Table setting is a great chore for children, and since this holiday centers around the table, it is a perfect time to teach your children the art of basic table setting; plus it gives children an added sense of accomplishment and feeling of importance. They are able to help with the feast.
First, though, you must decide how much each child can handle. A four-year-old probably should not be carrying around your best china, but he or she is surely capable of setting out napkins, forks and spoons.
Second, you have to determine whether or not you actually know how to set a table properly. The guidelines vary slightly depending on whom you ask, but there are some basics.
The plate goes in the center of the setting about two inches from the edge of the table. If you are having soup, that bowl goes atop the plate, and the napkin can be placed atop the dishes or to the left of the forks.
The large dinner fork goes to the left of the plate with the salad fork further to the left of the dinner fork. The salad plate goes above and slightly to the left of the forks, and the bread dish, with the butter knife lying upon it, goes to the right of and slightly higher than the salad plate.
On the right side of the dinner plate, place the knife with the cutting edge facing the plate. The dessert spoon can be placed next, or it can go above the plate, and the soup spoon is the utensil farthest to the right. The water goblet is placed above the knife with the wine glass to the right of the goblet.
If seating cards are to be used, they are to be placed above the dessert utensil and dinner plate. Seating cards can be another way for children to be involved in the Thanksgiving celebration. While all of the cooking and adult conversation may not be exciting to kids, making and decorating name cards to be used for seating can be great fun. Children can use 3-inch by 5-inch unlined index cards or cardstock, fold them like tents and add the names of the guests in fancy handwriting. They can decorate the name cards with seasonal stickers or their own original artwork.
Another way the children can feel involved in the celebration of the feast is to make the napkin rings that adorn the napkins before dinner. This project would probably need to be done beforehand, or the cook may find himself or herself stressed with turkey basting, potato mashing and supervision of napkin ring design. Too much activity could force the cook to need a glass of wine before dinner.
To make the napkin rings, you will need felt (the color depends on the design you choose), seasonal cookie cutters (pumpkins, leaves, apples, etc…), a piece of cardstock, straight pins, a hole puncher and some pipe cleaners. Place your cookie cutter on the cardstock and trace around it. Cut out your design to make a template for the napkin rings. Next, take your cardstock cutout, pin it to your felt and cut around your template. Then, using your hole puncher, punch a hole on each side of your felt cutout.
Put one end of a piece of pipe cleaner through the hole and twist it over. Be sure to fold over any sharp edges. Put the other end of the pipe cleaner through the other hole, being sure to leave enough pipe cleaner to fit the napkin through. Children can decorate their napkin rings with seasonal colored sequins.
When you are ready to have your children prepare the table, it is suggested that you do one setting as an example of how the dishes and utensils should be placed. Model and talk about each item as you place it down. Some children are visual and others are more auditory, so be sure to show and tell. Let your children use your example in their attempt to set the remainder of the Thanksgiving table. And be sure to tell them how thankful you are for a beautifully set table.
Article provided by Homesteader
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