Thanksgiving Traditions

ABCJLM Thanksgiving Ideas



Attitude of Gratitude  Attitude of Gratitude
Print the Attitude of Gratitude poster (one for each child or person in the family).  Hold a family meeting and discuss with your child(ren) what it means to have an attitude of gratitude. Give each child an "Attitude of Gratitude" poster and have the child write his name on the dotted line on the poster.  Explain that every time he expresses something that shows a grateful heart and spirit he will be allowed to place a sticker on the chart.  At the end of the month, reward each child with something special to show how important it is to you that he is learning to have a grateful heart.  

Prepare a "Baskets of Thanks" containing goodies for people whom you are thankful.  Include a note of thanks.

Lacing FootballPrint the Lacing Football printable on cardstock.  Color and cut out the football.  Punch holes for the child to lace.   Thank you to Amy at Traurigs In Training for sharing this idea.

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Before and with the Thanksgiving Meal

Kernels of Thanks  Each year before our Thanksgiving meal we read a story from Family Life Today called Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember by Barbara Rainey.  It is a story of the Pilgrims' faithfulness and biblical thankfulness. The book contains both large and small print words. Depending on the age of your children or the amount of time available, you can choose to read the large print for the whole story, or read everything and get more details.  Following the book reading, each person is given six pieces of corn.  Circling around the table each person says one item that he or she is thankful for and then places one of the kernels of corn in a mug that we pass around.  This process continues until all six pieces of corn are gone.  (Each person shares six items of thanksgiving but this number may be lowered depending on the age and number of participants.)  Thank you to Nicole for sharing this idea.

Name Thanks -  Put everyone's name in a bowl and place it on the table.  Instruct each person to draw a name from the bowl and say one reason that he/she is thankful for that person.

Psalm 100  According to Wikipedia, the Pilgrims sighted land on November 9,1620.  "The passengers who had endured miserable conditions for about sixty-five days were led by William Brewster in Psalm 100 as a prayer of thanksgiving."  What better way to begin your Thanksgiving celebration than reciting this Psalm together as a family.  Make the goal of memorizing these five verses for the month of November.  (Thank you Ashley for sharing this idea.)

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord (hands at mouth as if shouting)
all the earth (fist, with other hand pull “plant” out of top of fist)
Worship the Lord (praise hands)
with gladness (point to smile)
Come before Him with joyful songs (wave come)

Know that the Lord is God (point to brain)
It is He who made us (point up)
and we are His (thumb to self)
we are his people, the sheep of His pasture (walking two fingers up other arm)

Enter His gates with thanksgiving (open hands as if opening a gate)
and His courts with praise (praise hands).
Give thanks to Him (sign thanks)
and praise His name (praise hands)
For the Lord is GOOD! (thumbs up)
and His love endures forever (hands on heart)
His faithfulness continues through all generations (rotate hands as if saying "on and on and on")

Gratitude Rolls  Gratitude Rolls (Original Source Unknown)

Grab a couple of cans of crescent rolls.  If you have the time and enjoy baking, make up a batch of butter horn rolls.  (For best results use a higher-fat-content roll so the thankful stripes don't stick.)  Cut stripes of paper that are approximately 1/2" x 3".  With a pencil write something that you are thankful for. 

Roll the crescent rolls into triangle shapes.  Place one thankful strip into each roll.  Loosely wrap the roll into crescent shape.  (Tightly rolling will make the paper stick.  Some sources suggested smearing butter on the strips.)  Bake according to directions. 

There will be less sticking if the rolls have cooled prior to breaking them open.  Also, when we used a pen, the ink bled onto the rolls.  A pencil did not. 

Napkin RingsCreate napkin rings to add to the Thanksgiving meal.  Print the Napkin Ring printable.  Cut apart.  For several uses, glue to toilet paper rolls cut to size and place around a rolled napkin.  Or, tape around a rolled napkin.  Each printable will make six different designs.   Thank you to Amy at Traurigs In Training for creating this printable.

Thankful Four - Thankful Four (Idea adapted from FamilyFun Magazine)
Print enough Number 4 Posters to give one to each person attending your Thanksgiving dinner.  Write "I'm Thankful" on each number four.  Write down what each person is thankful for.  Have the child decorate and cut out the four.

