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7 Ways to Keep the Family Entertained While Preparing a Holiday Meal

Thanks to Microsoft for sponsoring this post. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Although the holidays are the most wonderful time of year, they can also be the most stressful if you are the one in charge of the holiday meal.

A couple of years ago, just before we had our second daughter, we told our family that it was going to be too hectic for us to travel during the holiday season and that they had to travel to us from then on. While I liked the idea of not having to travel during the holidays, it also put a lot of stress on me because I would officially be the one in charge of the holiday meal.

Living in a small apartment, it makes things very difficult to get a lot of cooking done with two little girls running around. Last year, I told my husband to take the girls out to the playground while I cooked, but they couldn’t have possibly stayed for the hours that I needed to get all of our dinner complete. This year I am coming prepared for things for my family to do while I am in the kitchen cooking up our meal. Thankfully with the help of technology, my family is going to have plenty to keep them occupied prior to our big holiday meal.

  • Keep the Family Busy and Having Fun 1 of 8
    PicMonkey Collage

    If you are in charge of the holiday meal this year, make sure your family has this list of activities to keep them busy so you can cook.

  • Make a Scavenger Hunt and Let the Kids Take Photos Using the Camera Phone 2 of 8
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    It's always fun to let the kids get some energy out before a long meal inside. I created a simple Word Document on my Surface and printed it out for my husband and daughters so that they will have something to do on Thanksgiving before we eat dinner. The Camera Grip easily turns my Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone into a camera that even my little girls can operate. It is going to be fun for them to come back to me with photos of the adventures that they had that morning! 

  • Create a Music Playlist to Play During Dinner 3 of 8
    Screenshot-4

    My girls are obsessed with music and love to have it on during dinnertime. I would love to get them involved in creating a holiday playlist of some of their favorite songs to listen to during Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It not only passes the time, but is a great conversation starter at the holiday table when a song they picked out comes on. 

  • Have the Kids Help You Pick Out a Kid-Friendly Recipe They Can Cook With You 4 of 8
    Screenshot-3

    My oldest daughter, Harlan, loves to help me cook in the kitchen. I love that my  Surface has a Bing Food & Drink app already installed that makes it easy to search recipes. Harlan and I had so much fun searching for a fun dessert that we could make for our holiday meal and that she would be able to help me cook in the kitchen. 

  • Play Games 5 of 8
    Screenshot-2

    Whether it's a classic board game or a fun game on the tablet, this is a fun activity for all to pass the time. Harlan, Avery, and I had fun exploring different games in the app store on our Surface and they have already downloaded a few that will provide plenty of fun for that downtime before and after dinner.

  • Watch a Movie 6 of 8
    Screenshot-5

    My husband loves to watch football on Thanksgiving and, unfortunately, we don't have a lot of televisions in our apartment. Thankfully the Surface has a large screen and many movies available for you to rent or purchase. My girls love having a screen of their own and relaxing for a bit watching a favorite flick. 

  • Let Them Help Out 7 of 8
    Screenshot-8

    Any major holiday is tough to carry out by yourself, especially if you have family coming over to eat. Why not get the kids involved in some fun activities that make it easy for them to help? My oldest daughter is always asking what she can do to help, and I love when I can give her things and watch her have fun with them. I found these adorable placecards on Microsoft Word that I can print out right from my  Surface to have my daughter cut for me before the meal.

  • Create a Holiday Video Card to Send to Family 8 of 8
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    My girls are obsessed with taking photos and videos of themselves. So I figured why not put that to good use and have them make a video message to send to all of our family wishing them "Happy Holidays." It's a great personalized way to show family that we couldn't be with during this festive time of year know that we are thinking of them. 

More from Lauren on Babble:

Read more from Lauren at her personal blog, A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

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