10 Fun Thanksgiving Traditions (Thanksgiving Week)

There you all are, the morning of Thanksgiving. You watch the Macy's Day Parade. Once it is over, THEN WHAT?? Rather than sitting around staring at each other, here are a few ideas of some traditions you can begin with your family this year!

  1. Special Breakfast
I LOVE Breakfast! It is my most favorite meal. I never put any time into it, though. Most mornings I eat and serve cereal or bagels because it is easy and nutritious. Once in a while, like for special occasions, I like to do breakfast up right!
The way I see it, breakfast needs to last on Thanksgiving! Most people really only eat 2 meals that day, breakfast and dinner. So I like to make something really tasty and that will stick with you for a while. There are many different ways you can go with this, so have fun with it!
You could do a bagel bar and include several different toppings ranging from sweet to savory. You could make pancakes and sausage, muffins, eggs, a casserole or whatever else your family might enjoy.

    2.  Community Service

There is nothing better, on this day of giving thanks, than to help your fellow man. Sign your family up to volunteer at a food pantry or homeless shelter for part of the day. Serve food to those less fortunate. Or you could have everyone in the house collect a few things that they no longer need and drive it out to a battered women's shelter. Your children will never forget the feeling of making someone else's day!

     3.  Place Markers Craft

You can do this from the time your kids are little all the way through school and beyond! If you make one each year, then you can pull them all out later on and see the progression! It is really fun. It gets everyone involved in the dinner, too. Since the young kids can't help cook too much, this way they can say they contributed! If you search the term "place markers" on Pinterest, you will get more ideas than you will know what to do with! They can be as intricate or simple as the kids can handle. If you are busy in the kitchen, recruit your mom to help the kids with the craft. Grandmas will love that!

     4.  Scrapbook or Chain

These are crafts you can start now and add on to for years to come! For the scrapbook, get a notebook or spiral and decorate it. Each Thanksgiving, have everyone write down the things they are thankful for this year. Make sure you date each section! After many years of doing this, it is really amazing to go back and look at how things have changed for everyone. This is a great keepsake!
The chain is the same basic idea. Make rectangle scraps of paper in Thanksgiving colors available each year. Record your thankful-ness on the paper. Link the papers together to make a chain. You should hang this up by the dinner table. Each year, hang it up and provide more paper for that year's thanks. As the chain grows, it will be a wonderful reminder of the years past and how much we really have to be thankful for.

     5. Gratitude Quilt

If someone in your family is a sewer, this one might work for you! It has the same basic idea as the scrapbook or chain, but you will record your thanks for that year on a scrap of fabric. Sew them together each year and watch your love and family grow! You can use this a throw for the couch or you could even hang it up in the dining room each season!

    6.  Thankful Skit

If your family has a drama kid in it, you can have a lot of fun with this! Have the kids write a skit talking about everything they are thankful for and perform it for the family before dinner. These are the things memories are made from...

     7.  Games

If your family is competitive, you might all enjoy a good game while you wait for dinner! Whatever would be the most fun for your family is perfect! Play football, Clue, Scene It, Go Fish, or whatever! Games are an awesome way to spend some time as a family.

     8.  Thanksgiving Story

If you have a favorite story from your childhood, it would be fun to read it to the room on this day. Especially if it is a story about beign thankful for the good in your life. Apples For The Teacher (website) has quite a few great stories that are printable and are great for kids. Sometimes we can use a little inspirational push to help us feel the important feelings of this Holiday.

     9.  Family Photo

What better way to remember the great holiday spent with your family than to photograph it? Taking a family photo each year is great for looking back at past holidays spent together! Watching everyone grow, including the size of the family, is great fun. Just make sure you have a tripod and a timer so everyone can be in the shot!

    10.  Wishbone!

This one can't include more than 2 people and is usually not ready until a day or 2 after dinner, but it is still a fabulous tradition! Make sure you pull yours out and allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before you make your wishes! In order to decide who gets the honors, you could play a simple guessing game or even hide a special sticker under 2 chairs and whoever sits there gets the wishbone! Make it fun...

