Does this sound familiar?
Child 1: “Can I help?”
Child 2: “Oh! I want to help!”
Child 3: “Oh! Me, too! Me, too!”
Annnnd All Together, Now: “ME! ME! ME! ME!”
As we mentioned in our holiday safety tips blog, holiday cooking, preparations and decorating are the top fire and injury hazards during the holidays. So it’s essential to keep children away from your main cooking and prepping areas.
But how can you keep children — yours and/or your guests’ — busy and out of the way on Thanksgiving Day? You can start by teaching them to give thanks for creations, both old and new, that allow them to enjoy an array of kid-friendly Thanksgiving activities, like:
Be Thankful for Crafts!
From the evolution of the pencil (debuting in America around 1848*) and the crayon (hitting the U.S. market in 1903 as Crayola, or “oily chalk”*), to the inventions of glue, construction paper and chenille stems (a.k.a. pipe cleaners, which were a replacement for animal feathers … maybe even turkey feathers), kids (and parents) can rejoice about these life-changing tools that provide endless craft possibilities, such as:
- Hand-Made Turkeys — A hand’s reflection on paper can look a lot like a turkey! Have the kids trace a hand onto paper, using a pencil or crayon. Then have them decorate their drawn fingers to resemble feathers, and their thumb to resemble a turkey’s head. Finally, ask the kids to tape their decorated turkeys to a specified wall or window for everyone to see.
- Color Stuff-ing — Most kids, and even adults, love to color. So have some Thanksgiving-themed coloring pages available for the little hands in the house. You can find many free downloadable coloring pages.
Be Thankful for Fellowship!
Thanksgiving, as advocated by our Godmother of Thanksgiving <link to Thanksgiving Traditions blog>, is meant to bring together family, friends and strangers alike to reflect on their lives and share blessings. Get the kids involved in creating decorations and/or gifts that can make your guests feel special.
- Thankful Tree — There are several ways that the kids can grow your Thankful Tree, including displaying a live small tree, or a decorate tree sculpture, with construction-paper leaves hanging from the branches. Or, The kids can create a giant tree out of construction paper and tape it to a wall or door. Then, they can cut out individual leaves and place them in a decorative bowl. Have the kids write the name of each guest on individual leaves and adhere them to the tree. This shows your guests (the kids’ guests) that you’re thankful for their fellowship. The kids can then instruct each guest to write their own gratitude on a leaf and hang it on the tree.
- Place Settings — Let the kids decorate the place settings at your Thanksgiving table with handcrafted place cards, homemade gifts and/or artfully-folded linen napkins. Some place card ideas include, collecting real leaves from the backyard and placing one with a guest’s name written on it at each place setting, placing an original child-drawn Thanksgiving photo at each guest’s seat, and displaying homemade turkey sculptures, made out of cups, construction paper and pompoms, on each guest’s plate. The kids can also have a great time fancifully folding linen napkins.
Be Thankful for the Outdoors … or Indoors
The oldest creations of time, whatever creation theory you subscribe to, are the outdoors and indoors. It’s truly all you need to keep the kids out of your way. But just incase they claim boredom, suggest a game of TURKEY (a.k.a. HORSE) basketball in the driveway, hunting for “turkey feathers” that you secretly scattered around the backyard, collecting as many different colored leaves that they can, searching for the biggest leaf in the yard, raking the leaves into the largest pile ever that they’ll eventually get to jump in, etc. If inclement weather keeps the kiddos indoors, scatter feathers inside for hunting, pull out the “old” game boards, give them a deck of cards, bring out the jacks, introduce them to pick-up sticks, etc.
Be Thankful for the Arts
Are your kids natural performers? If so, they’ll love these unique Thanksgiving-themed transcripts from Scholastic.com. Encourage the kids to create and perform, or not perform, a mini theatre play. The older kids can help the younger kids learn their lines. And with crafts on hand, outfitting the cast should be fairly easy and something the kids can accomplish independently. Another out-of-this world artful resource is this list of Thanksgiving songs and poems that the kids can dive into, learn AND teach the adults!
Be Thankful for Technology
While you might spend most days redirecting kids away from screen time, Thanksgiving Day could be a day you give thanks for the Internet and let the kids soak up as much as they can. The great news is that there is a lot of educational screen time to be enjoyed on Thanksgiving Day. Scholastic.com takes kids on virtual field trips with several 20- to 30-minute Thanksgiving videos. History.com has a variety of shorter Thanksgiving videos, including one about the Mayflower set to music.
Another fun activity using today’s technology is to start the day by interviewing the kids about what they think Thanksgiving is about. You may end up with a cute Thanksgiving video like this. Then interview them again after an eventful Thanksgiving Day full of Pilgrim- and Native American-inspired activities. It might make for a fun tradition to watch the videos together each year. P.S. If you do interview the kids about Thanksgiving, share a link to the video with PrimeLending. We would love to see what they have to say!
PrimeLending is certainly thankful for today’s technology, as that is how we found and delivered to you many of these Thanksgiving activity ideas. We are also grateful for the many types of mortgage loans that allow future and current homeowners across this great nation to fulfill their American dream.
*Source: National Geographic’s An Uncommon History of Common Things, Copyright © 2009