Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thanksgiving Family Fun ~ A to Z Style! (& Giveaway)

"There shall be "a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God...." --1789 Congressional Proclamation

Can I just tell you ~ I love THANKSGIVING! I love the focus on gratitude and blessings, the rich traditions that have been passed down (and the new ones we've created), the opportunity to connect with family and friends, and yes, the wonderful food. :)

I am pleased to share some of our favorite family Thanksgiving activities, plus other simple, inexpensive ways for you to make the most of your month of November ~ A to Z style!!

(I'd also love to hear about YOUR favorite Thanksgiving Traditions! Please be sure to leave a blessed reader will win Susie Larson's latest book Growing Grateful Kids ~ it's great!)

*Thanksgiving Family Fun ideas from A to Z*....

A - Attitude of Gratitude Calendar (Ask each family member to share one thing they are grateful for each day during the month of November. Write it on a calendar. Be sure to bring out the calendar again next year, and start again!); OR Activity sheets here and here
and here OR Activity sheets for Grown-ups here

B- Bingo (here) (Thanksgiving bingo w/ autumn color M&M's ~ always a favorite); OR Baking (great Thanksgiving recipes here or here) OR start a Blessing Book (here)

C - Crafts ~ Such cute Thanksgiving crafts here or here or here OR Conversation Coasters (what a great hostess gift too!) OR Conversation Starters

D - Decorate together (Check out April's great decorating ideas)

E - Educate (Spend time learning/re-learning the true meaning of Thanksgiving. One of my favorite teacher resources for verses, worksheets, stories, history & more ~ here)

F- Family Night: Attitude of Gratitude (here) OR Football (of course!)

G - Gratitude Journals (here) ; OR Give thanks (go around and share 5 things each family member is thankful for)

H - Hidden Pictures OR Turkey Hats
(just for fun!)

I - Ice Cream Sundaes
~ yes, we have Thanksgiving sundaes! I've included a picture at the end of this blog post! :)

J -
Jokes (here) (Have fun sharing these great Thanksgiving kids' jokes
and riddles with your family and friends)

K - Kids Table ~ If you're not planning on having a kids table for Thanksgiving, after you check out these amazing kids table ideas, you will want to!

L - Leaves (We have a family tradition where we each write on a paper leaf what we are thankful for, and then I save the leaves each year...although I may need to make this adorable Thanksgiving table tree); You can also print leaves here

M - Mazes
OR Math sheets (yes, Thanksgiving style Math!) OR Minibooks OR Memorize Thanksgiving verses

N - Native American history and Activities here

O - Outdoor Games to celebrate Thanksgiving (lots of game ideas here

P - Pilgrims here OR Pumpkins Baking OR Parades

Q - Quiet time ~ Enjoy Thanksgiving Reading at home (Great Thanksgiving resource list here) OR Quiz your guests on Thanksgiving Trivia

R - Read together Family Life's Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember

Mrs. Rainey wrote this book for her family, "Thanksgiving was not going to be just eating, hours of TV football, naps and leftover turkey sandwiches-followed by a stress-filled Friday of frantic Christmas shopping at the mall." Instead, she seeks to educate her children-and others, through this book about the heritage of faith and freedom that is celebrated in the national holiday of Thanksgiving. The book revisits the schoolchild version of the Pilgrims' first festival of plenty, and is meant to be read aloud by families on Thanksgiving Day (preferably before small stomachs start to grumble). A half-hour-long CD of Thanksgiving music rounds out the package.

We love this book! It also includes a spot to record your blessings every year! Woo Hoo! :)

S - Sing some fun Thanksgiving carols (thanks, Knox clan) such as...

Here Comes Thanksgiving (to the tune of Here Comes Santa Claus)
Here comes Thanksgiving
Here comes Thanksgiving
Long before Christmas Day
No jingle bells, no Christmas trees
No songs about a sleigh
We will eat and we will sleep
We’ll watch some football games
Cause it is almost Thanksgiving
And it’s long before Christmas Day

T - Tablecloth of Thanks OR start a new Tradition (lots of great ideas here & here)

U - Ugly Turkey ~ A Play (adapted from "The Ugly Duckling" by Hans Christian Andersen)

V - Volunteer. Nothing will remind us more of how much we have to be thankful for than spending your day at your local homeless shelter or food kitchen serving Thanksgiving dinner.