I hope that helps giving you ideas! Make sure you remember the reason for this holiday and enjoy the time with your family as much as possible!

Happy Thanksgiving ~

Have a Thank-FULL Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a great time of year. Friends and family come together from across the country (and even the world) to share the holiday. We get a chance to think about all the things we are thankful for in our lives. And we get to eat some great food! Enjoy the fun Thanksgiving lessons!


 Thanksgiving is a special holiday when we can all take time to be thankful for the people we love and what we have. The first Thanksgiving was when the Pilgrims first came to this country. In 1621, these people and some Native American Indians became friends and were thankful for their harvest. They decided to have a party and enjoy the great food they harvested. They served deer, corn, cranberries and other roasted meat. They also had pumpkins! The people played games, sang songs and danced. Now we Americans continue to celebrate and remember what we are thankful for. We eat Turkey, ham, cranberries, yams, and many other yummy treats. What kinds of things does your family do on Thanksgiving?

ACTIVITY * Cut out a large selection of magazine pictures depicting the kinds of things the kids could be thankful for. Place the pictures in the center of the table and give the kids a piece of paper and a glue stick. Allow the kids to pick a few of the things they are thankful for and glue their items to their paper. Once they have their Thankful Pictures done, discuss what they chose as a class.

ACTIVITY* Listen to a turkey gobbling!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uifiqanNoM



Fall Feast Taste Testing & Charting

This should be fun! I chose things that could be easily purchased to make it easy. Print the chart HERE.

You Will Need:
Cranberry Sauce
Canned Yams
Pumpkin Pie
Plastic forks & spoons

You could do this all at once or you could do 1 taste test per day. Allow the kids to taste test the foods. Make sure to check for allergies first! They should decide whether they liked the food or not. If they do, circle the smiley face on the chart. If they don't, circle the frowny face. Once the chart is complete, chart the whole classes' results to review as a class. Discuss the differences and similarities.


Thanksgiving Lesson

From Ministrytochildren.com

Memory Verse: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”  Psalm 107:1 (NIV)


Turkey Feather Math Mats

Print out the math mats HERE.  The idea is to have the kids make turkey feathers for the turkeys out of playdough. Each turkey has a number on his tummy and that is the number of feathers the kids should put on him. 

It is best to laminate these mats or you can put them inside sheet protectors.

Thanksgiving Symbol Patterning

Print out the worksheets HERE.  There are a few rows of Thanksgiving symbols in differing patterns. At the end of each row of symbols there is a choice of 2 symbols that could be next. The kids should circle the symbol that they think should be next.

Math is really the science of patterns. Identifying patterns is a great first step in understanding math!


Fine - Coloring
Coloring is a perfect fine motor skill activity. It promotes control and grip. Click on the link below and choose a Thanksgiving themed picture to color.

Gross - Turkey Run Game

You Will Need:
Individual pictures of Thanksgiving feast items
Large space

Choose the items for the Thanksgiving feast. Print pictures of each individual item. Place 1 of each item on the poster board at the "finish line". This will be where the kids end the run and make sure they have collected all the components by matching their pictures to the ones on the poster board. Place 1 of each item on the wall in various places around the room. You will need a stack of the same picture placed below where the picture is hung for the kids to collect as they run around the room. The idea is for the kids to complete the Thanksgiving feast by locating and collecting all of the feast components and then be the first to the finish line where the full feast is waiting. (By the way, they should be gobbling and wobbling the whole time they are looking for the pictures!) They will then check that they have all components. The first one back with all the feast wins!


Letter U 
The next letter for us to study is the letter U. U for Up, Umbrella, Umpire, and Under.

Print the worksheet HERE: http://www.kidzone.ws/prek_wrksht/learning-letters/u2.htm  Talk about the letter and the sound it makes in the words on the sheet. Practice writing the U.

