Thanksgiving is a holiday with family traditions and historical routes. Homeschool parents who wish to educate and entertain children can explore both aspects of the Thanksgiving holiday to provide activities and amusement for children. Parents can teach children about the two histories of Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims celebration of a successful harvest and the history of the holiday itself. The holiday has its own origins that while associated with the Pilgrims did not continue in direct connection with that celebration.
The History of Thanksgiving
The Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving story is one that historians continue to match historical data against historical legends. There are many legends about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag and there is historical truth. There are wonderful accurate children’s books available on the topic. Librarians can be very helpful locating quality children’s literature on the topic. A recreation of Plimoth Plantation provides accurate resources to students, teachers, and homeschoolers about the Pilgrims, the Wampanoag, and Thanksgiving. For those who cannot access the site in person, web resources are also available.
Parents and teachers can also discuss the official Thanksgiving holiday that was not in fact established by the Pilgrims, but by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. This is a wonderful time to discuss why it took so long to establish the holiday. It is also a wonderful way to introduce how the holiday has grown and changed as more families have become involved with the holiday. Every culture seems to add special foods and traditions.
Thanksgiving Puzzles and Games
Puzzles and games are a great way to engage children in learning the history and vocabulary associated with Thanksgiving and to provide children and adults with some much needed entertainment. Many sites produce crosswords, word scrambles, and word searches that parents and teachers can download at no cost. Puzzle makers are also available for free that allow people to choose their own topics to use with children.
Trivia games, file folder games, and party games that can be adjusted to Thanksgiving themes are all fun ways to keep children entertained while still educating them about the Thanksgiving theme. A simple way to make a game is to take a traditional board game, provide children with Thanksgiving themed cards, and create an original Thanksgiving game that will entertain and teach children about the holiday. Children and adults can both play Thanksgiving trivia games while cooking or cleaning. Trivia questions are easily obtained looking through books or using Internet resources.
Decorations and Crafts for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to engage children in artistic activities. Decorating for Thanksgiving can give children a feeling of accomplishment and contribution to the families efforts. Many sites provide resources for children to create decorations that can be colored, cut, and used for placemats, name cards, and house decorations. However, many decorations are simple and require no templates. Children’s hands create a wonderful turkey decoration. Given construction paper, glue sticks, and markers, children can create some amazing creations of their own design.
Crafts are also popular for this season. Bookmarks, dolls, dioramas, and other artistic endeavors all become a part of the seasonal offerings. Children can be taught to knit, crochet, and use plastic canvas to create holiday decorations as well. Providing kinesthetic learning opportunities for children is not only fun for them, but provides valuable alternate learning strategies for students.
Thanksgiving is a popular holiday with important historical connections. Children can learn about the holiday in fun and engaging ways. Parents should encourage students to learn about the history and find ways to enjoy demonstrating that knowledge.