As fall arrives and the leaves start to change color, many families in Canada begin preparing for Thanksgiving.
This holiday is a time for getting together with loved ones, eating delicious food, and giving thanks for all that we have.
But did you know that Thanksgiving can also be a great opportunity to teach your kids about our country’s history? With a little creativity, you can make this year’s celebrations both fun and educational for the whole family! Here are some ideas to get you started.
Teach Your Kids the History Behind the Holiday
The first recorded Thanksgiving celebration in Canada took place in 1578 when English explorer Martin Frobisher held a formal ceremony to give thanks for surviving his expedition to find the Northwest Passage.
While this event is often cited as the first Canadian Thanksgiving, it’s important to note that it wasn’t actually held on Canadian soil—Frobisher was still in what is now known as Newfoundland and Labrador, which didn’t become part of Canada until 1949.
Thanksgiving became an annual holiday in 1879, but it was originally celebrated on different dates throughout the country. In 1931, the Canadian Parliament declared that Thanksgiving would be held on the second Monday in October.
So why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? Originally, the holiday was meant to give thanks for a good harvest. Nowadays, it’s also seen as a time to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives.
Explain to your kids how different life was back then – no houses made of wood, no roads…and no turkey! Help them to understand how grateful we should be for all of the modern-day conveniences we have.
Turkey Arts and Crafts
One of the most iconic symbols of Thanksgiving is the turkey. What better way to get your kids into the holiday spirit than by having them make their own turkey crafts?
There are tons of easy and fun turkey crafts for kids of all ages available online. Just do a quick search and you’ll be sure to find something that your little ones will love.
If you want to keep it simple, you can make turkeys out of paper plates or feathers glued onto construction paper. Or, get creative and have fun with it! You can even use those decorated turkeys as place cards at the dinner table.
Make a Gratitude Tree
This is a beautiful way to visualize everything your family is thankful for leading up to Thanksgiving Day.
Find a branch from outside and put it in a pot or vase filled with sand or rocks. Then invite everyone to write down something they’re grateful for on a slip of paper and hang it from one of the branch’s twigs using string or yarn.
On Thanksgiving Day, you can read all of the notes together as part of your grace before dinner. Not only will this activity remind your kids (and yourself!) to be grateful for what we have, but it also makes for a lovely decoration in your home!
Attend a Fall Parade or Fair
Many communities host fall festivals or parades leading up to Thanksgiving weekend. This is a great opportunity to get out and enjoy the autumn weather while also supporting local businesses and organizations.
Check your local newspapers or websites to see if there are any events happening near you. Bonus points if you can find an event with a historic or educational focus!
Make the Holidays Count!
If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to spend Thanksgiving this year, look no further than Jumbaloo Playgrounds!Indoor playgrounds are perfect for kids of all ages, and they’re a great way to burn off some energy before or after a big holiday meal. Call us at (905) 785-3990 or fill out our online contact form today.