We asked our community about their family Thanksgiving traditions — and got hundreds of responses! We loved them all; these were our 10 favorites. These Thanksgiving traditions for kids are perfect for involving them in the festivities, keeping them engaged…and teaching them the real meaning of thankfulness.
- We make one “Thankful Slip” (alternating red and green construction paper slips) for each person on each night of November. We do it as a family at the dinner table each night, we discuss what it is that we are thankful for and why (even the toddler participates, we’ve been very surprised at the sweet things she has “written” on her slips so far). Than we put our slips into our Thankful turkey (a milk jug turkey my teenager made when she was in preschool). On Thanksgiving day we pull out the slips and turn them into a Christmas chain for our tree. It brings the thankfulness into the next holiday season. —Desirae
- We taught our kids a few magic tricks, which they perform at the beginning of the meal and again before dessert. They love it, and it gives them an incentive to sit at the table. —Angel
- Each family member makes a placemat by coloring their name and a few simple things they enjoy. After 15 min, it’s passed to the left and that family member draws a picture and says what they are most thankful for about you. Every 15 minutes, pass again until you have your own back and you have pictures from the whole family about why you are special to them. We use them at dinner to remember that family is our greatest gift. —Beverly
- The kids work on a play and make costumes out of paper bags and markers. We have feathers to decorate headdresses. It takes them a while to get ready. Then we have dinner. Then we get to have a show with our dessert. A win for everybody. The kids really enjoy it. Each year the production gets bigger! —Teresa
- Everyone in the family has five candy corns placed at their spot at the Thanksgiving table. At the end of the meal we go around and everyone shares five things they are most thankful for, one for each candy corn. I am a teacher and I have started doing this with my students (preschoolers and kindergarteners) on the last day of school before Thanksgiving break. They take it very seriously. It is sweet to hear them and often, in listening to others, they/we are reminded if more we are thankful for. —Meredith
- We get a branch or stick from the yard, put it in a vase, then, as people arrive, they pick 3 paper leaves and write down 3 things they’re thankful for and hang them from the branches with string or ribbon. Later we try to guess who wrote what. —Jessica
- We travel to Portland and visit family. With seven children under 12 in one house for three days, we keep it really simple and eat lots of leftovers after the big day! We have been writing what we are thankful for on little wooden hearts and leaves (from the craft store) since the beginning ten years ago and now we have quite the bowlful. It’s so adorable to read what the little ones said years ago —Katja
- We buy bottles of sparkling cider and each kid gets to use grown-up wine glasses because it’s special. They each toast reasons for being thankful and then take sips after each toast. Pinkies out! —Angie
- We have a toddler so we get to intro some new traditions. I’m working on some little felt leaves so that every year we can each add a message to one and then over the years I will have a thankfulness tree to frame. Also, we covered our table with Kraft paper for coloring last year to help keep the kids busy, and let them help cook! Having them involved with the food means they will actually eat it, too! —Joanna
- Around Thanksgiving we’ve begun a new tradition of finding a way to give back to our community (in other ways than just donating cash). This year, we decided to give back by donating dog food to our local shelter. We talk about what we’re thankful for and try to help those who are less fortunate (even our four-legged friends!). —Janice
For more Thanksgiving crafts, activities, and recipes, visit our Thanksgiving Crafts For Kids list!
Here are our contest winners. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize! Thanks for entering!
Meredith Wilson Burton
Katja Violet Magus