Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We absolutely love this special time of the year. It’s during this time, that we get to focus and reflect on all the things we are thankful for, in addition to getting a chance to spend quality time with family and friends. Thanksgiving is especially important for children because it gives them an opportunity to learn a little history, as well as demonstrate an understanding of sharing, thankfulness and helping others. For this post, we’ve put together a list of some helpful activities that will not only get your children excited about Thanksgiving but also helps them in reflecting and learning all about the holiday, while still having fun and being creative.
1. Handprint Turkeys (Infant-preschool)
In this first activity, children will make their very own turkey, using their handprints. This activity is easy to do and engaging. You can use this activity as an opportunity to help your children practice their numbers and colors, as well as teaching them about the different types of food that is usually served during Thanksgiving.
Things you will need:
Depending on which medium they want to use, start off by helping your child trace their hand in the middle of the paper. If you are using paint, have the child/ren dip their palm brown paint, while dipping their fingers in either yellow, red or orange paint. You can also have your child/ren paint their hand or paint it for them. Then make a “stamp” of their hand on the page. If they are using colored paper, have them trace their hand on a brown piece of paper, and cut it out. Place the brown hand on a white sheet of paper. Next, have them trace their fingers on different colored paper. Cut out those pieces, which will then be used as the “feathers”. When your turkeys are glued or painted on the white paper, have the children then draw feet, eyes, a beak, and a gizzard. If the children are younger, as they trace their hand, have them count each of their fingers. Have them practice naming each color they use, and if they want to make a pattern with them for the turkey’s feathers.
2. Thankful Turkey (preschool-school age)
For this activity, children reflect on what they’re thankful for while constructing their own construction paper turkey.
Things you will need:
To start this activity, you talk with your child and have them tell you 5 things they are thankful for. You can help them start the list by telling them 5 things you are thankful for. If your child is not yet writing, you can write what they say down for them. After getting a list of 5 things your child is thankful for, you will make a feather or have your child make a feather. If you're making the feather make sure to allow your child to help cut them out or trace the other 4. After you have your 5 feathers, it is time to make the turkey's body, feet, and gobble. You can use brown construction paper for the turkey's body and feet and red for the gobble. You will have your child/ren draw the body, feet, and gobble or cut-out what you've made. Once all the parts of the turkey are completed, it's time to put the turkey together. Have your child/ren use a glue stick or bottle to glue each piece of the turkey onto a piece of construction paper and put their turkey together. After the turkey is all put together, talk with your child/ren about what they are thankful and why you also should share things you are thankful for and why with your child/ren.
3. Turkey Sensory Bottle (infants)
This is a fun activity, that lets your children get super creative while making their own sensory bottle.
Things you will need:
If you're making this for an infant you will have to do most of the work. Toddlers and older children will be able to do more of this activity on their own. The first step is to, draw a gobble and feet on construction paper. Then, you will cut the gobble and feet out and paste them onto the ornament. Next, you will glue feathers to the back of the ornament. Finally, you will open the top of the ornament fill it with glitter, beads, water, paint or any other colorful things you'd like before securing the top.
4. 5 things I’m thankful for (3+)
For this activity, children will make a list of five things that they are thankful for. Depending on the age of the child/ren, you can make this as simple, or as detailed as you like. We suggest having the children make their own drawings to accompany their list. This activity gives the children a chance to demonstrate and build on their ability to write and illustrate their writing.
In addition to our fun thankful activities, we’ve also created a list of some amazing books that help in teaching your children all about Thanksgiving.
1. Thanksgiving counting (First celebrations) by Barbara Barbieri McGrath
2. Five Silly Turkeys by Salina Yoon
3. Thanksgiving is for giving thanks by Margaret Sutherland
4. The first Thanksgiving: A Lift-the-flap book by Kathryn Lynn Davis
5. My first thanksgiving by Tomie dePaola
6. The 12 Days of Thanksgiving by Jenna Lettice