps.
- Put cream cheese in a pastry bag. Pipe tiny dollops of cream cheese on the Triscuit Thin Crisps, the Chicken in a Biskit crackers and the wavy stick Chex Mix crackers. (You will need to combine two wavy stick Chex Mix crackers to create the top “crust” on each “slice of pie.”) Add a dollop of cream cheese on top of each cheese wedge for the “whipped cream.”
- Assemble and accessorize cheese wedges with the crackers to create your pumpkin pie slices.
- Surprise your guests with this cheesy pumpkin pie slice!
Make these cute cornucopias out of waffle cones and candy! Your children can make them as table decorations, snacks, or a fun treat to wrap and give out to their friends.
- Small waffle or sugar cones
- Chocolate chips
- Candy corn
- Candy pumpkins
- Any other candies your children like
- Sweet chex mix
- Boil a bit of water on the stove in a small pot
- Pour chocolate chips into a heat safe bowl and put over the pot of boiling water. Constantly stir the chocolate until fully melted and remove from the heat.
- Take the waffle cone and dip the edges into the chocolate (you can then add sugar or sprinkles onto the chocolate to decorate if you’d like). Set aside to dry.
- Gather your candy and sweet chex mix. Fill the cornucopia waffle cone any way you’d like.
No-Bake Brownie Turkey Treats
Your toddler will definitely have fun making these adorable brownie turkey treats and love eating it too! You can even turn it into a family activity that everyone will enjoy.
- Brownie bites (or make your own with your favorite brownie recipe)
- Candy corn
- Chocolate icing (I use cookie icing pouches)
- Candy eyes
- If you are making your own brownie bites you will need to do that first and let them cool completely.
- Use chocolate icing to adhere two small candy eyes to the brownie. They should be slightly below the middle of the brownie.
- Then use the chocolate icing to adhere the candy corn to the top of the brownie bite.
- Finally, place one candy corn (point side down) underneath the eyes.
Pumpkin Patch Pudding Cups
Get festive with these fun DIY Fall treat for your toddlers! It’s super easy to make and it can even be a group activity with your kids and their friends.
- Clear plastic cups
- Chocolate pudding
- Chocolate cream cookies
- Green sugar crystal sprinkles
- Mellowcreme pumpkins
- Green gel (optional)
- Fall leaf sprinkles (optional)
- Paper straw
- Craft sticks (5 each)
- Hot glue
- Paint or paint pen
- To begin the pumpkin patch pudding cups, prepare soft-serve chocolate pudding (I just used instant pudding) and fill the cups about about 3/4 full.
- Crush up some chocolate cream cookies using your fist, a spoon, or a food processor. This is a fun activity to get kids involved in, especially if you use a hammer.
- Sprinkle a decent amount of cookie crumbs onto the top of the pumpkin patch pudding. This will be the “dirt.”
- Most pumpkin patches have a little bit of grass still with the pumpkins, not just dirt, so add some of the green sprinkles around the top of your pumpkin patch pudding cup. I did some spots with none, some with very little, and others with a decent amount so it looks more like grass would.
- Place a few mellowcreme pumpkins on the top of your pumpkin patch pudding and push them down gently into the “dirt” like they are sitting in a pumpkin patch. If you can find different sized/shaped pumpkins, that would be even better! I just went with whatever was in the Autumn Mix Mellowcreme and candy corn package that I purchased. You can also add some green gel for vines and sprinkle on some leaf-shaped sprinkles if you wish!
- While the pudding sets, make the pumpkin patch signs! Start by gluing the craft sticks onto the paper straw. Make sure these are centered and that they each touch. Leave a small amount of the straw poking out from the top and a good amount below as it will be sticking into the pudding.
- If you would like to make the signs sturdier, flip the sign around and add some more glue around where the straw meets the craft sticks. I reinforced my sign this way.
- Flip the sign back around. Using the paint or paint pen, write “Pumpkins $1.00” onto the sign. Let dry.
- Once the Pumpkin Patch Pudding has set, carefully stick the sign in near the back. If needed, place the pudding cup back into the refrigerator for a bit so the sign does not fall over.
Easy Festive Food Recipes
While the dishes for Thanksgiving dinner is mostly prepared by the adults of the family, there are a few recipes and cooking steps that your children can participate in. Not only will it add some of their personal touches into the dishes, but lets them participate in the essence of Thanksgiving: quality family time!
