Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity for children (as well as adults) to think about all they have to be thankful for. It seems that most of us get so caught up with our busy lives that we have little time to consider everything we really have. Now is a great time to show our appreciation.
Children can benefit from recognizing the many advantages they have in their lives. Simply writing a list of the things they are grateful for can be a wonderful exercise. It will help them to really think more deeply about themselves and the world around them.
I remember a tradition I had as a child to write a " Thankful List ". The first few items on the list were the obvious things including home and family. These are the most important and most wonderful things we have to be thankful for, and we should spend time considering how we can show our appreciation to those people we love most. As the list became longer, it became more difficult to pinpoint more and more "blessings." But, it was at this point that I would start to realize how many things I really would miss if they weren't around - simple things like the fragrance of the roses in the summertime. What a great experience it is to stop and think about how much we have to be grateful for.
You or your kids can try your hand at this. Simply start making a list and see how fast it becomes a very long list. You may like to print off our Thanksgiving - Thankful List - to make your list a bit more festive.
Another great activity (not just for children), now that you are thinking about everything you are thankful for, is writing Thank You cards. Not only is this a wonderful opportunity to express gratitude, but it is also a fantastic way to encourage children to think through the process of putting their thoughts into words and their words onto paper. We have a Thanksgiving Thank You card, a couple of different styles of Thank You cards, a Thanksgiving greeting card, and a "Thinking of You" card for those occasions when you want to tell someone how much you care about them for no real reason at all.
For a whole month of Thanksgiving activities, check out our November reading calendar. You can find a reading calendar for each month on our Reading Calendar webpage.
A Thanksgiving dinner would never be the same if we could truly predict when it will be ready. For adults, this doesn't usually present a problem. This just gives them more time to watch football or enjoy each other's company. For children, however, waiting for dinner to be ready is tedious and annoying. Take advantage of this time to practice their reading skills with our free printable Thanksgiving placemats. (These can also be printed on both sides of the paper to make a fun activity booklet. Just print them off and fold them in half.)
These placemats contain several holiday activities, including a word search, a crossword puzzle, coloring pages, a maze, and other reading activities. Below you will find some activity pages as well as some puzzles. (We have a puzzle you can color yourself -- we colored the edges orange so that you can more easily see the lines of the picture.):
One more way to inspire your children to read during the Thanksgiving season is to let them read and follow recipes with you. The great advantage to this type of activity is that it encourages them to read for content. In other words, they not only read the words, but also need to comprehend what they are reading in order to carry out the directions. We have included a few holiday recipes for you to try with your children. (These recipes require cooking or baking. Younger children often love to help by measuring ingredients or stirring them together, but be sure that you supervise them throughout the process.)
We have the following Thanksgiving recipes for the holiday season:
If you would like to print these recipes on card stock for a 3x5 index cards, click here. In order to view the placemats, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have Acrobat Reader, you can download it FREE from the Adobe website: http://get.adobe.com/reader/