Thanksgiving can be kind of a let down for kids. I’m just being honest here. It doesn’t have the thrill of Halloween and it’s a poor substitute for Christmas morning. Kids aren’t as psyched as us grownups about the prospect of stuffing themselves silly, even when it comes to dessert. The adult dinner table discussions can be pretty boring – even for us adults. And if it’s too cold to play outside? Forget it. Kids can be left feeling like they’re always underfoot and under-appreciated.
I say the best way to get kids enthused about Thanksgiving is to give them something to do. When the holiday treats and tidbits include recipes kids can make themselves the prospect of sitting down to an absurdly early dinner might not seem so weird. Plus, putting kids to work on Thanksgiving actually gets them out from underfoot making the whole process of cooking a ginormous meal a bit safer and less stressful for whoever is manning the stove.
Here are 10 tasty and easy Thanksgiving dessert recipes kids can make themselves that not only are yummy, but also appealing enough for the grownups in your clan:
Classic Rice Krispies treats have never been cuter and it’s not much more difficult – so not hard at all – to turn them into shapes like pumpkins. You can use a mold or just roll them into balls in between well-greased hands. Find the recipe at Food Family & Finds!
Cinnamon crisps start with store-bought tortillas and end with sweet, crunchy shapes that are just perfect for serving warm with ice cream. This is a great easy dessert recipe for kids who are old enough to use cookie cutters but not the stove. Find the recipe at JustJENN!
No bake pumpkin pie? Serve these in ramekins for a classy presentations or in ice cream cones if you’re trying to wow the kids’ table. The consistency is more like mousse than traditional pumpkin pie so it may even appeal to the pickier eaters in your bunch. Find the recipe at La Jolla Mom!
It doesn’t get much easier than no-bake chocolate eclair cake! Instant pudding and Cool Whip come together along with graham crackers and the easiest ganache you’ve ever made in a dessert recipe that is definitely easier than it looks. Find the recipe at This Kitchen is My Playground!
You make the prepared sugar cookie crust for this dessert pizza and then let kids pile on the oh-so-healthy toppings. Toppings that obscure a generous schmear of icing, for those concerned that kids will turn their noses up at any Thanksgiving dessert featuring unadulterated fruit. Find the recipe at Instructables!
Whatever you call it – puppy chow or muddy buddies or something else – pumpkin pie Chex Mix is a tasty Thanksgiving-inspired take on the original. The surprise ingredient? You’ll never guess! Find the recipe at Food Fanatic!
Butterscotch and peanut butter? What’s not to like? Melt it all in the micro for the kid-friendliest experience and, if you want to add a little goodness, swap out the fried noodles for fiber cereal. Find the recipe at Blue Yonder Ranch!
I have fond memories of making chocolate pudding pie for pretty much every holiday as a kid. My mom wasn’t much of a baker or sweets maker, but she could whip up a pudding pie like no one’s business. It’s such a simple, some might say lowbrow treat, but I challenge you to find someone who doesn’t like it. Find the recipe at My Baking Addiction!
This is technically a dessert-side dish hybrid, but I love the idea of jiggly cranberry turkeys so much that I had to include it. This is a great recipe for little kids because they’ll be doing nothing more than using cookie cutters – and what wee one doesn’t love that? Find the recipe at Babble!
Free up stove and oven space by letting older kids make no-bake golden truffles – with just three ingredients, they’re just easy enough for kids to handle but just complicated looking enough to make a splash on the dessert buffet. Find the recipe at Sally’s Baking Addiction!