Thanksgiving Placemats for Preschoolers

Do you have a couple of little ones who typically make meals kind of painful? I remember going out to dinner the first time after having our first child. It was a big deal for us because we were SO poor (my husband and I were both college students) and very rarely went out!

Our baby was probably about six months old, (that’s how rarely we went out!) because she could sit in the high chair the server brought us. I had found a coupon for a mexican restaurant, and we were both very excited.

We hadn’t even had a chance to order yet when our little angel began screaming. I tried holding her, nursing, toys and everything I could think of to distract her. Nope! I stood next to our table and bounced her. Nope! We hightailed it out of there after a few minutes because we didn’t want to ruin everyone else’s meal. 

I quickly learned that leisurely, enjoyable meals were a thing of the past.

Do you longingly remember Thanksgiving dinner prior to the arrival of your little angels? When your biggest worry was saving enough room for pie?

I have something that might help! They won’t help an infant with a finely tuned altimeter. Nor will they help a six-month-old who knows she rules the roost. But if you have toddlers on up, they could come in really handy!

These fun, free, printable Thanksgiving placemats will keep your kiddos entertained, and will also help to contain the mess of the meal. There are three different designs, so your kids can get creative as they each color their own placemat.

The first placemat is geared to toddlers, with a cute, dot-to-dot turkey and a leaf match. It should keep him busy long enough for you to fill your plate. You might have to come up with another plan to buy enough time for you to actually eat, though. 



Thanksgiving Placemats for Preschoolers

Thanksgiving Placemats for Preschoolers

The next placemat is for older kids, probably ages 5-12. It includes a word scramble, tic-tac-toe, a word search, and some hilarious Thanksgiving jokes you’ll enjoy hearing all weekend. Aren’t kids fun?

If you are wondering why older kids need entertainment at the table, you must not have any yet. My 12-yr-old can singlehandedly cause a bigger ruckus than a bus full of toddlers. He’ll use the toddlers to cause it! So, yes! Make sure you have some tricks up your sleeve (or stuffed in your diaper bag) for those older kids if you want to still be sane by the end of Thanksgiving dinner!

Thanksgiving Placemats for Preschoolers

Thanksgiving Placemats for Preschoolers

The final placemat has a fork, spoon and an empty plate for your child to color in her favorite meal. Since it’s just paper, she can go ahead and color a plateful of cookies or candy with no ill effects. You can see that’s exactly what my 5-year-old did.

Thanksgiving Placemats for Preschoolers

I made these placemats with my own kiddos in mind, and I decided to share them in hopes that other weary and bedraggled moms might get some use out of them, too. Your sanity is my life’s mission.

You could also laminate these placemats (so they would be reusable) and let your child use dry erase markers (fine tip ones would work best in this case) on the laminated sheets. (Warning! Dry erase markers are hard to get out of light-colored clothing!)

I made these placemats letter size because I can send them to the wireless printer in my office and make my kids run get them. I’m lazy that way! Dragging my behind, and all of my kids, to the copy store to make larger copies is beyond my capabilities most days.

However, if you have extra energy and time, letter size will scale up perfectly to 2- 12″ x 18″ prints on an 18″ x 24″ engineering print. At Staples, or your local printer, just upload the file and order the black and white engineering print in 18×24″ size. It will cost you about $1.75 per two placemats. 

Now all that is left is for you to print these out and remember to stuff them in your diaper bag so you can actually use them for Thanksgiving!

Ready to let your kids unleash their creativity with these placemats?

Download your free, printable copy of the Thanksgiving placemats here.

Grab your FREE Placemats


Pin so you can find these Thanksgiving placemats later!



I know that these placemats aren’t miracles. They aren’t going to bring back that pre-parenting, carefree bliss. But I hope they can help in some small way to brighten your Thanksgiving just a little.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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  1. Thank you so much! These are perfect. I was just thinking about how I needed to order some off of Amazon, but now I can just print 🙂

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      You’re welcome, Cayla. I hope they help!

  2. I’m printing these!! My mother-in-law always puts out place mats like these for the grandkids at Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      What a smart lady! I always use Thanksgiving placemats for the kiddos, too!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Thanks! I hope they’ll buy you some peace and quiet! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      I hope you enjoy the Thanksgiving placemats!

  3. What an adorable addition to any Thanksgiving with kids, or kids at heart. I hope that some adults also take advantage of these placemats at the table. Thank you so muhc!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Thank you, Denise! I know I’ll be using these Thanksgiving placemats at our Thanksgiving dinner!

  4. Love these place mats! I’ll be saving this later for my kids to use, they will love it!!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Awesome! I hope they’ll let you enjoy your own Thanksgiving dinner in peace! 🙂

  5. Perfect for settling the chaos! I love the plate that they get to create their own colorful meal on!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      My kiddos were excited about that one, too. I think mainly because they wanted to fill it up with candy and cookies!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      All of my kids love to color, too — from my preschooler to my big kids.

  6. This is such a great idea. The placemats are perfect for keeping the kids busy while dinner is being prepared. They look like so much fun!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Thanks, Emily! I hope the Thanksgiving placemats help!

  7. What a cute idea. I know my older niece and nephew would love that second one! Definitely a nice way to keep them busy for a few minutes at least. haha


    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Their parents would appreciate your efforts, I’m sure! 🙂

  8. These are really great. Going to print for thanksgiving day to keep the littles busy while we serve food.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      I hope the Thanksgiving placemats help! 🙂

  9. These are fabulous! I’m going to see these for the kids at thanksgiving this year to keep them busy.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      That’s how I’m using these Thanksgiving Placemats, too! 🙂

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Using them in a classroom is a great idea!

  10. I LOVE THIS!!! You are right that meals can be a struggle and what a fun way to engage the kids! I would love to see Christmas ones as well! 😉

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Thanks, Jessica! I’ll send you some Christmas placemats once I get them made. 🙂

  11. These are so cute! I am pretty sure I am going to print them all out for my kids, they will love them all!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      I hope the Thanksgiving placemats buy you some peace and quiet!

  12. This looks like such a cute idea!! This would make a cute little addition to our thanksgiving table this year.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      I’m glad you like them, Heather! I hope these Thanksgiving placemats will make your dinner a little easier!

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