Here are eight simple Thanksgiving ideas you can use with your children to help make this Thanksgiving an extra special time. These can be used as part of your school activities or as fun things to do. None of these activities are overly time-consuming, require expensive materials, or involve much prep time.
Make a Gratitude Tree
First, cut out a tree trunk shape out of brown paper. Attach the tree shape to a wall, your refrigerator, a bulletin board, a whiteboard, or even just a large piece of poster board. Then, cut out leaf shapes from different colored papers and have your children, family, or guests write one thing they are thankful for on a paper leaf. Attach the various leaves to your tree trunk to make a tree illustration of your grateful hearts.
Memorize a Thanksgiving Psalm
Memorization is good for our brains. Also, when we have thoroughly memorized something, we can easily recall and meditate on the memorized passage. So, have your kids commit a Thanksgiving psalm to memory. They can recite it for your guests, grandparents, or even at a nursing home service. If your kids don’t think they can memorize something like this, set the words to a simple melody and sing it. They will learn it quickly!
Suggested thankfulness Psalms for memorization:
- Psalm 100
- Psalm 105:1-5
- Psalm 150
- Psalm 95:1-6 (or 1-3)
- Psalm 103:1-5
- Psalm 107:21, 22
- Psalm 89:1-2
Copy and Illustrate a Thanksgiving Verse
Choose one verse about being thankful and have your child copy it in their neatest writing onto special paper. They can then illustrate the paper or decorate their handwriting page. You can post the finished pages in a prominent place in your home to honor their hard work.
Make Special Thanksgiving Placemats for your Dinner Table
You can do this in many ways; I will list two options for you. You can be creative and come up with other ideas as well!
Option 1: Use Fall Leaves
Collect several colorful fall leaves. For each placemat, cut two placemat-sized pieces of wax paper. Sandwich some of your fall leaves between the two pieces of wax paper. Then, carefully iron over the wax paper and leaves to “seal” the wax paper pieces together. Pay special attention to the edges. Finally, cut strips of construction paper or scrapbook paper to fold over and glue (tape, staple) over the edges of the wax paper for a finished look.
Option 2: Weaving Strips of Paper
Weave strips of paper together for a placemat. Use two different colors or patterns of paper for your placemat. Start with a large piece of paper, either 9” x 12” or 12” x 18”. Fold the paper in half lengthwise. Starting an inch from the edge, cut long slits in the paper from the center to an inch from the end. Then, from one or more other colors or patterns of paper, cut 1-inch strips. Show your child how to weave the 1-inch strips through the slits on the other paper. After the strips are all woven in place, you can tape, glue, or staple the slits in place so they don’t fall out. Your children will be happy to have dinner on their unique placemats!
Make Pilgrim Hat Cookies
Don’t panic! This is easy! Use fudge-bottomed cookies, miniature Reese’s cups (unwrapped!), a few Reese’s pieces (or M&M’s would work also), and yellow decorator’s icing. You can see a picture and follow the directions here: https://www.hersheyland.com/recipes/pilgrim-hat-cookies.html.
Read and Memorize Poetry about Thanksgiving or Turkeys
Poetry can be fun. Help your kids realize that by reading or memorizing some Thanksgiving poetry. I have listed some suggestions for you below. Some are more serious, others are historical, and others are fun. Take your pick! Or, find your favorites!
- Thanksgiving Time – Author Unknown
- The New England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day – Lydia Marie Child
- Thanksgiving Day – Thomas Frederick Young
- Thanksgiving Time – Langston Hughes
- Harvest Home – Henry Alford
- Dear Mr. Turkey – Michele Meleen
- Turkey Dreams – Sydney Stephens
- Five Little Turkeys – Unknown
- The Pilgrims Came – Annette Wynne
- First Thanksgiving – Margaret Hillert
- A Turkey Speaks – Anonymous
- Turkey Warning – Anonymous
- First Thanksgiving of All – Nancy Byrd Turner
Create a Thanksgiving Acrostic
This can be an easy week-of-Thanksgiving writing assignment for your kids. Have them write the word THANKSGIVING down the side of their paper, one letter on each line. Then, have them write one or more things they are thankful for on each line that starts with the letter on that line. For example, T–toys, turkey, tuba, tomato. H–house, Harry, history, homework. You get the idea.
Create a Thanksgiving Scrapbook Page
This is a great way to enlist the creative talents of your kids and, at the same time, create a lasting memory of your Thanksgiving celebration. Assign someone to act as the “official Thanksgiving photographer.” Task another child with collecting small paper shapes on which guests listed what they are thankful for. Assign someone to write a list of each one present for your festivities. Then, after the holiday, have your children collaborate to design a festive scrapbook page (or pages) to commemorate your Thanksgiving celebration. They will enjoy looking back at what they created!
I hope you will find something you can use and enjoy from this list of simple Thanksgiving ideas. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your family!
Looking for other holiday suggestions? Check these out!