Skip to main content

Friendsgiving Ideas For a Kid-Friendly Party

As we get older and our lives start to change, so do our holiday parties. Lots of things about Friendsgiving will change when your friends start having kids, but here are our top tips for keeping kids happy and entertained at your 2019 Friendsgiving celebration.
Two adults holding wine over dinner table, having Friendsgiving with their kid
Updated: May 13, 2023

Friendsgiving has always been my favorite way to celebrate the holiday. Sometimes it’s more fun to spend the holidays with our friends versus our family. But as we get older and our lives start to change, so do our holiday parties. Lots of things about Friendsgiving will change when your friends start having kids. Hosting Friendsgiving is still just as fun when you incorporate your friend’s kids in the fun.

My friends and I did Friendsgiving for years, children in tow. It took trial and error to figure out what worked best for everyone. Spending Thanksgiving with friends and their little ones was always more fun to me than spending the day with my kids. 

More: How to Use Thanksgiving to Jumpstart Your Genealogy and Family Tree Research

Preparing Your House

Lady organizing household items for friendsgiving party

If you’re hosting this year’s Friendsgiving celebration and don’t already have kids, there are some things you need to do to prepare your home. Things you don’t want the kids to touch? Put it away, someplace where they can’t see it and be tempted to touch it. Us parents are already paranoid our kids are going to break or ruin something. Don’t give them ammunition. 

Making sure that the kids have a kid-friendly space is also important. And that goes beyond just dinner. You don’t want them underfoot while you prep dinner, so giving them a special place to congregate, like a kids table, is beneficial for all involved parties. 

Additionally, when it comes to dinner itself, having kid-friendly tableware is important too. Plates that are not breakable, and easy for small hands to hold is crucial. The same thing goes for cups. Encourage parents to bring whatever they may need to make dinner easier for the kids, whether that be an age-appropriate cup or utensils. 

Friendsgiving Kids Activities 

Boy and girl child painting at Friendsgiving table

Trying to keep the kids busy while they wait for dinner is honestly one of the hardest parts of hosting a Friendsgiving party. Have a strong time frame for dinner. And if it’s going to change drastically let parents know as soon as you can. If they know things are running behind, they may choose to show up closer to dinnertime. 

Kids of any age will get bored, especially when they’re not in their own house and don’t have access to their own stuff. As a parent, I always make sure my kid has a toy or two to keep himself occupied. Most parents do, but it’s helpful to have a backup for when the kids inevitably lose interest in what they’ve brought. You don’t have to go all out with toys or anything. You want to keep it simple. 

You’ll be hard pressed to find kids who don’t like to draw and color, no matter how old. Buy a couple boxes of crayons and download this free, printable Thanksgiving Activity Book.

Thanksgiving activity book cover with turkey on it

You can also find cheap puzzles and toys at a dollar store, and as long as nothing gets destroyed, you’ll have toys any time the kids come over. 

The biggest thing to remember when planning activities for kids at Friendsgiving is that it’s supposed to be low stress. No one wants to spend the night cleaning up spilled glitter and feathers. And parents are looking to hang with their friends, not spend the afternoon doing an arts and crafts project. 

Friendsgiving Kid Recipes

Girl child eating a fruit bowl at Friendsgiving table

If you’ve ever been around a small child, they’re very often hungry. No one is expecting you to have unlimited options. But, there are some key things to remember. You want to have snacks available so we can feed the kids ASAP. The kids don’t need a charcuterie board, but having some snacks will hopefully keep them satisfied. (You may even want to consider parents bring snacks for the kids potluck style.)

One cute snack idea? Recreate the “dinner” from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. All you need is popcorn, pretzels, jelly beans (you could totally skip these) and a slice of buttered toast. It’s cute, and not super duper filling. Having a small fruit and/or veggie platter is also an excellent idea. 

Worried about the kids eating dinner? Having tried and true side dishes is key. For the parents of picky eaters, you can certainly consult with them. You can also let them know if they want to bring something from home, you’ll provide storage space.  

Also, make sure you have several drink options, maybe milk or juice, and definitely water. 

Looking for a fun dessert? There are plenty! 

This turkey cookie uses Oreos as the body so all you need to do is buy a bag of candy corn and candy eyes. 

There is also this cute turkey brownie which would be adorable and fun for the kids to do themselves 

Remember, Friendsgiving isn’t meant to be stressful. If you’re feeling apprehensive, reach out to your friends. They will help you to ensure that your space isn’t totally smashed. 

Looking for more ideas to keep the kids entertained this Thanksgiving? Here are 5 Family Traditions to Start This Thanksgiving.

Pin these Thanksgiving party ideas for when you start planning: 

Pinterest graphic for Friendsgiving Ideas For A Kid Friendly Party


Sa'iyda Shabazz

About Sa'iyda

Sa'iyda Shabazz is a writer and mother to one. She can often be found in her apartment… Read more

Join the Family

Your partner in parenting from baby name inspiration to college planning.