5 Simple Side Dishes Your Kids Can Make For Thanksgiving Dinner

Take Charge on 11.14.12

Photo: mroach/Creative Commons

Thanksgiving Day has us all reflecting on the role of gratitude in our lives. In the days leading up to the main event, however, there's one topic that we typically focus on: food.  All of my childhood memories of Thanksgiving Day are food related. They start with my parents preparing the meal around our kitchen counter and end with our entire family sitting down to dinner. Okay, that's not entirely true: They really ends the day after Thanksgiving when we ate leftovers for lunch--and dinner.  

As a kid, I never participated in the actual making of Thanksgiving dinner and I felt as if I were missing out on the fun. So when I had my own children, I knew I wanted them to make a culinary contribution to our Thanksgiving meals. 

Check out these kid-friendly side dishes and dessert, which are simple enough for children to make with just a little help from mom or dad. 

1. Mashed Potatoes. A perfect activity for toddlers and preschoolers. An adult can peel and chop the potatoes and cook them on the stove, while the child handles the mashing and addition of butter, milk and salt (with supervision, of course). 

2. Homemade applesauce. With preschoolers, Mom and/or Dad can peel and chop the apples and get them on the stove. The kids can add the spices and sugar, and handle the mashing of the apples once they've cooled. 

3. Cranberry Sauce. Kids can add all the ingredients while parents handle the activity on the stove.  

4. Green Bean Casserole.  I still use the old-school recipe that includes French's dried onion strings but I opt for fresh green beans instead of canned. Have your kids wash and snap off the tips of the green beans. They can also handle mixing all of the ingredients. If you want to try making the casserole from scratch, I also like this version from Weelicious

5. Pumpkin Pie. Seriously. Pumpkie pie is so easy to make. If you use a graham cracker crust, your kid could make this on his or her own from beginning to end. No cooking is required, save for putting the pie in the oven. And imagine the big smile your child will get when everyone raves about this delish dessert.

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