Holidays can become very busy and chaotic with never ending “to-do” lists. Sometimes little ones can become bored and impatient when it comes to prepping for guests, grocery shopping, and cooking. I have provided some easy activities you can do with your kids at home to help ease boredom and create excitement for Thanksgiving day.
When I was a kid I remember being so excited to spend Thanksgiving break at my grandparents’ house. My cousins and I would spend time creating homemade decorations for Thanksgiving dinner, making up dances, and helping prepare in the kitchen. If you have family visiting these are all great activities to help get everyone involved in the celebration!
1.) Pumpkin Patch Painting: All you need for this activity is orange and green paint, white paper, Q-tips, and cotton balls. I’m certain the ever so popular pumpkin will make an appearance in your Thanksgiving feast, so talking about how a pumpkin grows is great to discuss with children. You can visit a pumpkin patch or read a book about pumpkins and then invite children to create a pumpkin patch painting. The Q-tip can be dipped in green paint to make vines and the cotton ball is dipped in orange paint to create pumpkins. Allow the child to make his or her painting however way they wish to encourage creativity. I wrote “My Pumpkin Patch” at the top of the painting to promote literacy development. This activity is packed with learning including, science concepts, vocabulary, fine motor practice, and literacy and language development.
2. Homemade Thanksgiving Placemats: A great concept to discuss with children during Thanksgiving is thankfulness. You can introduce the word thankful and what it means to be thankful for the people who bring love, happiness, and fun into our life. Invite children to create their own Thanksgiving dinner placemats. Materials needed include markers or crayons, fall stickers, and construction paper.
This activity can be modified for every age group. Toddlers can draw and decorate their placemats. Preschoolers can decorate and also dictate what they are thankful for. When children see adults writing their dictation it helps them understand that letters and words carry meaning. School age children can be encouraged to write what they are thankful for on their decorated placemat.
3. Homemade Place Setting Cards: Children love to be involved in meal preparation. To make these place setting cards all you need is markers, construction paper, photos of family members, scissors, and glue sticks. Provide your child with photographs and allow them to cut out familiar family members who will be present at Thanksgiving dinner. To make the cards simply fold construction paper in half two times. You can have a conversation with children about why they are thankful for each family member. This can be written on the card by you for younger children or written independently by school age children. Place them around your table to make loved ones feel extra special!
4. Nature Walk: If you live in a colder climate November is a great time to talk about seasons. Take children on a walk to get some fresh Autumn air and collect items such as leaves, pinecones, acorns, and sticks. Have a discussion about how leaves and pinecones fall from trees as the temperature changes. You can also look for animals such as squirrels, rabbits, and birds and talk about how some animals hibernate or migrate during winter. Consider reading books about Fall and animal hibernation. Children can bring their nature items home and create a collage by gluing their items on cardboard or poster board.
5. Finally, for school age children you can practice word recognition with this word matching printable free from education.com. Get into the holiday spirit with this matching image worksheet. You can find ways to warm those brain muscles with these fun reading games at Education.com!
I hope these activities help your children celebrate Thanksgiving in a fun, meaningful, and educational way! Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving with your family!