W - Watch A Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving. (Our kids still love to watch it every year!)

X - eXercise. Head outside to the nearest park and enjoy the beautiful fall colors.

Y - YMCA. Go to the YMCA or another local gym. Many will let you try their facility for free for the day.

Z - Zzzzzz's! ~ Sneak in a nap! :)

Woo Hoo!! I'm so excited for Thanksgiving! As one article
I read recently shares, "This year, take advantage of the Thanksgiving season and use it as a chance to nurture a sense of real gratitude in your family. The Bible tells us to "give thanks to the Lord for he is good" (Ps. 107:1) and to "enter his gates with thanksgiving" (Ps. 100:4). That attitude is often lost in our "I want more" culture, and encouraging thankfulness in children is no small task. But when children understand what it means to be grateful, they begin to develop an awareness of all that God has given them...."

Sounds good to me!! You too?! :)

What special family traditions do you have planned for this Thanskgiving?? I'd love to hear from you!

And as promised, one blessed reader (who shares a favorite Thanksgiving tradition) will win Susie Larson's latest book Growing Grateful Kids. The winner will be selected on Wednesday, November 23rd at 9:00 PM.

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! May your Thanksgiving be filled with much joy, laughter, and fun, family moments!!

P.S. A special thanks to Tip Junkie,
Family Fun, Parents Magazine, Kaboose, & more for letting me share some of your fun Thanksgiving ideas! :)

P.S.S. For more Things I Love Thursday ideas, hop on over to my real-life neighbor Jill at The Diaper Diaries.


Parenting in blue jeans said...

The is an awesome post! I am having 5 little preschoolders over to my house next week to celebrate thanksgiving...I couldn't have read this at a better time!

Michelle said...

I love the ideas. I'm going to book mark this specific blog for next year as our Thanksgiving is held in October.

Julie@comehaveapeace said...

Love these ideas, Cindy!

Tonya said...

These are great ideas! I will have to try the Thanksgiving Sundaes...with some type of pumpkin spice.

And create some type of family tradition along with all the eating.

Thanks for sharing and thanks for commenting on my blog.

Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

Wow, I'm impressed you actually made it through the ENTIRE alphabet. Great ideas -- but the best Thanksgiving song IMO -- Over the river and through the woods. . .

Rachel said...

I love all the ideas!
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is the prayer before meal, because our huge extended family all gathers and holds hands while the my uncle says a very heartfelt and beautiful prayer of Thanksgiving. It makes me so thankful to be a part of our family!

barefootoffering said...


You are so sweet to recommend our humble decorations to the list (See Letter "D")! Step aside Martha Stewart...we're "sparkling"!! Ha! Thanksgiving is simply a fav holiday for me, but then again, I celebrate everything! :) So, it should come as no surprise that I host Thanksgiving Day dinner for my family (anywhere from 9-13 people). We do the thanksgiving table cloth writing, Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade bingo, an after dinner ornament exchange to usher in the holiday season, and I'm even adding a few fun new things this year! But, my favorite thing to do (a tradition that I do just for me, by myself) is get up early and watch the sunrise on Thanksgiving morning...before I put on the apron and grab the bird...I go out on the back deck, stand in crisp air, alone, shut my eyes, meditate on how good and generous God is and simply thank Him. Just to commune with God, focus my heart, align my spirit with is my heart's first desire and act of offering of praise! The peace and Presence that I feel fuels the day.

Have a wonderful "Thanks"giving & "Praise"giving!

April :)

LisaShaw said...

Wow Cindy, you and your family are precious! I enjoyed this!

Giving thanks to our GOD for He is good!!! Love and blessings!

Missy Stutzman said...

Last year we went around the table saying from a-z what we were thankful for.

Lisa Smith said...

trying your award winning chili tonight =)

I love Thanksgiving too!!

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