This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.

To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Involving Young Children on Thanksgiving Day

Today my toddler asked me "What Thanksgiving is?" and I tried to explain, in her terms, why we celebrate thanksgiving and what being thankful means. Sure... we've read books, done plenty of turkey crafts, and talked about being thankful. I've tried to help her learn to be grateful, to see outside her own little world (which is tough for a toddler) and to start thinking of others. After my long, probably way too drawn out, explanation she said, "I help you. I cook too."

That got me thinking. How can I involve my toddler in the festivities? So I've devised a plan for our Thanksgiving day, and perhaps you can use some of this or tailor it to your needs. Some of it will involve cooking and some will not. All in all, let them know you are thankful for any "help" they give you, mess and all.

  1. Can they help plan the menu? I asked Charis to help choose some items. Mashed Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes? Marshmallows on top or Streudel topping? Corn or Peas?
  2. Make a Menu for guests.
  3. Thanksgiving Cards: While you prep, cook, or clean, have your child make a card for family members that are coming. This can be as simple as scribbles on paper for young toddlers, stamping, stickers, gluing leaves, making a turkey, or for older children writing or copying a message.
  4. Thanksgiving place mats
  5. Help set the table! My 2 year old has been helping with that for months now.
  6. Take coats and put them in a designated area when family/friends arrive. My daughter is working on saying, "May I take your coat, please?"
  7. Help clear the table. I may give her a bowl to collect all the dirty silverware or a mini trashcan for napkins. Use discretion!
  8. Dusting, mopping, sweeping, and more. I've gotten my daughter a mini version of a duster, mop, and broom. I give her a small spray bottle of water and let her clean the doorknobs (thanks Molly!) or wipe down chairs.
  9. Hide cards for a Thanksgiving Game of Hide-and-seek.
  10. Turn on tea lights in Turkey Table Toppers.
  11. Make Turkey hand print name cards for each of the guest's seats.
  12. Help countdown time until dinner. *Make this ahead of time.
  13. Help set up a play center for the kids table: Thanksgiving Books, No Bake Turkey Cookies, Coloring books, Table covered with large paper to make Thankful Drawing, small trash can, etc.
  14. Check off your list (see #6 below).

Cooking ideas:
  1. Make a list and have them check it off. I made a picture list (picture of pie, picture of turkey, picture of set table, etc) and will let her mark it off as we finish. I also made one for the Big Day so we can make sure we have everything out. It's not unusual for me to forget rolls in the oven once everyone has gotten there and I get busy chatting.Green bean casserole: Let them top it with the onion straws.
  2. Rolls to bake: Let them line them up on the baking sheet.
  3. Pumpkin pie: Let them stir the ingredients together and help you pour it in the crust. They may slosh a little pie filling on the counter...no one will miss it and your little one will love stirring.
  4. Making sweet potato casserole? Consider letting your child line up the marshmallows on top in rows (fine motor skills), or sprinkle the cinnamon sugar crumble on top.
  5. With anything that needs measuring, let them help dump it once you measure. Let them put all the prepped/chopped veggies in a bowl so they are ready for you to grab and throw in the pan.
Very young toddlers/babies:
  1. If your little one is too small for this, I've gotten out a plastic table cloth and put her on the floor with her own ingredients (rice, beans, water, salt, cereal, dry oatmeal, etc) and let her pretend she's cooking, too. Make sure your chosen items are appropriate. This is a great time for the Pouring or Scooping-Water Play activities.


Ashley said...

Thanks for sharing the great ideas Raegan!

Ben & Jenny said...

We did a menu yesterday and today my mom did the no-bake cookies with Charlie. I can't wait to see them tomorrow! Thanks for all the holiday activities. We've had so much fun!!

Raegan said...

You're welcome, Ashley. :)

How did the turkey cookies go??


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