My last post had suggestions for teaching your kids about the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Here are a few activities I did with my kids every year to help them celebrate Thanksgiving in a way they could relate to:
My kids LOVED to dress up and act out the first Thanksgiving. We eventually bought Pilgrim and Indian costumes and the kids got hours of use from them. (My grandkids are still using them now). Kids retain information so much better when they can act it out and role play.
Does your family know the true story of how Thanksgiving came about? I have been so surprised by the lack of books that tell the story of Thanksgiving. Ultimately, our celebrations should be about offering thanks to God from whom ALL blessings flow, but also about this American tradition of setting aside a day to focus on offering thanks.
I had a mom recently thank me for the little reading book, The First Thanksgiving that we sell on our website. She said growing up in the public school setting she had always learned that Thanksgiving was about the Pilgrims thanking the Indians for helping them through the hard winter. She said it was really eye opening to learn that they were really setting aside a day to offer gratefulness to God.
Here is a fun activity to do with small children to celebrate fall! (tastes good, too!) I made these today with 2 of my grandchildren, and they had a blast making them. It’s even easy enough for even toddlers to help with!
Here’s a festive cookie recipe that kids will love to decorate!
1 c. shortening
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 unbeaten eggs
1/2 chopped walnuts (optional)
1 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
3 c. rolled oats
Candy corn (optional)
Combine shortening, sugars, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and eggs. Beat thoroughly. Stir in walnuts. Sift together flour and soda. Add to shortening mixture and blend. Stir in oats. Place dough by tablespoonfuls on greased cookie sheets, leaving a little space between them. Press with a fork. Press candy corn into the cookies (we sometimes do it in the shape of a smiley face). Bake in 350 oven for 12-14 minutes. Cool about 2 minutes before removing them from the sheet.
YIELD 5 1/2 dozen
For lollipop cookies, prepare dough as directed above. Just before baking, insert a lollipop stick, paper drinking straw, or wooden skewer into each mound of dough with sticks parallel to the cookie sheet to make it look like a lollipop. Decorate with facial features using candy corn, m&m’s, gumdrops, raisins etc. Bake as directed
Here’s a fun and festive idea for this Thanksgiving season!
1 cup vanilla frosting
7 drops yellow food coloring
32 miniature peanut butter cups
1 package fudge-striped cookies
32 pieces orange mini-Chiclets gum or orange M&M’s
In a small bowl combine frosting and food coloring. Remove paper liners from peanut butter cups. Holding the bottom of a peanut butter cup, dip top of cup in yellow frosting. Position over center hole of a cookie, forming the hat band and crown. Add a buckle of gum or M&M. Repeat with remaining cups and cookies.
1. In a small bowl , combine frosting and food coloring. Remove paper liners from peanut butter cups.
2. Holding the bottom of a peanut butter cup, dip top of cup in yellow frosting. Position over center hole of a cookie, forming the hatband and crown. Add a buckle of gum or M&M. Repeat with remaining cups and cookies.
Here are 2 more links to cute Thanksgiving Cookies that you may like:
This year I am looking for more ways to incorporate the true meaning of each holiday into our family celebrations. It’s always a challenge when you have lots of little people to plan a celebration they can understand and engage in. I have looked high and low for a nice book that tells the true story of the first Thanksgiving. So many leave God totally out of the reason for Thanksgiving instead of giving Him his rightful place as the center of what we do. Thanksgiving, A Time to Remember is great for use throughout the month of November. It includes an abbreviated narrative for very young children. We have found, though, on the actual Thanksgiving day we need to keep it simple as we have 33 family members present at our celebration, 11 of those being 8 years and under! So, this year, Rick has written an “Uncle Rick Tells the Story of the First Thanksgiving”(FREE DOWNLOAD) to read during our family celebration. We would love to share that with you for use with your family. Hope you enjoy it. (We plan to make it into a nicely illustrated book for families within the next year.)
Another way we hope to direct our thinking toward thankfulness to God this Thanksgiving, is by making place cards (decorated with stickers) for each person present at our table . Instead of the person’s name, we will write a Scripture verse that deals with thankfulness, highlighting things for which the Scriptures tell us to acknowledge our thankfulness to God and others. At the completion of our meal, we’ll go around the table in order, having each person read the verse in front of them. We will then ask some simple questions to help everyone focus on the meaning and application of the Scriptures. Here are the verses I plan to use.(FREE DOWNLOAD) Hopefully you may find it useful as you plan your celebration, too.
We’ve redesigned our Thanksgiving Time Capsule this year. It’s a record of goals set and goals accomplished, and reflections on notable things that happened since the last Thanksgiving. After our Thanksgiving meal, we pass around the sheets that we have filled out in years past. Each person reads their own to see if they met their goals and be reminded of how God has blessed their life. Then, everyone takes some time to fill out the new time capsule form. We store everyone’s form in an old popcorn container in the attic until next year. Older siblings or parents can help the little ones fill out one, too. It’s neat to see how your young ones will answer questions like “What is a lesson God has taught you this year”. Please feel free to use it with your family or use it as a springboard to personalize one for your family’s needs.
Our family wishes you a blessed day of gratefulness to our Lord and Savior!