Updated: Oct 9, 2022
With Thanksgiving coming up this long weekend, it’s a good time to teach kids about gratitude. It's the perfect opportunity to remind kids to value and enjoy what they have in the moment and appreciate togetherness whether it's with family, friends, coworkers or within the classroom.
In this blog, LCCC will give you some of the best Thanksgiving activities and practices you can use to help your child learn the art of gratitude and appreciation.
One of the best ways to get kids thinking about what they’re thankful for is to turn it into a crafting activity.
The Preschool 1 class made “thankfulness turkeys” by painting their hands. The palm painted brown and the fingers painted in various fall colours or similar to a Turkey. They simply stamped their hands on a paper , once dried, they applied googly eyes and an adorable poem of thankfulness!
"It's Corn! Preschool 2 can tell ya all about it! " Our crafty Preschool 2 class weaved beads onto strands of pipe cleaners. Once the pipe cleaners were twisted and tied together on each end, it appeared like corn. It is a perfect fine motor activity as it takes a lot of focus! Discussing how grateful to have food such as Corn to supply us with nourishment!
Our Kindergarten 1's did a few fun activities throughout the week! A Squash & Pumpkin and Scavenger hunt . Plenty of leaves were scattered inthe dramatic centre and the children had to search and rake away leaves to find the pumpkins and squash. It was as though they were farmers and it was time to harvest! It's a great way to understand where and how we get these foods . Farming & Agriculture is an important part in supplying the world with delicious food. We are so fortunate!
They also created a Turkey made out of various colours of construction paper. They traced out their hands, cut it out carefully then glued it to create an adorable turkey.
Word searches are a big hit in this classroom! This time we are finding autumn associated words!
Our Kindergarten 2's decided to enjoy the FALL with fun outdoor activities! They also decided to wear their coziest fall outfits to do a fun fall photo shoot! This class loves group photos and sharing memories! They are grateful for each other!
They too have been working hard on various activities! Library Autumn books read with their reading buddies! This class focused on being grateful for access to books and education. Books increase imagination, curiousity and learning! Other fun activities K2 did was stenciling and leaves and apples, adorning their bulletin board with glitter and art work!
Our school age classes took a different route when learning about gratitude! They acknowledged the land and earth in which we get to play and live on and appreciated the plants and animals that supply us nourishment! This past Friday they enjoyed a walk to the lake. Each child expressed gratitude by appreciating the views and sharing what they are grateful for!
Another activity was sensory! The use of sensory bins; water,natural woods, stones , greens, animals and turtles to symbolize our appreciation for Turtle Island (North America). We are thankful!
Did you know?
Samuel de Champlain spent that autumn and winter in Huronia visiting about 20 Huron and Petun towns/villages, who collectively called themselves, ‘Wendat. Today we know the area as the Simcoe County.
These communities were all based on the growing of corn – huge quantities of corn in huge fields. Champlain reported seeing fields as large as 1000 acres. The Wendat grew corn in quantities sufficient to produce food reserves for years to come. It was also for Corn trading with neighbouring non-farming Algonkian nations in exchange for furs and materials such as copper from near Lake Superior. The Wendat did grow plants other than corn such as beans, squash, sunflower and tobacco. Their meals sometimes contained meat and fish, but their diet was dominated by corn.
We must be mindful
We must never forget that many of the food we feast , such as turkey, potatoes, squash, beans and corn as they were here before settlers came . These were the food source of the Indigenous Peoples. They have contributed with the idea of giving thanks before colonial Thanksgiving was established in 1879 (Canada). The Indigenous People had traditions such as showing gratitude, gathering and sharing feasts, celebrating harvest and it's changing seasons . In the present day, acknowledging the history of food we feast and knowing the history of Indigenous Peoples, is often overlooked and ignored . We must remind ourselves the importance of gratitude and acknowledge that we are on 'their land' and sharing food /feasts is fundamental to relationships within Indigenous communities, then and now. Indigenous cultures that have taught us many of the practices we use in our every day lives. Our offering of gratitude itself is an essential part of our learning from Indigenous practices that have existed for centuries.
As many Canadians gather this weekend to enjoy a feast with loved ones, we should also keep in mind of Indigenous households as they may not be celebrating. It may be a difficult time as it is a reminder of colonization of Turtle Island and the romanization of early settler culture. Some Indigenous communities may be reclaiming this colonial Thanksgiving as opposed to rejecting it . They want to remind themselves of their strength and power by continuing to practice only Indigenous traditions, showing gratitude about their culture, community, family, children and sharing traditional feasts together.
With that in mind , we hope this has taught you and your family more about gratitude and it's truthful history.
Let's continue to be grateful for the opportunity to learn more. Lets express gratitude for this land and all that nature offers, such as the changing season, it's harvest, the land, animals, plants and trees . Without the indigenous communities we would likely not have 'Thanksgiving' which allow us to gather, share bountiful feasts with our loved ones - friends, families and communities.
Cornelius, C. 1999. Iroquois Corn in a Culture-Based Curriculum. State University of New York Press.
Fischer, D.H. 2009 Champlain’s Dream. Vintage Canada.
Flynn, C. and E.L. Syms. 1996. Manitoba History: Manitoba’s First Farmers. http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/mb_history/31/firstfarmers.shtml
Ontario Archeology Society. The Archaeology of Ontario: A Summary. https://www.ontarioarchaeology.org/summary-of-ont-arch