What do you get when you put delicious food, family, and gratitude together? Thanksgiving! When kids are little, sometimes they do not understand the joys Thanksgiving can bring. Think about it: there are no presents, candies, or fireworks. To a kid, Thanksgiving can be pretty lame.
Adding fun Thanksgiving activities that are engaging can help kids appreciate this time of year and learn a lesson or two about gratitude. You are also making lasting traditions that they will remember for years to come, and maybe even do with their own kids one day!
A classic Thanksgiving activity is making turkeys out of your child’s cute little hands. Yes, these can get a bit messy, but kids love craft time and you will love these sweet little turkeys, made by your little turkeys.
We know we can’t save every single piece of art they make (honestly, we would have to rent a storage unit for that), but these are definitely worth saving so you can see how much their little hands grow over the years.
There are a couple of ways you can do this activity.
Have them paint their palm and thumb brown for the head and body, and use different colors to paint the fingers or feathers. Once their hand is covered, have them press their hand down on a piece of paper.
When their gobbling print is finished drying, they can use a marker or paint to draw a little hat on its head (thumb), the eyes, beak, and gobbler. Lastly, add lines to the fingers to make them look like feathers!
If you are looking for an option that is not so messy, this may be for you. Help your little one trace around their hand on a few different pieces of construction paper. Think fall colors (yellow, red, and orange) and have them cut out their handprints.
Meanwhile, on a brown piece of paper, draw out a simplified version of a turkey body. You are kind of going for a figure eight, with the top being a little smaller. Have them cut this out too.
Once all of the pieces are cut out, have your child glue them together. The hands should be in the back as feathers and spread out a little, with the body on top. Use a little piece of orange paper for the triangle nose and a red piece for the gobbler. Googly eyes are perfect for this little turkey!
Painting Pinecone Place Cards
With the weather being so nice, don’t forget to go outside and enjoy everything fall has to offer! On your next walk, bring a bag or a basket for your kids to collect pine cones. You can even make it a fun game to see who can collect the most.
Once you get home, set the kids up to decorate them. For these, the sky’s the limit! They can paint them, glue on pompoms, add glitter (unless glitter is banned in your house, totally respectable decision), or add feathers to make it look like a turkey.
For this project, they don’t all have to look the same. This is also a great craft to set up for the kids to do on their own. This gives you time to get all of the Thanksgiving dinner details finished while the kids are occupied. Once their masterpieces dry, you can write up little name tags and prop them up in between the little flaps of the pinecones, and use them as place cards for the table.
Do you know who they are learning from the most though? They learn by watching the grownups around them! We get it, it feels like a big weight on our shoulders to know we are the north star of generosity for our kids. Nevertheless, there are plenty of simple ways to show them how to be generous.
Depending on the ages of the kids in your home, you can create learning moments of generosity. One way is to go shopping for non-perishable goods and bring them to a food bank. If your kids are a little older, you can bring them to help in a soup kitchen during the holiday season. Another way to teach generosity is by making cookies or a sweet treat and giving them to your neighbors.
Teaching kids that Thanksgiving is about more than just good food, pie, and football starts early! A fun way to help them list the things they are grateful for (or love) is to make a gratitude turkey.
For this fun activity, you want the body of the turkey to be pretty big. Use a whole piece of brown construction paper to cut out a turkey body. Again, using a figure eight as a reference is a good place to start, with the top being slightly smaller. Give the turkey a face, using more construction paper; orange beak, red gobbler, white, and black for eyes.
Next, cut out feathers from different colored construction paper. You can stick to red, orange, and yellow, but you can also have a rainbow turkey. No worries either way, because whatever you all decide to make is perfect! Now, on each feather, have the kids write what they are grateful for. If they are too little, you can write for them or have them draw a picture on the feather.
You can make this an ongoing activity by asking them each day to write down something they are grateful for. By the time Thanksgiving comes around, your turkey will have a nice full tail!
Gratitude is another concept that is difficult for kids. A great way to start introducing this concept is by talking about things they love, like their pet, toys, grandma, the little squirrel outside that is fun to watch, whatever they come up with.
Things we love are also things that we are grateful for. Teaching kids at a young age to make a gratitude list can help them as they grow into older kids, and one day leave the nest as an adult. These lists can help remind you about all the good things in your life, especially if you are having a bad day or lose focus of what is important.
Fun In The Kitchen
What is the holiday season without all of the delicious treats? If you are in the kitchen making treats for Thanksgiving, ask your kids to help! But, word to the wise, if you are feeling low on patience, do not ask them to be in the kitchen. Let’s just say flour, kids, and zero patience do not mix well. Scheduling time for fun in the kitchen, with a kid-appropriate recipe, might be a better option.
Easy recipes for kids are things like decorating cookies or letting them help roll out the dough for pies. If your kids are a little older, they can help with measuring out ingredients and mixing them together.
Our Soft Pumpkin Cookie recipe, (available on the Caribu app, (and ingredients here)) is a perfect option to get your kids in the kitchen with you. Kids will be so proud when their delicious cookies are finished and they can share them with the family.
Read Fall-Themed Books With Family
Let’s be real, there is a lot to do as adults to get ready for Thanksgiving. While we love spending time with our little ones, sometimes it can be overwhelming. That’s where Caribu comes in. Schedule a video-call with grandparents or other family members. Your kids can choose a fall-themed book to read together!
They’ll love getting in the spirit for Thanksgiving, and you’ll love having a few extra minutes to yourself to put the finishing touches on everything.
Fun activities are a fantastic way to help make Thanksgiving fun for kids and help teach kids what Thanksgiving is all about. Making projects like hand turkeys and pinecone place cards can help bring out their creativity.
Teaching them difficult concepts like gratitude and generosity can be done through donating food and having conversations about what everyone is grateful for around the gratitude turkey. Letting them help you in the kitchen can boost their confidence. Don’t forget to have activities they can do on their own, too.
At Caribu, we love bringing families together, even if they are miles away. Don’t forget to set up a video-call with Grandma! With our Soft Pumpkin Cookie recipe, you can pull up the recipe, and both make them at the same time. Just make sure not to spoil your appetite, because there’s plenty more food where that came from!