Teaching Thanksgiving: Meaningful Activities to Try with Your Kids

Thanksgiving today is usually celebrated as a big meal with family and friends. But, there’s a rich history behind this special day. Peoples around the world have held feasts of thanksgiving over the centuries, in many cases to celebrate the end of the harvest. Our own Thanksgiving tradition was brought to the Americas by the pilgrims, although many Native American tribes also celebrated their own feast days prior to their arrival. One of the first Thanksgiving meals held in the United States was celebrated after the pilgrims were able to achieve a successful harvest in 1621.

How can you transmit the true meaning of Thanksgiving to your children? Through these meaningful activities, you can help your children appreciate the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving:

Be Thankful

In this simple activity, you’ll take turns thinking of reasons to be thankful with your kids and other family members. Bring in a small tree branch and place it in a large bucket full of rocks or similar base. Then, cut out leaves from red, yellow and orange construction paper. Punch a hole in each leaf. Allow your child to assist as much as possible. Then, invite or help your child to write down a reason they’re thankful on one or more of the leaves.

Give Back

Volunteering and giving to those in need is a great way to learn about sharing, which is an integral part of Thanksgiving. Involve your child in collecting canned goods or making a cash donation to the local foodbank. In addition, you can encourage your child to write a letter to the foodbank along with the donations. In the letter, have your child to ask how they could help more in the community.

Show Gratefulness for Others

Encourage your children to make cards for close family and friends. Use a Thanksgiving theme such as fall leaves, pumpkins and turkeys to decorate the front of the cards. Inside, encourage your child to write one reason why they’re grateful to have that person in their lives. This is a great way to brighten the day of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Bake Together

While children may have a hard time dressing a turkey or making mashed potatoes, making baked goods together is easier. Make a pumpkin pie or cookies together. However, rather than baking together as you might already to on a daily basis, ask your child to imagine how the early colonists would have baked. Would they have had sugar? A gas oven? A blender? A mixer? Encourage your child to list differences between life today and life nearly 400 years ago, when the first colonists were settling.

Finally, reflect on your Thanksgiving activities together. You might ask your child at the end of the day what their favorite part was, or what they were most grateful for during the day.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and enjoy the company of those we love most. Here at Certified Nannies of America, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving, from our family to yours!

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