Here we go for another round of Thanksgiving prep! Confession time- I’m not like a real adult, I have never made the Thanksgiving feast. I take charge of one dish and one dish only. Candied yams. No one else really likes them, but they are my FAVORITE! It was my Grandma’s thing and this year that’s extra special because this will be our first Thanksgiving without her. Looking back, I think I’ve spent far more Thanksgivings in my life WITH her than without. Between losing my Grandma earlier this year and some other trials we’ve faced this year I’m holding on to Thanksgiving and focusing on blessings to help give me a pick me up to get me through.
- Day of the Dead- I love learning about different cultures and teaching my kids about how other people celebrate. I think it’s really important to help them understand and respect diversity. Watch Coco! Here’s some free and simple masks to color and cut out! Then take some time to talk about your ancestors and why we are grateful for them. Tell stories, maybe make some foods that they liked (I’ll hold off on the candied yams until it’s actually Thanksgiving, but might have to make some Root Beer floats in honor of my other Grandma- and yes I did say with her Southern Utah accent!)
- Find a pumpkin patch/ corn maze or farmer’s market. In Arizona I really like Tolmachoff Farms for the North Phoenix area, and Schnepf Farms for the opposite side of the Valley. Talk about where our food comes from and how grateful we are to farmers who grow food for us. Have fun and buy some farm fresh items!
- We are grateful for the Pilgrims who came to America for Religious Freedom. Attend church.
- Teach more about the pilgrims. Make some pilgrim hats and either make a Mayflower boat or just sail a toy boat around in the bath tub, sink, or water table. Perk for living in AZ- it’s still warm enough to use an outdoor water table in November (downside- we had to get through summer to get to this point!)
- We are thankful for the sunshine! Get outside and get some sun. We’ll be going to play at the park!
- We are thankful for animals- zoo trip
- We are thankful for our home- do some extra chores to show respect to your home
- Hand Turkeys
- We are thankful for our potential to change and grow- We’ve got tickets to Butterfly Wonderland, so we’ll be heading there, but you could also just talk about and read books about butterflies and talk about how we can make changes and grow into spectacular things
- We are thankful for Jesus Christ- discuss the Sacrament or Communion before, during, and after church
- We are thankful for veterans- Color pictures/ write notes for Operation Gratitude
- Beautiful World action poem
- We are grateful for Daddy’s job- visit daddy at work for lunch
- We are thankful for our food- share with others by donating to a food drive or provide a meal through Gathering Humanity
- We are thankful for the temple- walk around the temple
- We are thankful for cousins- color pictures to mail
- We are thankful for friends- make a treat to take to a friend
- We are thankful for our access to food- color pictures for the cashier
- We are thankful for school- color pictures for teachers
- We are thankful for our minds and our imagination- Children’s museum
- We can show our gratitude for the earth by picking up trash- go for a walk and find some trash to pick up
- We are thankful for those who keep us safe- drop off treats to the police or firefighters (or both!)
- We are thankful for Primary/Nursery- color pictures for teachers
- Thankful tree
- We are thankful for our bodies- go for a walk
- We are thankful for Grandparents- color pictures for them
- We are grateful for our toys- clean them up and choose a few to donate to a charity (get things cleared out and ready for Christmas!)
- Thanksgiving feast! Try to let the kids help make something
- Visit Native American ruins- explain how the Native Americans assisted the Pilgrims
Image by Biljana Jovanovic from Pixabay
In case you’ve missed my other holiday posts, you should know that I like to find ways to make holidays really meaningful for my kids. I plan several activities leading up to most holidays to get us prepared and understand the real meaning of the holiday.
I’m only doing a week’s worth for the 4th of July (I typically do more) but it’s so early in the month, and….it snuck up on me like whoa.
Stay tuned- I’ve got another round of Family Home Evening coming up and Pioneer day activities as well! But here’s for this week:
- Brave men and women have fought for our freedom. Write letters/ color pictures for Operation Gratitude. They have some very specific requirements so make sure you review those before you get started. One of the big ones is NOOOO GLITTER (it works out that I have the same rule at my house.) I have my kids color and then I write a short note on the back of the picture.
- Discuss the Pledge of Allegiance- set up a little flag and practice putting their hands over their hearts. I liked the explanation and clip art version from this site.
- Have a “birthday party” for America (it helps that my son’s birthday is the 3rd of July :). Talk about the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
- Sing the Star Spangled Banner and explain that we watch fireworks to remember “the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air.” Watch some fireworks!
- God gave us a beautiful nation to live in- get out and SEE something cool. Try to get to a National or State Park, or just out somewhere in nature (safety first though especially in AZ!!). We’ll be heading to the Petrified Forest with our National Park Pass!
- Statue of Liberty- you could make a crown and torch or keep it super simple by just coloring a picture. Then read the poem found in the Statue of Liberty (for the sake of attention span you might want to start with “Give my your tired….”) Discuss different groups of people mentioned and pick a group to serve. Below I will give some links to some organizations- or find something local and meaningful to your family.
