November is halfway over, and for families in the United States, that means Thanksgiving is right around the corner. But many children seem to be under the impression that it is nothing but a chance to get together with relatives and eat turkey and pumpkin pie. What fails to come across for the younger ones is that there is a message behind the holiday, and a very specific purpose behind celebrating it. The younger they are, the harder it is to break it down. Which is why sometimes it is better to let an activity or game do it for you.
If you have a young child and want to teach them about the holiday in a fun way, try these websites that offer games and activities for them to enjoy.
Nation Geographic Kids – The main page offers a nice, easy to understand explanation about different elements of Thanksgiving, such as the first dinner and the reason behind it, the settlers and the Native Americans. Other links go to different traditions from across the United States to celebrate, and there is a nice list of activities. These are all crafts you can do at home, like pumpkin pie turkeys, wreaths and a pilgrim ship veggie platter. They have a couple of games, but they are mostly quizzes and puzzles, so better for older kids.
About.com Holiday Pages – About.com is always a valuable resource for parents. They have a great Thanksgiving page with links to coloring pages, study packets, little lessons, games, stories, poems, word searches, activity guides and educational crafts for you to do with your kids. It is one of the larger websites for activity ideas.
Kids Turn Central – With a short rundown of the holiday itself, you can get a nice, simple explanation here for little kids. But they also have links to activities and games your children will enjoy. There is a list of traditions and ways that your kids can help you prepare for them. There are also a number of tips on how to get them involved in the dinner planning, such as through making place cards for guests, and even a section on making traditional costumes.
Nick Jr – Nick Jr has a whole page filled with lessons and games from your child’s favorite characters, such as Moose & Zee, Dora the Explorer and more. They have great weekly lesson plans for your preschooler and younger children to teach about the gift of giving thanks, giving to charity, spending time with family, making new friends, transcending differences and other topics relevant to Thanksgiving.
Vicki Blackwell – This is probably the best comprised list of Thanksgiving childrens sites I have seen. If you scroll down the page you will find dozens of links to color book activities, print outs, online games, cartoons, interactive story books and more. All for different aged children, though not very well organized to that purpose.
Bill Bear – There are some great games here for your child to enjoy, like drag & drops and turkey hunts. But the site is pretty small, so don’t expect too much. They do have some nice coloring pages you can download and pull up in Paint.
There are a wide variety of websites out there that can be educational while being fun for your young child. Most of the ones above are regularly updated and keep up with current trends, events, holidays and curriculum specifications for you child’s age range. I would suggest putting them all in a bookmark folder and referring to them often, especially the sites like National Geographic, PBS Kids, Kick Jr and About.com.