Blue Eyed Mama's Blog – Family Recipes, Crafts, and Homeschool Ideas

A Fun and Thankful Thanksgiving

a fun and thankful thanksgivingThanksgiving Fun for the Family!

Thanksgiving is sometimes seen as that awkward holiday that most people glaze over to get to the craziness of Christmas, especially by children. Explaining the history of Thanksgiving to a child is a daunting task especially when Thanksgiving means many things to many people.

Some see it simply as a day of thanks and in that regard, there are many days of Thanksgiving celebrated around the world, by many cultures and countries. There are some who see it as related to the first “pilgrims” that came to what is now North America. This view is seen with controversy, as many retellings are not accurate and often mishandle truths about both Native Peoples and early settlers. Many in the United States believe the holiday originated here (I am in the US), but the first settlers celebrated days of Thanksgiving along with days of fasting in Europe, and continued the celebration here.

So, what becomes of Thanksgiving when people disagree about the holiday and so many are pushing for Christmas?

Being thankful is a great way to live and sometimes we all need reminders to pause and reflect. Thanksgiving can be that reminder and it is a great time to show our children how to do the same.

Regardless what your views on Thanksgiving, it can take on a new role for you and your family. It can turn into a day of thanks and family… which of course can be fun! Here are some ways we have had a fun and thankful Thanksgiving with our family…

Thanks and Giving

Pausing and reflecting is important and Thanksgiving is a great time to do this but instead of a day, why not a month? In our home, we all write something down every day that we are grateful for during the month of November. Sometimes we have a list and other times we cut out leaves, but it is a great way to realize our many blessings.

While the holidays, beginning in November, are often seen as the “giving” season, it sometimes feels hectic and obligated. Using November as a time to give to those in need can help us all see what we have to be thankful for.

During November, we collect non-perishable food items for our local food bank. Allowing children to understand that there are people who struggle for basic items, such as food, goes a long way in their understanding of concepts like gratefulness and compassion.

We make cards and pictures for the senior center and find other ways to give while allowing us to spend time together.

Thoughts on giving and gratefulness can be an “in one ear, out the other” idea for children, but once the idea sits in, the comments, appreciation, and compassion from children can be amazing.

Craft Some Family Fun

On the few days leading up to and the day of Thanksgiving, I try to center the focus on fun and family. For small children, turkeys are a good place to start. Getting the family together to do a 30-minute craft can be all you need to build memories.

A few years ago, we made the hats below. My kids liked them and kept them for quite a while after Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving with kids

Send a Message

With Halloween in the rearview mirror, having pumpkins on hand just might be a possibility. Depending on the climate, the pumpkin patches might still be producing and if not, buy a few extras around Halloween (or grow some) and put them in a cool place like the basement or garage until Thanksgiving.

The kids had fun with this and we got several positive comments from passersby.

Most children love emptying the guts from a pumpkin and this gives them another chance. We used “give thanks” but if you have enough pumpkins “Happy Thanksgiving”, “happy fall” or “gobble, gobble” would work too.

Above is what we did one year and have a few since, though not every year, but it is a great way to continue the fun!

Side note- If like us, you have a letter that has a center, like the “A” in “thanks”, in the above picture, use toothpicks to help secure those small or center pumpkin pieces. 

Make A Cherished Memory

When you have little ones, how can you resist their little hand prints? We made some turkeys that we love to look at each season since!

Our Favorite Thanksgiving Book

thanksgiving craftsOur family is big on books and books are a great way to explain, explore, and entertain children. One of my children’s favorites (mine too) is A Plump and Perky Turkey

It’s cute and clever and touches a bit on being grateful, we read it the night before Thanksgiving every year, and my children read it periodically year-round. For more Thanksgiving titles, click here.

Don’t Leave Out Thanksgiving

As the image of Thanksgiving gets more divisive, stop the urge to pass it by or fly through it. Find a few moments to reflect, share a few things you are thankful for, reach out to someone and give, and have some family fun… even if it is just a movie or game night! 

I hope some of these ideas spark some joy… happy Thanksgiving!

BEM and fam 🙂

thanksgiving fun for the familyUPDATE 2022: Don’t think your kids are ever too old to chill in the moment and make memories! We made the above turkey hats 5 years later and the kids had fun! 

We were all sitting around and decided to listen to some music and were chatting when my oldest asked his siblings if they remembered making the “turkey hats”. So we decided to make these… for nostalgia.

I don’t know if we will make them again but I love that we were able to recreate a memory while making a new one! 🙂

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