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5 Thanksgiving Activities for Kids

November 21, 2014

By Amelia Orozco

5 Thanksgiving Activities for Kids | A multi-generational family sits at the table during Thanksgiving dinner.

Holidays can provide abundant opportunities for kids to learn, and Thanksgiving is no different. From the story of its origin to emotional and social activities that will become cherished traditions, even family who don’t live in the United States can learn about the holiday and connect with your children in meaningful ways.

Try these five activities with your children and extended family this Thanksgiving:

  1. Tell Stories
    Share the story of the English settlers and Native Americans’ first Thanksgiving dinner. This story can help even your youngest child remember the true meaning of the holiday. Use words like “exploration,” “feast,” “celebration,” “families,” “neighbors,” and “sharing” when discussing the story.
  2. Give Thanks with Notes
    As the holiday approaches, hide thank you notes for other members of your family to find, and encourage your children to do the same. These notes can say anything from “Thank you for taking out the trash” to “Thank you for being a good listener.”
  3. Draw Pictures
    If your children cannot read or write yet, they can still participate by creating a special picture by tracing leaves and then coloring in the shapes. You can leave them notes with smiley faces. These will remind your children how much you appreciate them.
  4. Donate to Charity
    Thanksgiving is also a wonderful time to donate to charity. Your children can help organize a drive for food, toys, or clothing at their school or playgroup. Inspiring them to take action will make them conscientious citizens who aspire to help others. It’s exciting to see how these activities awaken a desire to ask more questions.
  5. Share the Cooking Process
    Making a list of ingredients, shopping, and preparing a favorite Thanksgiving recipe will give you quality family time and many learning opportunities, from measuring exercises to a test in patience while waiting for the food to cook.

These activities can help your children and family create positive memories that will keep the happy thoughts coming until next year’s celebration.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving activities to do with your children? Tell me in the comments below.

Amelia Orozco is the senior editor and writer at the Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo and a community and entertainment reporter for TeleGuía Chicago. A mother of three, Amelia also maintains an active role in her community and church by working with youth and promoting education and diversity through her writing and volunteer efforts.


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