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Books & Computer

 712510: Living Lights: The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks - This book contains an example of creating and performing a Thanksgiving play.

 The Story of Thanksgiving The Story of Thanksgiving by Nancy Skarmeas

Let's Be Thankful    Let's Be Thankful - Precious book by P.K. Hallinan to use as a kick off to the Thanksgiving season.

- The Berenstain Bears Thanksgiving Blessings

• Play Silly Turkey - a fun little computer activity on Starfall.com

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•  I am Thankful For Create a collage of items in which you are thankful.  Draw or cut out pictures of the items and add the title "I am thankful for."

Turkey of Thanks  Turkey of Thanks - Create a turkey from feathers, toilet paper roll, and construction paper.  Write what the child is thankful for on the feathers.

• Handprint Turkey  Create "Hand Turkeys" by either drawing around a child's hand or dipping it into paint.  Add eyes and a mouth to the "thumb".   Add this poem (Original Source Unknown):
                    Dear ________________, 
                    This isn't just a turkey,
                    As anyone can see.
                    I made it with my hand,
                    That is a part of me.
                    It comes with lots of love
                    Especially to say,
                    I hope you have a very happy
                    Thanksgiving Day!

Give Thanks Apron  "Give Thanks" Apron  - Decorate an apron with handprints to give as a gift.

•  Turkey Hand and Foot Print  Create a Turkey Hand and Foot Print - Make one foot print and at least five handprints.  Cut out and glue to a piece of paper.  Add eyes, a nose, and feet to the turkey.

Thanksgiving or Fall Headbands - Heat a Hot Glue Gun and have fun decorating your headband with the Fall leaves, craft jewels, and fun fall fabric scraps.  Thank you to Amy at Traurigs In Training for sharing this idea.

• Turkey Handprint  Start on the Handprint and Footprint Calendar - Use the November page as a Thanksgiving craft 

Thanksgiving TreeThanksgiving Tree - On the wall, door, or a bulletin board create a tree.  Cut leaves to add to the tree.  Each evening encourage each person to write one thing that they are thankful for and add it to the tree. 

   Turkey of Praise  Turkey of Praise - On the wall, door, or a bulletin board create the body of a turkey.  Cut feathers to add to the body.  Each evening encourage each person to write one thing that they are thankful for and add it to the turkey. 

  Turkey of Praise Across the Globe - Cut out several feathers and then mail to several family members with instructions for them to write what they are thankful for and mail back to you.  Adding a turkey body, collect all of the feathers and assemble together.  This is a great activity for those who are unable to get together with family for Thanksgiving.  (Idea from Cindy at FamilyFun.com)

  Thanksgiving Tree Handprints Fall Tree Handprint Craft Handprint Trees - Calendar Option #1, Fall Option #2  

 Chain of Praise Thanksgiving Paper Chain - Add to a paper chain each evening by encouraging those in your family to write one thing that they are thankful for on each chain.  See how long of chain you can create!  For younger children, premake the chain and have the child tear off a link each day.  (Thank you Lori for this toddler tailored idea!)                                                             


Acorns  Acorns  (Idea based upon SixintheSuburbsBlog)

Hershey Kiss, chocolate chips, and a Nutter-Butter (use Ritz Bitz or mini Nilla Wafers if allergic to peanuts) are all that you need.  We made these acorns for Little Man's Thanksgiving Feast at church.  The older kids were able to help quite a bit while Little Man unwrapped the Hershey kisses.

Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips in the microwave for 10 second intervals, stirring between each set.  Unwrap the Hershey kisses.  Lightly dip the kiss into the melted chocolate and then set on the Nutter-Butter or Nilla Wafer.  Let sit to firm up.  Then dip a mini chocolate chip into the chocolate and set on top.

Hints We Learned:
  - The kisses will begin to melt in your hand very quickly so don't over handle.
  - As we made the acorns, we placed them in a container that was sitting on two ice packs.  This helped the acorns set up faster.
  - Use only enough melted chocolate to make the pieces stick together.  Otherwise the chocolate oozes out.

 Pilgrim Hat Cookies 
             Vanilla frosting
             Yellow food coloring
             32 miniature peanut butter cups (unwrapped)
             32 fudge-striped cookies
             32 pieces orange mini Chiclets gum or orange tic-tac
             In a small bowl, combine frosting and enough food coloring to make the frosting yellow. 
             Dip the top (wide part) of the peanut butter cup in yellow frosting. 
             Center the peanut butter cup on the cookie forming a pilgrim hat. Add a buckle using frosting and a piece of Chiclets gum or a tic-tac. 
             Repeat with the remaining peanut butter cups and cookies.

