Thanksgiving, is that awkward holiday that most people glaze over to get to the craziness of Christmas and often is missed, especially by children. Explaining the history of Thanksgiving to a child is a daunting task, of course there is the coming together of the pilgrims and Indians, however, the story takes a very non g-rated turn after that event, not to mention that being grateful for blessings doesn’t always come naturally to a child. There are ways to savor the holiday for what it is and make Thanksgiving fun for the little ones too!
In our home, the week or 2 prior to Thanksgiving, we collect non-perishable food items for our local food bank. Allowing children to understand that there are people that struggle for the basic items, such as food, goes a long way. We talk periodically about the things we are happy about and the things we take for granted. We make cards and pictures for the senior center, among other things, we mainly just take time to reflect. This can be an “in one ear, out the other” idea for children, but once the idea sits in, the comments, appreciation and compassion from children, can be amazing.
On the few days leading up to and the day of Thanksgiving, I try to center the focus on fun and family. For small children, turkeys are a good place to start. Getting the family together to do a 30 minute craft can be all you need to build memories.
A few years ago, we made the hats below (and above), scroll over the pictures for directions, though they are fairly self-explanatory. My kids liked these and kept them for quite awhile after Thanksgiving.
With Halloween in the rear view mirror, having pumpkins on hand just might be a possibility. Depending on climate, the pumpkin patches might still be producing. We have a few gardens between the members of our family and are able to store a few extra in the garage for Thanksgiving pumpkin carving.
Most children love emptying the guts from a pumpkin and this gives them another chance. We used “give thanks” but if you have enough pumpkins “happy thanksgiving”, “happy fall” or “gobble, gobble” would work too. If like us, you have a letter that has a center, like the “A” in “thanks”, in the above picture, use toothpicks to help secure those small or center pumpkin pieces. The kids had fun with this and we got several positive comments from passers by.
Of course, when you have little ones, how can you resist their little hand prints! Over a couple of years we did some hand print projects on canvas, one using the whole family.
We also did a smaller canvas of each child and you’ll notice the “happy happy thanksgiving” which is what you get instead of “happy thanks giving”, when 2 children beg to have “happy” on their work!
Our family is big on books and books are a great way to explain, explore and entertain children. One of my children’s favorites (mine too) is A Plump and Perky Turkey. It’s cute and clever and touches a bit on being grateful, we read it the night before Thanksgiving every year and my children read it periodically year round. For more Thanksgiving titles, click here.
Of course these are just a few ways to share Thanksgiving with your little ones and to view a few fall themed treats suited for little hands, click here.
I hope you enjoyed these ideas and have fun doing them.
Bet + fam 🙂