If you’re looking for some Thanksgiving themed activities to do with your kiddo, or want to plan a fun learning day with friends, we’ve got some fun Thanksgiving themed fun ready for you! Add or remove elements as it fits your kiddo’s age, learning & interests!
Getting Started: Sing a Song!
Music is so important for kiddos and is a great way to connect and play with them! Here’s a few Thanksgiving themed tunes to get you in the spirit. Choose one or two and jump in! If you know the motions to a song, do them with your kiddo!
Gather Round: Read a Book!
To celebrate Thanksgiving, we want to read any book about Thanksgiving or thankfulness or gratitude! Start with your bookshelf - you might be surprised at what you find! Or, if you want to extend your learning day, use this as an opportunity to visit your local library and pick out a Thanksgiving read. If you’re looking to expand your home library, check out bookfinder.com to search hundreds of websites for the lowest price possible on new or used books. (This site works best if you know the exact title or ISBN that you’re searching for.)
A few Thanksgiving books our family owns:
- Llama Llama Gives Thanks
- The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks by Jan & Mike Berenstain
- Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman
- Give Thanks to the Lord by Karma Wilson
- Daniel Loves Fall
- Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
A few Thanksgiving books recommended by the ladies in Bannor Toys Collective:
- The Little Giant Acorn by Ashley Steeves
- Autumn in the Forest by Rusty Finch
- 10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston
- Llama Llama Gives Thanks by Anna Dewdney
- There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves by Lucille Colandro
- The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry
- Hedgehugs: Autumn Hide-N-Squeak by Steve Wilson
- Five Silly Turkeys by Salina Yoon
- Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
- Five Little Thank-Yous by Cindy Jin
- Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
- Around the Table That Grandad Built by Melanie Heuiser Hill
- Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson
Let’s Get Crafty: Thanksgiving Turkey Placemat!
After you’ve read a Thanksgiving or thankfulness themed book, it’s time for a Thanksgiving craft!
- Use our printable
- Painter’s Tape
- Print out this free download from us! You’ll use it as your baseline to create this craft.
- Use a small amount of painter’s tape to tape your paper to your table or workspace. This helps your kiddo not move your paper around, especially as we will be placing their hand rather firmly onto the page and we don’t want it to slide.
- Gather supplies. It helps to have your paints already on a paper plate, paintbrushes ready, as well as a few clean-up supplies within reach as this craft is a little messy!
- Let your kiddos choose which colors they would like their turkey feathers to be!! We use this paint here: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0044SEK0A/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
- Paint your kiddos’ hands!! There are two options that work well, depending on your kiddo’s age.
- For my oldest, we painted her hands in the color order she wanted. “Mom I want my pinky to be orange and my thumb to be red….” etc. NOTE: USE LOTS OF PAINT!! By the time we finished deciding colors & painting her fingers individually, the first fingers had dried and didn’t transfer as well. Use lots of paint!!
- For my youngest, it worked best to let her smush her hand around on the paint on a paper plate and then help her to transfer that handprint onto her page. The colors were not as neat, and the hand prints are not as clear, but this is my kiddo at this age!! And it’s the memory that matters. PS: It’s now DAYS later and they are both still asking when we get to paint hands again!!
- Help your child push their handprints onto the turkey, on either side of the body, acting like turkey feathers. Make sure to use your hand to push their fingers down so you get a good imprint.
- Let the handprints dry.
- Add your kiddos’ name to the top of the page - “We Are Thankful for LUCY!” - or have them write their own name if they can!
- Once the page is dry, allow your kiddo to paint the turkey body. This rounds out the picture of the turkey!
- Once the whole page is dry, laminate it! This laminator is a favorite of the mamas in the collective and once you have one, you’ll start finding lots of other uses for it! https://smile.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-PL9-US-Thermal-Laminator/dp/B00BUI5QWS/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=amazon+basics+laminator&qid=1633461177&sr=8-3
- Now that you have a laminated placemat, you can use it for your Thanksgiving feast or for a decoration for years to come. PS: This would make a great craft to mail to grandparents!
I first learned about the idea of a Thankful Turkey from @busytoddler on Instagram. We began doing it as a tradition a few years ago! It is SO much fun!! I’ve made a sample turkey feather template for you to use, but feel free to cut out feathers however you wish. We begin our turkey on November 1st for a full month of thankfulness!!
- Make a turkey body. Use construction paper, a brown paper bag, paint one… whatever works!! Don’t second guess it, just go with your gut and laugh at it for the month of November if needed!!
- Cut out a bunch of feathers. You’ll use one each day per kiddo you have that is old enough to participate. (Last year, my youngest was 16 months so I didn’t do any feathers for her unless big sister insisted little sister was thankful for something!) PS: You can also buy the pieces here if you don’t have bandwidth for prep this year!! https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00M0NCGWK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_kp3NFbR34TKNM?fbclid=IwAR3Oz9ufaQam4PQT1Ll0qyCx6K740-AB63uWSKIc78-vnH1sc2vUbkhzLAc
- Each day write down what they say they are thankful for! No duplicates! (I also have started putting a little number in the corner of each feather to see how many days it takes them to be thankful for mom - ha!!)
- Tape the feather behind the turkey! We tape directly onto our wall with scotch tape and haven’t had any problems in the past, but you could also use painters tape!
- Don’t take this as a high-pressure thing, mamas. If your kiddo isn’t into it on a specific day, wait until the next day and ask if they’re thankful for two different things. Or write something down that YOU’RE thankful for because we can all use a little extra practice in gratitude.
To introduce Thankfulness to your younger kiddo, here are a few ideas from the mamas in the collective.
- Ask “What is something or someone that makes you feel really happy inside?”
- Ask “What do you love?”
- Ask “What is something that made you smile today?”
This is one of my kid’s favorite traditions to do each year and it’s so special for me to look back on what she was thankful for in her younger years! My oldest - 4 years old - even saw me prepping for this post and declared “DO WE GET TO DO OUR TURKEY ALREADY?!"
Treat Center: Thanksgiving Cut Out Cookies
My great-grandmother used to make cut out cookies for each season, so perhaps this is a family tradition and not widespread everywhere, but to get in the mood for fall and Thanksgiving, let’s make some Cut Out Sugar Cookies! We made a family recipe but there’s lots of recipes online OR you can buy ready-made dough. With my kiddos ages, I usually spread out this process over a few days. On Day 1, we make the dough and put it in an airtight container in the fridge. On Day 2, we roll out the dough and cut out shapes! We made leaves and pumpkins but just visit your favorite craft store and there will be dozens of choices!! On Day 3 we frost! Sugar cookies traditionally freeze well, so they are a great option to pop in the freezer for when you’re ready for your family to eat them.
At Bannor Toys, we’re so grateful for you!! If you and your kiddos do any of these Thanksgiving activities, we’d love to see!! Share online and tag us at #bannortoys or @bannortoys or comment below with some other ideas so we can celebrate Thanksgiving with you!