Thanksgiving Books and Activities: Kids Giving Thanks
Thanksgiving is Way More than Food and Football!
Tradition is a way of life for my family. And this includes Thanksgiving. A dozen or more adults and a half-dozen or more under twelve-year-old kids usually gather for a traditional meal. Reading-a-loud is a big part of our tradition celebrations, so I am always searching for new Thanksgiving-themed books. But this year, I also searched for kids' Thanksgiving-themed games and activities that could include the youngest to the oldest. Now while I'm busy supervising games, the other adults can be busy in the kitchen putting finishing touches on our feast!
Remembering to Be Thankful is The Most Important Thing
Here’s a Thanksgiving prayer for kids, not too long, not too short.
Thank You For...
Thank You for delicious yummies
To fill our hungry, grateful tummies.
For other things we’re thinking of
And for Your everlasting love,
For all the blessings that You bring,
Thank you God, for everything.
By Joanna Fuchs
Free Computer Games from National Geographic - Some Adult Supervision Required
Calling up these interactive games is a snap because someone in the holiday crowd usually brings a laptop computer with Wi-Fi capability. Arrange the kids on a sofa and floor with oldest or most computer-savvy child in charge of operating the games.
- Quiz Your Noodle: Thanksgiving
Do you have your Thanksgiving facts straight? Ten questions help find out how much you known.
- Quiz Your Noodle: Let's Talk Turkey
How much do you know about turkeys and their wild cousins? Ten questions help you find out how much you know about this All-American bird.
- Kids' Puzzler: Gourds
Choose from among four different gourd pictures. Than decide if you want to make a slideshow or a puzzle. There are several sizes and configurations so the task is not really simple. Lots of decision-making involved and a timer to keep track of th
- Kids' Puzzler: Fall Leaves
Choose from among four different Autumn pictures. Than decide if you want to make a slideshow or a puzzle. There are several sizes and configurations so the task is not really simple. Lots of decision-making involved and a timer to keep track of t
- Funny Fill-In: Picture Perfect Turkey Day
Fill in word descriptions for 15 categories such as 'relative's name' or 'bird name.' No wrong or correct answer. You'll just end up reading a description of a Thanksgiving feast which could be yours. Once the kids get the swing of these fill-ins
- Funny Fill-In: Turkey Story
A Thanksgiving for the birds! Fill in words for each of 15 categories describing turkeys and their environments, and then read how you spent your Thanksgiving Day. Do these fill-ins more than once; see who has the silliest.
Mayflower: The Pilgrims' Adventure (Recommended by the National Education Association - NEA)
Historical and Some Not-so-accurate Views of Thanksgiving
How does a single day evolve from historical harvest gatherings into a modern holiday celebration? Artists' images contributed to the development of Thanksgiving as our much-loved November holiday. Use the depictions scattered throughout this Hub with older children as discussion starters about the roots of this holiday, or copy these public domain images for children to laminate or place between clear contact paper to use as placemats.
"The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth" (1914) - A Romantic View
The First Thanksgiving in 1621 - 20th Century (1916) Painting
A Romanticized Painting of the First Thanksgiving
This is a romanticized and not historically inaccurate painting. The clothing worn by the Pilgrims is incorrect, the Wampanoag did not wear feathered war bonnets, nor would they have been sitting on the ground.
Sketch of Thanksgiving in the Union Army camp of General Louis Blenker - US Civil War on Thursday November 28th 1861
28 November 1861 - Thanksgiving During the War Between the States
Sketch by Alfred R. (Alfred Rudolph) Waud,1828-1891, artist.
Alfred Waud was an illustrator or "special artist" (a full time paid staff artist) for the "New York Illustrated News" assigned to cover the Army of the Potomac, Virginia's main Union army. His was a profession used during that time to illustrate newspaper accounts of the War because photography was not practical.
Thanksgiving Grace - November, 1942 - A Realistic 20th Century Vision of Thanksgiving
A 20th Century Vision of Thanksgiving
Photograph: Saying grace before carving the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner in the home of Earle Landis in Neffsville, Pennsylvania
Four Easy-to-Read Picture Books
Thanksgiving & Harvest Books for Little Ones - Ages Three to Five (or a bit younger or older)
A great stack of books to read and interact with the youngest kids. These are the perfect beginning for understanding one of America's oldest and most traditional holidays.
Pardoning the Turkey Discussion Starter - An American Thanksgiving Tradition
How does it feel to be a Thanksgiving turkey?
Start a discussion among the kids about:
- what it might feel like to be the official American Turkey?
- what kinds of foods could we use, other than turkey, for celebration?
- where is the closest turkey farm?
- why is it that turkey is traditionally served for American Thanksgiving?
An Historic View of Thanksgiving: National Geographic Children's Books
Thanksgiving and Harvest Books for Elementary-age Kids - Grades 3 - 5 (9 to 12-years-old)
Try to give kids a realistic view of the history of Thanksgiving celebrations in North America by choosing books that have solid foundations. Books written by writers from history centers like the National Geographic, Plymoth Plantation or Colonial Williamsburg are usually factual with not too many frills. And most are rooted in the Old England carried over into the New England version of the Thanksgiving holiday.
A Suitable Thanksgiving Wish!
Thanksgiving Books for Older Kids - Grades 6 and up (12 and older)
These books are more realistic and less historical based than those for younger readers. The real-life aspects are sure to capture the imagination of this age reader. Here is one just chuck-full of Thanksgiving information suited for the older reader.
Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower. Excellent DVD for older children and adults. DVD Obtainable Through Local Libraries.
Historic Reconstruction of the Pilgrims' First Village
Tells the story of meeting and adaptation for both the English and Native distinct cultures. Open to the Public for a fee.
Plimoth Plantation: Virtual Field Trip
Take Time to Tell Your Own Family Stories
"Every family has a story that it tells itself, that it passes on to the children and grandchildren. The story grows over the years, mutates, some parts are sharpened, others dropped, and there is often debate about what really happened. But even with these different sides of the same story, there is still agreement that this is the family story. And in the absence of other narratives, it becomes the flagpole that the family hangs its identity from." A.M. HOMES, O Magazine, Apr. 2007
Helping your Family to Tell Stories by Three Internationally-known Canadian Storytellers
A Old-fashioned Thanksgiving: An alternate view of Thanksgiving
No one feels like reading, doing computer games or playing cards? Maybe it's time for to watch some DVDs that tell of alternative ways of celebrating Thanksgiving. The DVD featured here is a 90-minute presentation by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment that brings three generations together under trying circumstances. However, the "thanksgiving" might just be in the reconciliation among the three.