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preparing for thanksgiving :: activities for families and kids

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There are only 3 weekends left before Thanksgiving. Let that sink in for a minute. Didn’t we just have Halloween? Yep. And now it’s time to start thinking about turkey and dressing and green bean casserole and cranberry sauce*. But it’s also a time to start preparing your family for Thanksgiving. Every weekend, we like to do a family activity. Sometimes they’re organized and other times we just fly by the seat of our pants. But for this November we decided to focus on things that we are thankful for. I’ll be sharing 3 different activities (one for each weekend before Thanksgiving), but there are a few different options for each one based on the age of your child(ren).

  • Searching for Thanksgiving – Did you know that you could make your own word search online? Add the names of your family and friends and click create to make one in a shape, font, and size of your choice. I made this circle one with the names of all theSIMPLEmoms.
    word search
  • A-maze-ing Thanksgiving – You can also make your own maze online! With this generator, you can make your maze as large or small as you’d like. You can also change it around to make it harder or easier. For younger kids, just doing the maze may be enough. For older children (and adults), give them a challenge by having them write something that they are thankful for in a long line instead of just drawing a line from start to finish.
  • Thankful Tree – Last year we did one similar to this and liked it so much that we left it out all year long. This year we decided to down-size a little and let each person have their own tree. I’ve created a printable that you can use for each family member. Older kids and parents can write what they are thankful for and younger children can draw instead. (Click image to open in new page. Right click and “save picture as” to print, edit, or personalize.)thankful tree

Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions that encourage children to think about what they’re thankful for? I’d love to hear your ideas!


*These are staples at Southern Thanksgiving dinners. Are these nation-wide? Do other regions have different traditional Thanksgiving foods?

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  • Theresa Hover
    November 10, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    Last year we made a Thanksgiving tree, and I am loving this tradition! I made a tree with dead cedar branches wrapped with copper wire, and then used small copper wire to place hooks all over the tree. Then I cut out triangle shaped paper in fall colors (maroon, orange, gold, yellow, red) and hole punched each. These leaves live in a basket by the tree with some markers.

    Each day starting Nov 1st, every member of the family takes a leaf, writes something they are thankful for on it, and hangs it on the tree. By Thanksgiving, our tree is bursting with color and thankfulness that we can read out loud at dinner. I love it!.

  • Jennifer
    November 14, 2014 at 8:38 am

    i really like the thankful tree idea! that would be really fun to do with little ones!

  • Talia
    November 10, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    We don’t really have Thanksgiving traditions, (other than eating!), but I like the thankful tree that you mentioned. I’ll give it a try with my 3 year old!

  • Marti Tabora
    November 10, 2014 at 6:41 am

    We don’t have any specific traditions, but we definitely have a nice dinner and talk about the things that we are thankful for.

  • Denise Taylor-Dennis
    November 8, 2014 at 8:37 am

    We really haven’t made any Thanksgiving traditions yet other than eating dinner together.