Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Fun

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, but for others, there is deep meaning and history associated with the holiday. Parents of children may want to show their children that there's more to Thanksgiving than food. So, how can a parent impart the important lessons of Thanksgiving?

Meager Provisions

One way to bring home the ideas of sacrifice, freedom, and gratitude is to make crafts invested with holiday significance. As you make cornucopias and pilgrim hats together with your children, explain the symbolism behind these items. Bone up on your history first. It's as easy as searching the internet for "first thanksgiving meal." Explain to your child how the pilgrims may have missed the bounty of their homeland but were grateful to have come through that first year with their meager and somewhat strange-seeming provisions.

Give your child a chance to stretch his "thinking muscles." Ask him what he thinks the first generations of settlers may have eaten in their countries of origin and what they must have thought of the new foods they encountered in America. Ask your child to tell you what hardships he thinks they may have encountered in the earliest years of settlement.

Cone Cornucopia

These sugar cones are packed with symbolism to bring home the story of Thanksgiving in a kid-friendly manner. They make great place settings for a children's table. Start by buying sugar cones for ice cream. Have kids mix in a large bowl, the following treats and then have them use this mixture to fill the cones. During the feast, ask the kids to take turns talking about the treats and what they might symbolize.

Snack Mix:

*Candy corn-The pilgrims were allotted 5 kernels of corn daily because there was so little food to go around. We are grateful we have plenty to eat.

*Sunflower or pumpkin seeds-These represent the hopeful planting and subsequent harvesting of the first crops.

*Pretzels-These remind us of arms folded in prayer and thanksgiving.

*Bugles-These horn-shaped snacks remind us of the horn of plenty.

*Cheerios or other circular snack-These remind us of the unbroken unity of the pilgrims.

*Dried fruit-This reminds us of both the harvest and of how pilgrims prepared food for the long winter ahead.

*Goldfish-shaped crackers-The pilgrims were glad to have fish as a food source and these were on the first Thanksgiving menu.

Pilgrim Hats

*Chocolate striped cookies

*Semisweet chocolate chips


*Decorative yellow icing

Melt chocolate chips in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring each time, until chocolate is smooth and melted. Place chocolate striped cookies on a platter, chocolate side up. Choose an equal number of marshmallows and dip them, one at a time, into the melted chocolate, using a fork to spear and hold the marshmallows. Stand one chocolate-dipped marshmallow on each cookie. When chocolate is dry, pipe an open square "buckle" on the center of each marshmallow where it meets the cookie, using decorative yellow icing.