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Thanksgiving Books and Activities: Kids Giving Thanks

Updated on November 8, 2014

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.

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

Typical 19th Century View of the First Thanksgiving at Plymoth. Thanksgiving in North America originates from a mix of European and Native traditions. This painting helps to distort the happenings of 1621.
Typical 19th Century View of the First Thanksgiving at Plymoth. Thanksgiving in North America originates from a mix of European and Native traditions. This painting helps to distort the happenings of 1621. | Source

The First Thanksgiving in 1621 - 20th Century (1916) Painting

Artist: Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (1863-1930) - American
Artist: Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (1863-1930) - American | Source

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.

Read more: LET'S TALK TURKEY: 10 myths about the Thanksgiving holiday


Sketch of Thanksgiving in the Union Army camp of General Louis Blenker - US Civil War on Thursday November 28th 1861

Sketch of Thanksgiving in the camp of General Louis Blenker by Alfred R. Waud
Sketch of Thanksgiving in the camp of General Louis Blenker by Alfred R. Waud | Source

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

Source

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


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

President Barack Obama Officially Pardons The Thanksgiving Turkey, called COURAGE, in 2009. Presented by the National Turkey Federation, this is a tradition in which American Presidents participate. Start a discussion among the kids about turkeys.
President Barack Obama Officially Pardons The Thanksgiving Turkey, called COURAGE, in 2009. Presented by the National Turkey Federation, this is a tradition in which American Presidents participate. Start a discussion among the kids about turkeys. | Source

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!

Source

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

A markerPlimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts -
Plimoth Plantation, 137 Warren Avenue, Plymouth, MA 02360, USA
get directions

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

Quiet Time

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.

Styles of Thanksgivngs

Does your family celebrate a U.S. style of Thanksgiving

See results

Why do you or do you not celebrate Thanksgiving? What are some ways you like to spend the holiday?

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    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image
      Author

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 3 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      Bobbi, Thanks a million for stopping by and being willing to share this Thanksgiving Hub with others. I really love Thanksgiving!

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image
      Author

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 3 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      Tina, Hi and thanks for your gracious words about my Thanksgiving Hub. It was a fun one to write...all I had to do was think of Thanksgiving with my kids (now grown) and grandkids :-) Come back often.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 3 years ago from Florida

      This hub would be a guideline for me on Thanksgiving if I had grandchildren, but I will share this with my sister who does.

      Your pictures, video and research made this a delight to read, and I thank you for sharing.

      Have a great Thanksgiving with your love ones.

      Bobbi Purvis

      I will share it with my Twitter followers.

    • profile image

      Tina Truelove 3 years ago

      What a rich and informative article! You have provided us with a wealth of information, resources, and ideas for appropriately celebrating this special holiday. I am most certainly sharing and pinning this one for my own reference and because I know so many people will find it useful.

      Thank you so much and I look forward to reading more from you.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image
      Author

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 5 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      @anonymous: Thanks so much for your comment! I couldn't agree with you more. Most churches we've belonged to in the past have had an early Thanksgiving morning service, and this is the way DH and I have usually started the day. Often we also try to attend the community ecumenical service the weekend before Thanksgiving.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I remember that Thanksgiving prayer from childhood, its been around a long time and I love that it reminds us to be thankful to God for everything. Thanksgiving is a day we can pause with loved one to just be grateful....and is much more than parades, football and food and you have reminded us of that very beautifully here, thank you!

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image
      Author

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 5 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      @anonymous: Thanks so much for your comment...my family - and those friends that join us - at Christmas stand in a large circle - babes in arms - and after breaking Polish oplatek begin to go around the circle and say what each is thankful for. So we do this thankfulness ritual formally 2X / year.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am not native to the US, but have been here almost 11 years. I still don't find it natural to celebrate Thanksgiving, but I love the tradition of it for those born here. It really is a very important date for this country and well worth celebrating. I just wish it were not so close to Christmas! Oh, and I don't like Turkey so it is also a challenge food-wise, but the opportunity to sit around the table right before eating and tell everyone what you are especially thankful for this year is a tradition that I absolutely adore!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Thanksgiving was always an important occasion when my grandparents were alive. Now we enjoy cooking tons of comfort food and hosting people who don't have family nearby. It's always good to be grateful and give thanks.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image
      Author

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 5 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      @JuserTM: Hi and Good Afternoon! Thanks so much for your comments. I am thankful for them :+)

    • JuserTM profile image

      JuserTM 5 years ago

      Excellent lens, fantastic job! Thumbs up

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      masunyoananda 5 years ago

      Great lens dear. I'm still trying to make improvement in my lenses. Thanks a lot for this wonderful sharing.

    • perrybenard profile image

      perrybenard 6 years ago

      great lens it is always a good time to be thankful, and its good to remember that everything we hold dear should be shared with our children.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      What a wonderful page . . I am Canadian and our Thanksgiving has come and gone now. But I do have so many wonderful American friends. May your Thanksgiving be filled with love.

      Sincerely,

      Rose

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