Reading Short U

Review the ug lesson on Starfall.com  http://www.starfall.com/n/level-a/learn-to-read/load.htm?f

Review the short U sound on Readingbear.org  http://www.readingbear.org/Presentation.aspx?PresentationID=6

Read this Thanksgiving Rebus story with your class!


Art - Thanksgiving Wreaths

Materials Needed:
Paper plates
Fall leaves, sticks, pine needles, etc (collect on a nature walk!)
Glitter, sequins, craft poms, etc

Cut the middles out of the paper plates to make a circle. Have the kids glue whatever items to the wreath that they think looks pretty. The result will be a room full of beautiful Thanksgiving wreaths!

Craft - Turkey Hand Print & Poem

Materials Needed:
Brown, orange, yellow tempura paints
Paint rollers or brushes
The Poem below...

Pre-print the below poem on the paper. You will want to make sure there is room for the kid's hand print so it does not cover up the poem. Paint each child's hand brown for the palm, then every other finger paint orange and yellow. Have the child firmly press their painted hand onto the paper. Make sure you guide their hand to the spot you planned! Once dry, Draw an eye, a beak, a waddle, and a pilgrim hat on the thumb or head! Draw little feet coming out the bottom. These turkeys are a super cute gift for their parents!

POEM - This isn't just a turkey, as you can plainly see.
I made it with my hand, which is a part of me.
It comes with lots of love, especially to say...
I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving Day!


Sure, Thanksgiving is about pilgrims and history--and turkey, of course!--but most importantly, it's a holiday all about everything that we are thankful for. Cheerful, colorful illustrations accompany the simple text in this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday that brings them all together.

The incomparable Dav Pilkey adapts Clement Moore's classic Christmas poem to tell his wacky Thanksgiving tale. The day before Thanksgiving, eight boys and girls take a field trip to a turkey farm. They have fun playing with eight exuberant turkeys but are shocked to learn that Farmer Mack Nuggett plans to kill all the turkeys for Thanksgiving dinners. So the children decide to smuggle all the turkeys home, and all their Thanksgiving dinners become vegetarian this year. The turkeys' lives are saved!

5 Little Turkeys
(from DLTK's site)

5 little turkeys standing at the door,
1 waddled off and then there were 4

4 little turkeys standing near a tree,
1 waddled off and then there were 3

3 little turkeys with nothing to do, 
1 waddled off and then there were 2

2 little turkeys in the morning sun,
1 waddled off and then there was 1

1 little turkey better run away,
For soon it will be Thanksgiving Day!


Sugar Cone Cornucopias

A cornucopia is a cone-shaped basket that is usually shown stuffed full of bountiful harvest foods. They are a symbol of Thanksgiving and the harvest. 

Sugar cones
Mini pretzels
Circle shaped cereal
Dried fruits
Seeds or peanuts
Baby Goldfish crackers

Each item in our cornucopia represents something important. The Sugar Cone represents the cornucopia. The pretzels symbolize arms folded in thanks and praying. The circle cereal symbolizes the circle of unity. The dried fruits represent the fruits available at the first Thanksgiving. The seeds represent planting the new crops. The Goldfish symbolize the fish that the first Thanksgiving participants ate. 
Place each item in a large bowl and mix. Scoop a portion out and fill each sugar cone. You can place them into a plastic bag and attach a note that explains what each item represents.
I have made some you can print HERE!


The world of inventions and inventors is vast! The lessons to be learned from inventors is that you can do it, as long as you never give up! This is a great topic for little minds. Keep it simple and teach the basic ideas of creativity, effort and persistence and even preschoolers can take away some very important life lessons.


An invention is something that did not exist, then a person made it up in their head and then worked hard to make it work for real. Many of the everyday items we use all the time were invented many years ago. It takes a lot of creativity and hard work to make inventions. Some of the things we use that were invented many years ago are the telephone, car, camera, computer, and even toilet paper!
Print the mini book from teachervision.com. The book is all about the invention of the light bulb and is very interesting!  http://www.teachervision.fen.com/tv/printables/TCR/0743932587_54-61.pdf


Galatians 6:9  "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

A great lesson! Never give up trying your best to help others. Since we are talking a lot about being persistent this week,  be persistent in doing good for your neighbors. Have the kids draw get well cards for people in the cancer ward at your local hospital. Collect some toys that they could give to Good Will. Help an elderly woman in the neighborhood clean up her yard. Think of something you and your kids could do to to help someone! And don't give up...


