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Sharing the Spirit of Thankfulness with Children

Thanksgiving is a time for being grateful for the abundance we have in our lives, and to encourage the giving spirit towards others. It is the perfect time of the year to take the opportunity to teach children to start thinking about the important things in their life that they are thankful for. A perfect Thanksgiving activity is to encourage the giving spirit in children by collecting and donating canned food to a local food bank.

For children to understand why we celebrate Thanksgiving, share the history of this special holiday with them. For young children, I like the story Thanksgiving is… by by Gail Gibbons. Older children can read the story of the First Thanksgiving by Jean Craighead George. The Pilgrims held the first Thanksgiving celebration after their first harvest in 1621. The Pilgrims were so thankful for the abundance of their harvest that they invited their Native American neighbors to join them in their three-day feast.

Thanksgiving in America is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, and Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October. Thanksgiving celebrations usually include a huge family feast. With the abundance of all this food on the table, encourage the spirit of thankfulness with the children. Another special Thanksgiving activity includes the family taking turns sharing what he or she is thankful for.

A treasured Thanksgiving activity is starting a Thanksgiving Family Journal. During the family gathering on Thanksgiving Day, each family member records what he or she is thankful for in the journal. Add a page that lists the celebration, the names of the guests, the menu, and any other special activities that you did on Thanksgiving Day. Take photos of everyone at the dinner table and add to your journal to create a memory book that you can bring out every year. Each year add the new holiday celebration. This Thanksgiving Family Journal will be treasured for generations to come.

As a mother, grandmother, and child development professional, Nancy Johnson, shares over 20 years experience working with children and planning activities on her website, Check it out for more school age child activity ideas including party, cooking, fall, nature, and child holiday activity ideas.

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