Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday, dates back to the first European settlers in North America.
After much hardship, illness and hard work, the Pilgrims were finally able to celebrate a successful harvest which they shared with their Native American friends who had helped them through their difficult beginning in America.
Today this day is set aside to feast and to give thanks-something we can all share, as we too celebrate our cross-cultural friendships.
Some activities to share with the children :
Maple-Nut-Berry Popcorn Balls ( for children ages 3 and older): Add some chopped walnuts and raspberries, blueberries or blackberries. Add enough melted butter to lightly coat popcorn. Stir. Pour maple syrup over the warm popcorn and stir until all the corn, nuts and berries are covered. Shape the sticky corn into balls and place on a plate to refrigerate until the syrup hardens.
Thanksgiving cards and place cards: Fold a piece of paper in half, place a leaf on the inside and close the card. Use a crayon to rub lightly across the front of the card in the area where the leaf is. The shape of the leaf will appear on the outside. Remove the leaf. Write a name on the front for a place card, or a message inside for a Thanksgiving card. Older children might want to make more sophisticated designs using more than one leaf.
Make a chain of paper doll (adults should do the cutting): Fold a piece of paper back and forth over and over again with a width between folds of 2-3 inches. With the paper folded cut out a shape of a person, make sure that the hands and feet touch the fold, but don’t cut through the fold. When you unfold the paper there will be a line of people holding hands. Children ages 3-10 can color the figures to look like Pilgrims(men wore big white collars, belts with buckles, and buckles on their shoes, pants to their knees; women wore white hats and aprons over solid color dresses) or Native Americans (draw feather headdresses and brightly colored geometric patterns on their clothes).
Tree of Thanks: This Thanksgiving tree is bound to become a new holiday tradition.
Trace leaves onto autumn colored craft’s paper and cut out. Punch a hole into the stem of each paper leaf. Measure and cut a 2” length of wire or twine for each leaf. Thread it through the hole and bend the ends to make a hook for hanging. Place the tree branches in a pot or vase. Let the children or/and guests choose a leaf or two and ask them to jot down things that they are thankful for.
Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast by Kate Waters
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Jake Swamp
Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
1,2,3 Thanksgiving by W. Nikola Lisa
Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ by Eileen Spinelli
Gracias, the Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley
The Autumn Equinox: Celebrating the Harvest by Ellen Jackson
Arts & Crafts