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The Ultimate Guide for Parents to Help Their Kids Celebrate Thanksgiving

I’ve been living abroad for over 15 years, and so far I’ve called 8 countries home. I find that one of the many highlights of this experience is learning about new cultures, languages, and celebrations.

When I was little, we celebrated only the main Catholic holidays. Those were Easter & Christmas, then the New Year, of course, & a couple of local festivals like Mardi Gras. Now, however, our repertoire of festivals has expanded significantly to celebrations pretty much every month. From the colorful Holi in India to the Mooncake festival celebrated in Chinese culture, there is always something going on! Thanksgiving is no exception! And as Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I am sharing this guide for parents to help their kids learn about and celebrate this beautiful festive season. 

What is Thanksgiving and Why is it Important?

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is celebrated in the United States and Canada. It is traditionally celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. It was first celebrated in 1621 when settlers and Native Americans shared their harvest after a successful hunt. Back then, the meal consisted of deer, shellfish, corn, and roasted meat. This grand feast went on for three days. 

The Thanksgiving celebration nowadays includes turkey, pumpkin pie, football games, family gatherings, and other sweet traditions. 

The day was originally called “a day of giving thanks” because it marked the end of the harvest season, and people were thankful for their food and crops. The event has been used as a way to give thanks for the many blessings, peace, and good fortune in our lives.

It is also a time to spend with loved ones over a meal. For many families, this means gathering at home and cooking together. Other families may have moved away or be living abroad and celebrate Thanksgiving by sending food packages back home for the holiday feast. 

Parents can help their kids celebrate Thanksgiving by encouraging them to take part in the cooking process as well as other activities that will help them appreciate all they have been given this year.

Tips on How to Make Your House Look Like a Proper Thanksgiving Home

Decorating your home for Thanksgiving is fun and easy! And don’t forget to involve kids in the decorating process! The first thing that you need to do is to choose a color scheme. It can be any color but it should be based on the colors of the traditional Thanksgiving colors – red and green. You can use these colors for the tablecloth, decorations, or even for the food itself. 

The second thing you need to do is to get some pumpkins and turn them into festive decorations. You can either carve them or paint them in different shades of orange and green with black stripes. 

Ask your children to create Thanksgiving decorations for your home and involve them in the pumpkin decoration process. It’s more fun than any show on Netflix Kids!

Here are some tips on how to make it look like a proper Thanksgiving home:

– Decorate your front door with an autumn wreath or some garland.

– Add more pumpkins and corn stalks around the house as well as in the garden/balcony/terrace.

– Hang strings of lights outside, especially near the entrance of your house and porch.

– Place candles inside or near windows so that they can be seen from outside.

– Display fresh flowers in vases or pots inside your living room and kitchen.

How To Teach Your Kids About Thanksgiving this Holiday Season

I believe the most effective way to teach children about any holiday is by involving and educating them in a fun and informal way.

I find reading books for kids about the festival and celebration super effective. Then preparing decorations and decorating the house raises new questions about the holiday and further expands their knowledge. Specifically for Thanksgiving, when we think about all the blessings we are grateful for, I discovered that talking about them at bedtime is super nice.

Actually, it’s a good idea to be grateful all year round but especially before Thanksgiving, talk to your children about what it is they appreciate and share what it is that you are grateful for the most. It’s not just learning about Thanksgiving and developing a positive mindset. Talking about people, things and experiences that we are grateful for is a wonderful bonding activity. 

Check the icons below for some of our favorite books about Thanksgiving!

  1. How to catch a Turkey by Adam Wallace

2. The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh

3. Little Critter: Just a Special Thanksgiving by Mercer Mayer

4. I Am Thankful: A Thanksgiving Book for Kids by Sheri Wall

5. Thankful Thanksgiving Small Children’s Picture Board Book Exploring Gratitude and Thankfulness, Ages 1-4 

Tips on How to Keep Your Kids Entertained During Thanksgiving Dinner

Being bored is not the only problem that kids have to suffer when they are at a family gathering. They may be surrounded by people who they don’t know, and it can be difficult for them to find a way to communicate with others in their age group.

Thanksgiving dinner with kids

So, here are some tips on how to keep your children entertained before, during and/or after the Thanksgiving dinner:

– Play games with them, like charades, where they can act out what they want you to guess.

– Give them a Thanksgiving-themed coloring book and crayons or markers.

– Get out a deck of cards and play “Go Fish” or “War.”

– Let them watch a Thanksgiving movie! Here are some of our favorites: Garfield’s Thanksgiving, An Arthur Thanksgiving, the Care Bear’s Grams Bear’s Thanksgiving surprise, Rugrats: the turkey who came to dinner, a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and more! 

– Get them involved in cooking, setting up the table, folding napkins, and serving food. 

Thanksgiving dinner with kids

– Bake Thanksgiving cookies together.

Thanksgiving dinner with kids

– Have them work on their table manners.

– Set up a game for the kids to play during dinner.

– Encourage children to make crafts or decorations for their family members as gifts.

Read a Thanksgiving story together.

Don’t forget a Thanksgiving dessert!

For dessert, try making a pumpkin pie or an apple pie – both are easy recipes and taste delicious!

Thanksgiving dinner with kids

I am linking to yummy recipes that you may want to try!

The Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe by Sally’s Baking Recipes

The Best Thanksgiving Apple Pie Recipe by Sarah Scoop

It comes as no surprise that Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for many. What’s better than a delicious dinner with a cozy family gathering? Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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