Their First Thanksgiving

Blond kid boy cooking Thanksgiving dinner

How To Introduce Toddlers and Preschoolers To Thanksgiving

Consider carefully how you introduce your toddlers and preschoolers to Thanksgiving because this may be the first they’ll remember!

It is a wonderful time of year to reflect on what we are grateful for. Enjoy pumpkin pie and to tell stories about how we got here today.

Thanksgiving Work and Play!

It’s a funny thing about play, it always has some objective to it. There’s always an element of achievement. There is a joy in building up and making something. So if you find an active game or if you just want to cook (and get them to help!), read on.

You can inspire your children this season with the following activity ideas.

This activity isn’t specific to Thanksgiving but it’s still great fun. Try reading the book Balloons on Broadway by Melissa Sweet and then give your kids time to brainstorm and come up with their own ideas for a float!

Preparing the Thanksgiving Feast

If you’re freeling particularly adventurous, perhaps your little ones are old enough to help with the actual cooking! However, it doesn’t have to be real cooking on the day. Just taking part in some small way can often mean the world. Pretending is as good as doing for real for little imaginative minds!

Cut a turkey body from brown paper into a kind of pumpkin shape and have your child glue it on. Let your guests write what they’re grateful for on the feathers and then put it in the turkey glass.

Print turkey patterns and turkey feathers, let your children choose their favorites and use a pre-made frame to make frames. Their children write everything they are grateful for on feathers before gluing them to the turkeys. 

Smaller children can make a gratitude turkey out of cardboard tubes and feathers cut from construction paper and stick turkey bodies and wings on them.

You can also use feathers and Indian corn kernels to teach math and literacy concepts. If you have a big Bible lesson on gratitude, choose an additional learning activity that you can use with your children in the Sunday school class of your church.

Thinking & Speaking Gratitude

You can also use this time to discuss some of the ideas and concepts behind this holiday. A warm-up and repetition exercise would be appropriate before Thanksgiving Day itself. Since your kids have probably learned a lot of vocabulary on the subject, it’s good to use images and suggestions for quick warm-up activity.

Talk about the importance of carers and then make a special craft that your students can give to their loved ones. Children often want to give too, but they don’t really know what or how.

Children can practice expressing gratitude by making a list of things they are grateful for, such as food, family, friends, etc., and then write a note expressing why they are grateful. If you want to do a follow-up, you can write a paragraph about all the things you are grateful for.

Thanksgiving Activites

This activity is perfect for creating a map that asks what happened in the last month, for which you are most grateful. Ask older children to write a poem of gratitude in which they show gratitude for something they are thanksful for, such as a baseball bat, chocolate – or a cat!

Have fun with your hands – with the math exercise with turkey feathers your children learn to recognize different addition and pairs of numbers.

A fun and simple way children express their gratitude is with some creativity. Your children can see what gratitude looks like, what it feels like to be grateful and how you can show others what you are grateful for and show them what you are grateful for.

Gratitude is not a question of grand gestures, but of small gestures of kindness, which often mean the most. Giving your children the opportunity to think deeply about what they are grateful for, and to express this in writing, is a great exercise to get your children to open up. Even small children can participate in this activity, so if you want to start young by teaching and practicing gratitude, you should start with your youngest. Reading the words of someone you want to teach children is always a good way to teach a lesson, especially for very young children.

The History of Thanksgiving

Giving your students a comprehensive history lesson would not be appropriate for most levels, but it would be beneficial to give them a brief introduction to the history of the holiday, as well as a little background knowledge of its origins. Give your older kids a little more background with vocabulary such as Indians and pilgrims.

A visit to children’s books by local authors is a good way to explore and learn the history of the holiday for children who are too young to understand it. For children 3 years and older, there are many great rhymes and rhymes, as well as a variety of other books. 

Thank You for Being You!

However you choose to introduce your toddlers and preschoolers to Thanksgiving this year, know that we at Happy Bunnies are thankful for you.

We wish you all the love in the world.




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