- Our country give us the right to Religious Freedom- attend a church service.
Some service organizations to look into:
Gathering Humanity– this group is based in AZ, they provide assistance to newly arriving refugees and asylum seekers
Raices– this group provides free or low cost legal assistance to immigrants and refugees
CARA– this group of lawyers, interpreters, social workers, etc. are specifically working to assist immigrants in detention centers
Feed my Starving Children– pretty self explanatory
ConPRMetidos– This group is assisting with the rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico (think tempest-tost from the poem)
Habitat for Humanity
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
It’s that time of year again! Time for another round of holiday circle activities! A lot of these are similar to last year where I also gave an in depth explanation of why and how I do this. But to sum up I make a calendar using muffin tins and have an activity each day for my 2 and 4 year old kids. This helps make our holiday prep and observance more deliberate and meaningful and to prevent going straight from asking for candy to asking for presents and forgetting to be thankful in between.
I live in Phoenix, so the outings are naturally Phoenix based, but they are pretty easily adaptable to wherever you live. And if you do live in the Phoenix area then I would LOVE to have you join us on any of our outings.
Thanksgiving Activities 2018!
- The Pilgrims came to America in a boat called the Mayflower- I think I’m going to be brave and try to fold boats out of paper this year- but if I chicken out or if you’re just not that brave either then just use a bath toy. We have a water table so we’ll float a boat in that on the back porch, but it’s also fun in the bathtub, sink, or a large tupperware.
- Hand turkeys
- Pilgrim coloring page (I’ll be at Time out for Women so this will be an easy no prep activity for daddy to handle)
- The Pilgrims came to America for religious freedom, they wanted to go to the church they felt was right without being persecuted- go to church
- We are thankful for our bodies- go for a walk
- We show gratitude for our food by sharing with those in need- donate food- depending on the schedule we will donate to a food drive or take a meal to a refugee family through Gathering Humanity, maybe both 🙂 that link will take you to their sign-up genius where you can sign up to deliver a prepared meal for a family’s first night in their new home, purchase two weeks worth of groceries (both of those can be done using Wal-Mart pick-up if your schedule doesn’t allow for drop off, or you can sign up to set up an apartment or help in the warehouse- this has been an amazing and simple way to serve the community
- Begin Thankful Tree- I bought a thankful tree last year at Target, it has paper leaves to write on, we will start it today and then add to it throughout the month
- We are thankful for cousins- color pictures to mail to cousins
- We are thankful for animals- go to the zoo
- We are thankful for Primary/ Nursery- color pictures for their teachers and deliver them the next day at church
- We are thankful for the brave men and women that keep our country safe- color pictures for Operation Gratitude, this group sends care packages to active duty soldiers and veterans, they have some specific guidelines so look them up before you start
- We show gratitude for our home by keeping it clean- pick a chore
- We are thankful for our food- color a picture for the cashier (we’ve done this a few years in a row and they are always surprised and so grateful)
- We are thankful for Preschool- make a card for the teacher
- We are thankful for our minds and imagination- go to the Children’s Museum
- We are thankful for Grandparents- color pictures for Grandparents
- We are thankful for the earth- go to the Botanical Garden
- We are thankful for the temple- walk around the temple grounds
- We are thankful for friends- make a treat for a friend
- We are thankful for daddy’s job- take him lunch at work
- We show gratitude for our toys by cleaning them up and sharing with children in need- pick up and select toys to donate (bonus of getting ready for new toys coming in a few weeks for Christmas)
- Thanksgiving feast!
- The Native Americans helped the Pilgrims- visit Native American ruins, we’ll be heading up to Wupatki National Monument near Flagstaff (it’s connected to Sunset Crater National Monument so you get to see a volcano while you’re at it!)
- We are grateful for our family- fun family outing, for us this is going to be attending a horse race- I tried to find a way to make horses fit into Thanksgiving but all I could come up with was family time 🙂
You may be wondering how we afford the Zoo, the Children’s Museum, the Botanical Gardens, a National Park, and a horse race all in one month. We’re not rolling in the dough, and those that know me know that I’m pretty cheap. So here’s how we make it work- the kids get a zoo membership from Grandparents as their birthday present and the Children’s museum as a Christmas present. For the Botanical Gardens, I watch for a culture pass at the library which gets two adults in for free so we’ll only have to pay for the 4 year old (they also have a free day once a month but it’s a Tuesday and I wanted to go as a family so we’ll use the culture pass to go on a Saturday). The National Monument is $15 (per car) for both the ruins and the volcano and the horse race is only $2 admission. So we’ll be able to do all of these things in one month for about $35 out of pocket. While we’re thankful for daddy’s job and the financial security it brings, we are also thankful for all the money saving ideas we can find!