Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thanksgiving ~ Teaching our Kids Why We Celebrate

A couple of days ago, I was suprised  irritated to see a Yahoo headline that read, "Thanksgiving is no longer a Christian holiday, but a secular one...." Oh, really? Who decided this? Every American is thankful for something, and so now there is really no substantial reason to recognize the fact that the holiday is rooted in the celebration of religious liberty? Well, I'm pretty sure that every American loves presents too, so why don't we just dissolve the whole "Jesus is the reason for the season" idea and chalk Christmas up as being secular too? (Oh wait, we're already doing that.  Another rant for another time...)  

I don't know about you, but I not only want my kids to celebrate our nation's traditions, but I want them to KNOW and to UNDERSTAND the meaning behind the holidays that we honor and the purpose for which they serve. A couple of years ago, I came across an audio version of an historical account of the Pilgrim's courageous journey to a America and the first Thanksgiving meal that they celebrated in honor of their new found religious freedom .  The story is very well presented, and is a wonderful listening experience for the whole family.
You can order the cd and accompanying story book here:

In our classroom this year, I have decided to use spend a little bit of time each day the week prior to Thanksgiving listening to a segment of the story while the kids color or work on activity pages that I have assembled for each of them in their own little book using a clear sheet cover with plastic binding (you can find these at office supply stores, Wal-Mart and Target).  Here is the simple cover page that I created for their booklets:

If you would like to create a Thanksgiving activity book for your own kids and would like to use our cover page, you can view a Printable Version Here. (Thank you for Pinning!)
After listening to the cd, I went online to USA Printables and found several coloring pages that matched up with the story's timeline.  Just print the pages you prefer and place them in timeline order in the booklet. Then, to enhance the lessons, I decided to add several additional activity sheets for the older students. Here are just a few of the activities that I was able to print from ABC Teach:
Crossword Puzzles
Venn Diagrams
Themed Essay Paper
Word Searches
Memory Games
Word Scrambles
(There are so many more!)

In addition to our booklets this year, we will be viewing a You Tube clip from the Plimoth Plantation website on the early Pilgrim settlements. (Note: "Plimoth" is spelled correctly.  We often see it spelled "Plymoth," but not in the case of this historical venue. I'm trying to avoid a slew of comments kindly informing me of my spelling errors, can you tell??)
Here's the link to their website: 
Virtual Field Trip at Plimoth Plantation.

After a little browsing on Pinterest, I found a few ideas that I think will help make this Thanksgiving an even more memorable one for our kids:
Indian teepee cupcakes from These Are a Few of My Favorite Things. Aren't they cute?? 

 These Pilgrim Hats from Woman's Day are fun and easy (strong emphasis on easy).
I love the idea of creating a Thanksgiving Tree from Simply Vintage Girl .  A simple, yet lovely way to display your family's notes of gratitude.
Don't you just love all of the free printables being created by so many fabulous bloggers out there?  I'm going to frame this Free Printable from Craftily Ever After and add it to my buffet decor.

How will you be spending Thanksgiving this year? Do you have any special family traditions that you enjoy? Please share!


  1. Wow, Susan! I was just adding this to my list of things for next week so thanks for doing all my work for me! You're awesome!

  2. Thank you Susan! I can use these links to make a Wednesday night lesson for my church kids :)

  3. Cute ideas! We went to Plimoth P. this summer . . . it was GREAT!

  4. Thanks! Will be using some of these ideas!

  5. Visiting from the Mixer! Such great ideas that you came up with. Love your booklet, I am going to do that for my girls! This is what I do for my neighbors/teachers for Thanksgiving:

  6. What wonderful ideas the share the idea of Thanksgiving with our kids, thank you so much for sharing!

    Thank you so much for co-hosting this week, not a new follower but glad to see you again! Following and commenting from I hope you'll do the same! Be sure to enter my giveaway for for a free Gold Canyon candle :)

  7. Thanks for the resources to help my kids be more thankful this Thanksgiving - they'll have fun with these too! :)

  8. Just stopping over via the Momma party hop - though I am not a momma, just take photos of them :) I loved your post and agree that Thanksgiving should still be a christian holiday focused on gratitude! Thanfulness is a gift - we can't forget about :)

  9. These are wonderful ideas :)

    I just found your lovely blog through the Let Them Eat Cake linkup - excited to read more! Following you now via GFC!


  10. So many good ideas to really make Thanksgiving even more special than it already is. I love the little teepees! and the thankyou tree. Thanks for linking up with The More Than Mommies mixer this week!

  11. This is so great!! I am sharing this with everyone I know!! Thanks for doing this, I have been really wanting to do something like this and just haven't taken the time to investigate! So thank you!!!


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