A Last-Minute Kids Table in Under 30 Minutes!

Megan Van Schaick
Home & Garden

thanksgiving kids table
Where do I sit?
You thought everyone coming to dinner was over 14? You know things never go the way they should!

Babysitters cancel, uninvited guests “pop” over (and stay), your sister-in-law didn’t read the email correctly and brought her brood ... there are any number of reasons why you might suddenly be in need of extra table space to feed those kids.

So what do you do when you’re faced with a pile of kids just hours before the big meal?



  • Go for the card table first -- it’s way easier to move around than other pieces of furniture.
  • Do you have a large desk you can use? Pull it out.
  • A coffee table is a great place for kids -- they get the novelty of sitting on the floor and you don’t have to find extra chairs! (A large ottoman will serve the same purpose.)
  • Push together your end tables and cover with a cloth to create another table. See also: extra door in the garage on top of stacks of books or storage bins.
  • Pull in a picnic or play table from outside.
  • If all else fails, break out the really bright tablecloth or sheet you have hidden in the back of the linen closet and make it a picnic blanket.


  • You'll need extra chairs, of course -- rolling chairs are always a big hit with kids, even if everyone has a different chair.
  • Want to go super rustic? Bring in stumps of wood for stools.
  • Extend existing seating by using two chairs spanned by a sturdy plank.
  • If dinner is taking place on the floor or coffee table, use cushions and throw pillows from around the house -- or just go chairless!


  • You might not have enough dinnerware to go around, depending on how many kids show up.
  • Use spare tablecloths or sheets as table coverings. If you have burlap or a roll of kraft paper on hand, even better!
  • Tie a ribbon around leftover Halloween cups or use a bit of glitter to fancy them up. Or just pull out clear glasses and use colorful washi tape to decorate them.
  • For silverware, plastic is fine -- or dig out that IKEA set in the back of the pantry. Kids don’t care about silver -- they’d rather eat with their hands anyway!


What kid doesn’t love a project? Put out a bunch of crayons and computer paper and let them write what they are thankful for, draw portraits of all the guests, or create a Thanksgiving museum (grab some paper clips and twine so you can string everything up, gallery-style).


Image via The Family Groove

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