Thanksgiving Day: Teaching children about gratitude
- by Shruti Gokarn
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The world has indeed become a global village today and with this cross-cultural exchanges have become more common. Consequently, we celebrate festivals that we would not a few years ago. One such festival is Thanksgiving, a quintessentially American holiday. Today, more and more preschools and schools organise various activities on Thanksgiving Day, with the aim of teaching children the value of gratitude. It’s time that the spirit of the festival reaches your home too. Here are some activities that you and your child can do this Thanksgiving.
Introduce your child to a new culture
One of the best ways to introduce children to other cultures is by celebrating their festivals and telling them the history behind the celebration. Tell your children this fascinating story and set them on their way to becoming global citizens. Thanksgiving is celebrated in memory of the first meal for which the pilgrims invited the native Americans. The pilgrims were people who had come to the United States of America from England to escape religious persecution.
Festive occasions are incomplete without the joy of music. There are so many songs about this beautiful festival. Select a song that you as well as your children enjoy and sing it along with them. A story followed by a joyful song will have your children hooked to this celebration!
Teach them to be grateful
As the name suggests the festival is a reminder to us of the importance of gratitude in life. Children are never too young to learn the value of everything they have in life and for being thankful for it. In fact, this should become a daily practice. Use this day to teach them to be thankful. You can ask them what they are thankful for and why. You also could share with them what you are thankful for and the reasons for the same.
One of the things we all are thankful for is our daily meal and a Thanksgiving meal is so scrumptious that we should be particularly thankful for it. Traditionally in the United States a Thanksgiving meal consists of a stuffed and roasted turkey with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie among other things. The staple of a Thanksgiving meal is a turkey. Show and explain them the related picture of the traditional food of the Thanksgiving feast.
When we celebrate the festival in India we may use substitutes according to our dietary preferences, but the spirit behind the meal remains the same – sharing a meal with family and being thankful for it.
All celebrations should be fun. To retain the spirit of this festival you could get your children to make a turkey using a few simple craft staples such as coloured paper, a pair of scissors and glue. Here’s what you do:
- Brown chart/construction paper
- Craft/ice-cream stick
- Red, and yellow construction paper
- Wiggle eyes
- Paper from old magazine
How to make the Turkey
- Cut out a square for the face of the turkey from the brown chart/construction paper
- 2. Draw or stick eyes on it
- Cut a yellow triangle for the beak
- From the red construction paper cut the turkey’s wattle
- Create the tail feathers by cutting feather shape from recycled paper or old magazine pages
- Encourage the children to glue the beak, the eyes and the tail feathers to the brown paper cut-out
- Cover the back of the tail feathers cut-outs
Voila! The turkey is ready.
Isn’t it wonderful how we have so many reasons to celebrate in life? Whether the festival is of Indian origin or not, as long as we have our friends and family and joy in our hearts we can celebrate.
At Aptech Montana International Preschool, we celebrate all special days. You are welcome to be a part of the celebrations. Locate your nearest preschool here.