Last year as the holiday season was approaching I felt strongly that I wanted to do a Christ-centered advent activity calendar for my then 2 year old. As I was collecting ideas…in October…don’t judge I was sick and had a lot of time to scroll Pinterest…I realized, why not do the same for Thanksgiving.
Fun fact- Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday. It’s like the underdog of the Holiday season, and I feel like it needs way more attention than it gets. When trying to shop for Thanksgiving related items towards then end of October there’s like 5 double sided aisles dedicated to Halloween, there’s already several dedicated to Christmas, but Thanksgiving gets this tiny little display that takes up part of one side of an aisle.
I mean what gives! We go from dressing up and asking for candy straight to asking for gifts and forget to be grateful in between.
So in an attempt to give Thanksgiving it’s due attention, and to help teach my son about gratitude, “circles” were created.
Pinterest has tons of ideas for super cute and creative ways to make advent calendars. As mentioned in previous posts, I like to follow the KISS method- Keep it Simple Stephanie (or stupid, or smarty, whatever is appropriate for the given day). I went to the dollar store and bought muffin tins, so $4 total right there. Then I cut circles out of construction paper and put a slip of paper and a piece of candy in each of the sections and use double sided tape to attach the colored circles over the tins. It’s pretty simple, keeps me organized, and my son LOVES the candy…and the activities, but the candy definitely helps keep the motivation.
For my list of ideas I scrolled through Pinterest for inspiration but couldn’t find any specific posts that fit us exactly so a lot of things I came up with on my own. I’m not super crafty and I hate messes so I don’t pick a lot of the craft ideas, when I talk about coloring pictures for people, I happened upon a pack of cute Thanksgiving coloring pages last year at Goodwill, so sorry, no link for those, but if you are reading this blog then chances are you may have been introduced to this thing called the internet which contains Google and Pinterest, between the two of those you can pretty much find anything your little heart could desire. Now if you are one of those crafty sorts of people and you don’t mind chasing feathers around your house, then you could definitely incorporate some pretty cute crafts into these ideas to give away to people.
Another thing to keep in mind with this list is that my kids are currently 3 and 1 so this is very much targeted towards that age group, mostly the 3 year old. I also try to incorporate activities we already do but find a way to make them focused on the holiday. So when you see things on the list like, going to church or tee ball, and you think, “wait, that’s cheating!” Not cheating- simple, smart, resourceful.
- Heavenly Father led the Pilgrims to America so they could go to church how and where they wanted. Make a Pilgrim Hat.
- Pilgrims came on a boat called the Mayflower. Float boats in water (I have a little bin I use for water play on the back porch, or you could do this in the bathtub or sink).
- We show gratitude by serving. We will be visiting an older lady from church who recently had surgery.
- We are grateful for our bodies. Go to tee ball with Daddy.
- We are grateful for Grandparents. Color pictures for Grandparents.
- We are grateful for nature. Go for a walk, pick up trash if we see any.
- Family Home Evening- begin Thankful tree (we will add to this each week for FHE). I bought a Thankful Tree from Target, but there are also a lot of cute ideas on Pinterest for making your own.
- We are grateful for Nursery. Color a picture for Nursery leaders.
- We are grateful for books. Go to story time at the library.
- We are grateful for animals. Go to the zoo.
- We are grateful for the temple. Visit the temple grounds.
- We show gratitude to Heavenly Father by going to church.
- We are grateful for cousins. Color pictures and mail to cousins.
- Continue Thankful Tree.
- We show gratitude for our food by sharing. Donate food (either to a food drive or make a meal for someone who is sick or a refugee)
- We are grateful for friends. Make a treat for a friend.
- We are grateful for our minds and imagination. Go to the Children’s Museum.
- We are grateful for Preschool. Color a picture for teacher.
- Learn Thanksgiving songs and hymns.
- We are grateful for our food. Color a picture for the grocery store cashier.
- Continue Thankful tree.
- We show gratitude for toys by cleaning them up and sharing. Clean up and clear out play room (also helps get ready for Christmas gifts coming in and toys to donate to toy drives).
- Thanksgiving feast!
- Talk about first Thanksgiving, watch video, and visit Indian Ruins.
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope this list helps you get some ideas going on how to teach your children about gratitude and give Thanksgiving the hype and attention in deserves!
I’ll post my Christmas ideas as well as we get a little closer.