1. Doodle-friendly surface: Cover the table with kraft paper and fringe the edges with scissors. With a marker, create outlines of fall motifs, like leaves (use backyard leaves as a guide), that the kids can color in. Provide lots of fresh crayons.
2. Time-consuming activity: Invite kids to create turkey place cards that can be used year after year. Print out the template here.
3. Predinner snack: Edible napkin rings provide entertainment (bracelet, anyone?) and sustenance before turkey time. Cut Pillsbury pizza dough into 1-inch pieces. Roll into 12-inch-long, ½-inch-thick ropes, then form into 4-inch rings. Bake at 400° F for 15 minutes.
4. Cool older kid: The pièce de résistance. A teenager at the kids' table makes children feel special rather than shunned. You may have to pay handsomely for this service, however. Offer an enterprising older niece or nephew $20, and be open to negotiation.