 Pilgrim Hats  Marshmallow Pilgrim Hats - Cute activity to discuss the 1st Thanksgiving.

 Turkey Cupcakes  Make Turkey Cupcakes out of marshmallows, candycorn, frosting and licorice.

 Turkey Handprint Cookies - Using a handprint cookie cutter or trace around a hand, decorate the sugar cookie like a turkey.

 Turkey Cookies
             Sugar cookies
             Chocolate frosting
             Candy corn pieces 
             Mini M&M's
             Orange frosting
              Bake sugar cookies according to directions.
              Pipe chocolate frosting on outer edge of half of the cookie.  
              Arrange candy corn pieces on frosting with points pointing toward the center of the cookie.
              Pipe orange frosting to create turkey feet and face.
              Place M&M's on frosting for eyes.

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Thanksgiving Song:  Five Little Pilgrims 
(from Group Publishing, Inc./ Children's Ministry Magazine)
Tune: Five Little Ducks
Five little pilgims sailing in a boat (hold up 4 fingers).
Over the sea and water they float (make wave motions with hands).
One little pilgrim said, "Land I see!"  (hold up one finger, then hold other hand
above eyes as if searching).
They came to America to be free (fold hands and bow head as if to pray).
Continue to repeat this song, subtracting the number of pilgrims as you go until there are no pilgrims left. 

If You’re Thankful (Happy) and You Know It

If you’re thankful and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap) (Repeat 2x)
If you’re thankful and you know it then your life will really show it
If you’re thankful and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap)

Optional verse:
…stomp your feet…
…say amen…
…do all three…

Praise Him, Praise Him

Praise Him, praise Him,
All you little children,
God is love, God is love.
Praise Him, praise Him,
All you little children,
God is love, God is love.

Add optional verses:
Love Him...
Thank Him...
Know Him...
Serve Him...
Crown Him...

He’s Got the Whole World

He's got the whole world in His hands (3x)
The whole world in His hands

Create your own verses:
He's got our family...
He's got the mountains and the rivers...
He's got the fish and the birds...

God is So Good

God is so good
God is so good
God is so good
He’s so good to me

Optional verses (make up your own):
God cares for me...
God answers prayers...
I love Him so...

Thank You, Lord

Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul
Thank You, Lord, for making me whole
Thank You, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free

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Bibles Verses and Printables on Thankfulness

Psalm 28:7  The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

Ps952  Psalm 95:2a Let us come before Him with thanksgiving.  Thank you to Amy at Traurigs In Training for creating this printable.

Ps6930  Psalm 69:30 I will praise God's name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.  Thank you to Amy at Traurigs In Training for creating this printable.

Ps1071  Psalm 107:1 
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever. 

Psalm 107:8
  Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.

Psalm 107:22 
Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of His works with songs of joy.

Psalm 100  (actions provided for these verses under the "Before the Meal" heading on this page)
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 95: 1-3
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.
3 For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.

Ps1061  Psalm 106:1 Praise the Lord give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

Ps11828  Psalm 118:28 You are my God and I will give You thanks. 

1 Chronicles 16:8  Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.

1 Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

IThes518  1 Thessalonians 5:18  In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  Thank you to Amy at Traurigs In Training for creating this printable.

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Ideas on the Web

Thanksgiving Ideas from Little Blots - Many ideas...
Free Homeschool Deals - a plethera of ideas and printables
Clothespin Wreath of Thanks - Have each person who visits add a blessing to the wreath.
Christian Preschool Printables - Thanksgiving and "I am thankful" crafts
Pumpkin File Folder Games - alphabet, number, and phonics free printable games
Turkey Treat Holder - Fun table decoration
Pumpkin File Folder Games - alphabet, number, and phonics free printable games
DLTK Thanksgiving - crafts, recipes, color pages, etc.
Thanksgiving Crafts - color sheets, worksheets, crafts, early readers
Preschool Playbook Ideas - books to read, activities done in a preschool setting
Activity Village
Family Fun - recipes, crafts, decorations, printables

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