Q: Thanksgiving is a holiday that doesn’t seem to get its due. I want my children to understand the meaning of the holiday, as it is an important part of American history. What kinds of activities can I do with my children that will teach them more about this important day?
A: I agree that Thanksgiving doesn’t get the same attention as other holidays. Yet it is an important part of American history that should not be relegated to a big meal! Here are a few ideas. Print up a paper that says, “I am thankful for…” and everyday in November have your kids fill in the blank. Then, read a few of their answers on Thanksgiving. Print up an Indian sign language charts and use them to write a story. Cook a few original colony foods (you can look these up on the Internet) and talk about the first feast. My children couldn’t believe eel and squirrel were on the menu of the settlers. Try your hand at several colonial crafts like weaving and pottery making with homemade clay. Get an archery board and shoot arrows. Build a campfire and try to cook something over it. Activities like these will make the holiday come alive and give an appreciation of what times were like during colonial days. Finally find quotes about the holiday like this one from Abraham Lincoln, “But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, by the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own…” and talk about what Lincoln meant and how we can remember to give God the glory for all we have.