Just be sure to do all the hard or dangerous tasks such as cutting, slicing, boiling, and baking! Also remember to set aside enough time for their little hands to work on the food at their own pace! Here are a few recipes your children can help make:
Cranberry Brie Bites
These are a super easy but delicious appetizer you can make for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner snack. It’s so simple that even your little ones can help assemble the ingredients together!
- all-purpose flour, for dusting the dough and cutting board
- 1 (8 oz) tube crescent dough
- 1 (8 oz) wheel of brie cheese
- 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce (not jellied)
- fresh rosemary sprigs
- Preheat oven to 375°f degrees. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Spread a little flour out onto your counter. Then roll out crescent roll dough and pinch seams together. Cut crescent roll dough into 24 equal-sized squares. Place squares into muffin tin slots.
- Cut brie into small pieces and place inside the crescent dough squares. Top with a generous spoonful of cranberry sauce, and a little sprig of rosemary.
- Bake until the crescent dough is a light golden brown (about 15 minutes). Then serve warm!
Mashed Potato Casserole
A mashed potato dish is a must-have for every Thanksgiving meal! Try out this delicious recipe and your kids can even help mash the cooked potatoes and mix in ingredients.
- 3 pounds russet potatoes
- 7 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup panko
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 5 strips bacon cooked
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Peel and chop the potatoes. Add to a large pot. Cover with water and heat over high heat, boil the potatoes in the water about 20 minutes or until softened.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Drain the potatoes and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the butter, sour cream, milk, garlic powder, and salt. Mix with a potato masher or for creamier potatoes use a hand or stand mixer.
- Add the shredded cheddar cheese and stir to combine.
- Spray a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon the potato mixture into the dish. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
- In a small saucepan add the tablespoon of butter and the panko bread crumbs. Cook over medium heat until just toasted. Sprinkle on top of the potatoes.
- Top with shredded cheese and bake uncovered for about 15 minutes until the cheese is melted.
- Top with bacon and chives. Serve warm and enjoy!
Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese Ball
Not only is this adorable and delicious, but your kids will enjoy using their hands to mix this cheese ball!
- 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar (I shredded a chunk of cheddar cheese)
- About 1/2 cup of chopped up mixed nuts
- 2 candy eyes (bought these at Stop and Shop
- 1 Slim Jim
- pretzel sticks
- 1 round chocolate candy as in Whopper or Chocolate Pom poms for the head
- 1 candy corn
- a few teaspoons of melted chocolate melts to adhere the eyes and "beak".
- Soften cream cheese and cheddar cheese. Cream the cream cheese and add in the shredded cheddar. I do this all my hand but if you have a food processor it would probably go faster. I stir and "cream" until both cheeses are thoroughly mixed together.
- Then I pop this mixture into a piece of plastic wrap and form it into a ball. At this point it goes into the refrigerator for a few hours to firm it up.
- Take it out of the fridge and roll in chopped nuts being careful to keep the nice round shape.
- Place pretzels as in picture to make the nice full tail of the turkey. A bit of chocolate melt to glue the round chocolate candy to about a 4 or 5 inch piece of Slim Jim. It was a bit tricky to get this to stay in place and eventually I placed it in the freezer in order to harden it up faster.
- I glued on the eyes and "beak" candy corn and placed in the freezer for a few minutes.
- After inserting the "neck" Slim Jim into the cheese ball, I placed the entire thing on a plate and into the refrigerator for overnight.
This is a simple two ingredient biscuit that is great on time and is easy enough for your kids to help! They can assist you by adding ingredients and mixing the dough together.
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 475º F. Lightly coat rimmed baking sheet or cast iron skillet with vegetable shortening. Set aside.
- Add flour to a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour in heavy whipping cream and stir gently until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Pour biscuit dough onto a floured countertop or dough board. Gently pat or roll to about 1/2-inch thick. Cut out biscuits using about a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place biscuits into skillet or on baking sheet pan, leaving about an inch between biscuits to allow them to rise and cook fully. Place in preheated oven and bake about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.
We hope you and your little ones enjoy creating and eating these fun snacks. If you’re looking for more Thanksgiving activities for children and toddlers, we have a previous blog filled with holiday activities you and your family can enjoy!