How To Get Your Child Involved This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a special time for many families. It’s a time where making and sharing memories takes place. We gather around the table to enjoy family traditions which may include a Thanksgiving feast of turkey and other delicious foods and drinks. This year, in particular, will be quite a special time of the year now that many of the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted and larger family gatherings can now take place. Sometimes among all of the hustle and bustle of preparing for the holiday celebrations with the cooking and cleaning our children may feel, while not intentional, excluded in the planning, prepping and cleanup.  Children may not understand where they fit in and may find themselves more of a hindrance than a help.

Here are a few ways to involve children in Thanksgiving

Decorations and Art

Children are great at creating decorations and artwork. If there is a children’s table (depending on their age) you can tell them they are in charge of decorating the table. Children can create their own centerpieces. You can take them outside and collect leaves, acorns, or a pumpkin.

The table setting should be easy, fun and unbreakable. Instead of a tablecloth, you can tell the children to cover the table with white or brown paper so all the children can draw directly on the table to make placemats and place cards.

Creating place cards or placemats for friends and family is another fun activity. They can use the outline of their hands to make a turkey or coloured construction paper for leaves or apply cutouts.

Baking and Cooking

At SimplySmart daycare, we always involve children through science and mathematics activities. We involve children in baking cookies or muffins. Using the skills that are taught in the classroom at home is quite pertinent. Applying these skill sets to everyday life activities helps expand your child’s learning opportunities. When we cook, as adults, we are constantly using our math skills, from measurements to ratios to conversions.

When it comes to the menu, let the children have some input. Ask what they want and don’t want. This will be the turning point in them wanting to help out and prepare the food. You may want to take them grocery shopping to help you pick out the ingredients. This allows them to get extra involved and invested in the process.

Once you get home, you can encourage them to get their hands a little bit dirty! Rather than having your child watch you, you can ask them to help you prepare some of the simpler dishes. Allowing them to help you with tasks like combining and whisking foods and ingredients together, rubbing the turkey with butter, herbs and spices will give the child a sense of accomplishment. This will create fond memories between you and your child as they will remember the time you spent together in the kitchen. Children of all ages should be able to participate, from pressing a button on a gadget to layering apple slices on a pie.


If your child isn’t ready or is not interested in helping with decorating or cooking, another way to engage with them is through reading. You can choose a Thanksgiving-themed book to read aloud to them. Depending on the type of book it is, this can be a truly educational experience. Explaining what Thanksgiving means and how other families may celebrate it differently or may not celebrate it at all, can be a good way for your child to appreciate other cultures and to understand the holiday’s history.


On behalf of all the staff and children at SimplySmart Child Care Centre & Montessori, we wish everyone who is celebrating a Happy Thanksgiving!

If you want to join a community created to help parents, we would like you to consider thinking of SimplySmart Child Care Centre & Montessori for your child and family needs. To learn more about our Play-Based or Montessori programs, please visit