Thanksgiving can easily become the bump in the road on the way to Christmas, but the holiday deserves special attention and effort in its own right. Part 1 of this series offered a variety of ways homeschoolers can prepare children for Thanksgiving, including teaching opportunities and fun activities. There are just so many great ways to enjoy this holiday!
Check out more ways to make the most of the day of giving thanks:
Teach by making food.
- Teach children how to process pumpkins. Basic culinary skills are important for kids to know before they leave home, and Thanksgiving is a great time to help them learn how to translate those hard orange vegetables into something that can be enjoyed on the Thanksgiving table. Check out this video on processing pumpkins and squash to help you in your teaching.
- Teach kids how to cook a turkey. It’s amazing how many people never learn how to cook a turkey until they get married and are suddenly responsible for their first family Thanksgiving dinner! Help your kids be prepared for this annual skill by having them help make the bird. Check out Top 10 Turkey Tips for ways to make the turkey turn out great.
- Help teens learn how to carve a turkey. After teens learn how to cook the turkey, they have to be able to do something with the meat when it’s done! Watch this video at 5minvideo.com for instructions.
- Make teepee cupcakes. Stiesthoughts.blogspot.com provides cute photos and directions for how to make these adorable cupcakes. Kids will love making a Thanksgiving dessert that looks like the holiday they are celebrating!
Do a Thanksgiving Unit Study.
- Create your own Thanksgiving unit. This step-by-step checklist at Oklahoma Homeschool gives all the instructions and resources you need to put together an exciting, informative Thanksgiving unit study that will address the needs of all different types of learners.
- Littleton Homeschooling Examiner Lynda Ackert has created a free, downloadable unit study that includes Thanksgiving history, notebooking pages, lapbooking pages, and more.
- LessonPlansPage.com has links to a variety of Thanksgiving lesson plans for almost every subject.
- Thanksgiving – A Focus on Clothing by Melissa Dove is a lesson plan for a unit study for grades 1-3, focused on the clothing of the Native Americans and the Pilgrims.
- Education World Thanksgiving lesson plans – These lesson plans include Thanksgiving teaching ideas for a variety of subjects, including Language, Nutrition, Science, Math, Art, and more. Plans for both older and younger students.
- Thanksgiving, A Celebration of Gratitude provides Thanksgiving lesson plans for grades 1-2, including art projects, crafts, History, and more.
- Celebrate Thanksgiving Unit Study by Charlene Notgrass. This highly recommended unit study for $9.95 includes 15 Thanksgiving lessons that cover History, Bible, Geography, Traditions, Art, Science, Poetry, Grammar, Creative Writing, and Crafts.
Make Thanksgiving crafts with your kids.
- Woman’s Day Magazine has a selection of Thanksgiving crafts for kids of all ages.
Make mini-books for young children.
- These simple reader books from DLTK’s Growing Together are a great way for kids to learn basic Thanksgiving words, and have fun at the same time. Printable templates come in color and black and white.
- My Thanksgiving Booklet from Homeschooled Kids Online offers a variety of choices of covers and book activities.
- The Colors I Eat mini-book is excellent for preschoolers, and includes plenty of drawing.
Investigate the science of Thanksgiving.
- Discover the science behind Thanksgiving foods – Learn about the antioxidants in cranberries, or why the turkey gets brown, amongst other interesting facts at yenra.com.
- Learn how turkey timers work – Visit How Stuff Works for an explanation of the mechanics behind those little pop-up turkey sticks.
- Find out why leaves fall off of trees. NPR offers a relatively simple scientific explanation of the leaf-shedding process of autumn.
- Learn the family and species of the plants you will eat. Tom Kimmerer provides a botanical guide to Thanksgiving dinner, which shows the origins of the plant food items in our common Thanksgiving dishes.
- Determine if science has built a better turkey. Science 2.0 looks at the question of whether modern food processes have created a better Thanksgiving turkey.
- Investigate the difference between a sweet potato and a yam. Aggie Horticulture gives the scientific reasons behind how these two vegetables differ, as well as a variety of recipes.
- Learn about punkin chunkin. Did you know that there is a World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association? Check out this fun and interesting site, which catalogs the process of launching pumpkins into the sky, including calculating the mass of the pumpkin, the mechanics of an air cannon, and the physics of catapults. Includes videos, games, puzzles, and more.
Play some online Thanksgiving games.
Change up the homeschool day and add in a dose of fun with some Thanksgiving computer games!
- Animated Thanksgiving has online games, cards, online coloring and more.
- Primary Games boasts games such as “Turkey Run”, Turkey Hunt”, and “Thanksgiving Sudoku”.
- Find interactive word puzzles, and many other games, such as “Dress up the Turkey”, at A Kids Heart.
- Billy Bear 4 Kids includes such online games as “Turkey Dance”, “Bingo Games”, “Thanksgiving Tic-Tac-Toe” and many more.