I love Thanksgiving. Mostly because I love to cook (you can read all about my cooking adventures on my blog, including the yummy pumkin bars pictured above!), and my family and friends love to eat. There's something about preparing a meal with a theme or a set menu: it takes all the guesswork out of what should I make? I love everyone gathered around one big table, stuffing themselves silly, plotting whether or not to get a second helping or save their stomachs for dessert. It's just plain fun.
My girls are just getting to the age where we can do some fun things surrounding Thanksgiving, and this year, I hope that they'll begin to understand that this day is about giving thanks for all that we have. I don't get into the historical accounts (or misrepresentations, whatever your views on the subject) of the day--I just stick to what I believe the day is representative of: giving thanks.
Here are some fun things you can do to prepare for turkey day with your kiddos:
- Go to the library. By now, your local children's librarian has likely set up a little section of seasonally appropriate books. Go browse and take a few home that interest your kids. Read together and talk about the day to come.
- Read through cooking, baking, and parenting magazines (November issue). These are also available at your local library if you don't subscribe. From them you can gather ideas for crafts to do together, recipes to cook, pies to bake, and affordable ways to decorate. I always let my older daughter pick out one recipe from a magazine that she wants to make. We shop for the ingredients, make it together, and eat it. If she doesn't like it, we try again next time. At least she's being an adventurous eater!
- Visit a turkey farm where you can learn all about different kinds of turkeys, see them in action, and take one home (already cleaned and packaged) for the big day. This is for the brave, curious child, who won't mind hearing that Tom Turkey he sees walking the pen will soon be...(ahem) on the dinner table. In our house we're honest and open about the food chain: where our food comes from, what kinds of animals we eat, etc. My children are unfazed by this, but I understand it isn't for everyone.
- Talk about what you're thankful for. Color it, write it, paint it, build it, etc. Make it fun, and soon they'll understand what being thankful truly means.
What are your Thanksgiving traditions with your kids?