Lego Inventions
LEGO bricks were invented in 1934 by Ole Kirk Christiansen. He was a master carpenter and had a business where he made and sold ladders, ironing boards and wooden toys. While he was busy making other toys, he had an idea how he could make a toy where kids could build things using bricks that could snap together. After trying a few different ideas, he hade his first Legos! He had an idea, tried and tried to make it work, and then created an amazing new toy.

Get out your Legos and have the kiddos try to invent something by making it out of Legos. This is a simple activity that allows for creativity, persistence, and success!


Same and Different

Print the worksheet HERE.  The idea is to look at the inventions from long ago and the picture of their modern version and decide if they look the same or different. They will ALL look somewhat different, but a few old inventions have barely changed since their inceptions!

Duplo Math Mats

I figure since we already have the Legos (or Duplos) out, we should probably use them again! Print the math mats and allow the kids to match the patterns.


Fine - Playdough Inventions

Playdough is a great fine motor activity. It is also awesome for promoting creativity! You can make anything with it, so how about we create something. See if they can think of something useful to make. Anything will be great, though, so let them go crazy!

Gross - Box Robots

To get the kids up and very interactive, have them all come together to create a robot out of large moving-type boxes! Give them some packing tape (or you can be the designated taper) and be as creative as they can. Give them whatever materials you think they could use.


The Letter O - for Octopus!

Print the worksheet. Discuss the letter O for Octopus and have the kids trace the letter.

http://www.starfall.com/n/level-a/learn-to-read/play.htm?f  Review the ot and og lessons. Also read the story "Mox's Shop" together and review the short O sounds in the story.

http://www.readingbear.org/Presentation.aspx?PresentationID=5  Review the short O lesson.

The books about inventions are recommended for kids a bit older than pre-school, but I know that kids will be more interested than you think!

 What would you do if you lived in a community without a library, hospital, post office, or fire department? If you were Benjamin Franklin, you’d set up these organizations yourself. Franklin also designed the lightning rod, suggested the idea of daylight saving time, invented bifocals and the odometer—all inspired by his common sense and intelligence.


 Erlbach uses the success of 15-year-old Chester Greenwood, who invented earmuffs in 1873, as the takeoff point for introducing more than a dozen contemporary children who have created their own inventions.


Art - Create Anything!

Set out all kinds of materials and have the kids make whatever they like. You can try to make it an invention theme, if the kids understand the concept.

Give them: pompoms, popsicle sticks, toilet and paper towel rolls, ribbons, small boxes, feathers, pipe cleaners, pieces of felt, buttons, beads, plastic water bottles, etc, etc, etc. As with everything, please use caution about what you give them!

Craft - O for Octopus!

Materials Needed:
Paper plates
Blue construction paper
Googley eyes

Cut the center out of each paper plate to form the letter O. Allow the kids to color their O. Give them 8 pieces of the streamers that you pre-cut or that they cut themselves. They will glue the streamers along the bottom of the back side (the side they didn't color) for the legs. Glue the whole thing to the piece of paper and then attach the eyes. Voila! Easy Octopus craft.



I actually found a kid's song about inventions! Take a listen...


Octopus Hot Dogs!

Hot dogs, cut into 1 inch pieces
Spaghetti noodles, uncooked
Condiments - as needed

These are fun! Give the kids a few pieces of hot dog and a bunch of spaghetti noodles. Have them carefully stick the spaghetti noodles through the hot dog pieces. Once done, boil them all together for about 8-10 minutes. When they are done, the noodles will be like octopus legs and the hot dogs will be their bodies! Allow the kids to dip them in whatever once they have cooled down.