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The holidays are filled with so many traditions that you may have grown up with your family, and getting to start Thanksgiving traditions with your own kids can add so much joy to the season.
I don’t know about you but getting to experience Thanksgiving and Christmas with a kid brings back all of the fun from when I was little. It is probably, even more, fun now just getting to watch my daughter experience all of the fall fun each year and I bet it gets better as she gets older (until Middle School).
This is our first Thanksgiving as a family of three and there are so many traditions that I want to start. Since I have quite a few on my list, I wanted to share them here with you so you can start your own family traditions, or add to your family’s current list!
FAMILY FRIENDLY FALL ACTIVITIES
PUMPKIN PATCH & PUMPKIN PAINTING
Obviously, the cutest pictures of kids in the fall are when they are surrounded by pumpkins. Instagram can verify this as fact. But my baby is a bit too young for pumpkin carving and my husband doesn’t like the mess that comes with the insides of a pumpkin. So I wanted to start an alternative tradition in pumpkin painting! All you need is a pumpkin, some paints (washable paints like these are best for kids, of course), soft brushes and stencils (optional). Then you can go to town decorating those pumpkins!
Pro’s of pumpkin painting: They last much longer, and you can use them as decoration on your Thanksgiving table.
Your kids are going to be up early anyway, might as well get some exercise before all that stuffing! I am not going about the trotting in a competitive sort of way, just a brisk enough walk to start glistening, ya know? And you are all done by 9:00 AM! Plenty of time to get the food in the oven or get to grandmas for that delicious feast (that you earned).
My family has actually tried to be a turkey trot family several times and it has backfired on us several times. My husband, in particular, is just not a morning person, so asking him to get up and run when it is chilly is just not an ideal holiday activity.
So I typically do a long ride on my Peloton on Thanksgiving morning so I can feel less guilty about eating several portions of deserts later that day.
If trotting isn’t your thing, make a family tradition to enjoy the local Thanksgiving Parade! Floats, marching bands, and family – there are few things better than that! There is also the option to stay indoors and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (a favorite in my parent’s house). That gave my mom plenty of extra time to cook and get the house ready before our family arrived. And we loved watching all of the performances and D-list celebrities usher in Thanksgiving.
VOLUNTEER AS A FAMILY
Giving away your time to others is something that I believe is very important and it is great to set an example of this for your kids from the get-go. Find somewhere to volunteer where everyone can get involved. If your kids are too young to sort items at the food pantry, feel free to strap them in your favorite carrier (mine is this LilleBaby All Seasons carrier) and volunteer with that baby on your back!
As your kids get older, this will be a sweet tradition that they will cherish.
I have so many fond memories of cooking in the kitchen with my mom on Thanksgiving. A lot of kids cooked with their mothers year round, but my mom owned her own business and had an incredible habit of adopting any cause or person who needed her help, so we ate take out a lot.
But on Thanksgiving, my mom would show us that she did not lack talent in the kitchen. We got up early in the morning and would make everything from scratch. It was so much fun and I loved getting to spend all those hours in the kitchen with her as we prepped for the biggest dinner of the year.
Now, baby Kinsley can’t really do much in the kitchen just yet, and you can’t trust kids to roast the perfect turkey but you can try a couple of these kid-friendly recipes!
- Apple Pie Bites – from The Blond Cook
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars – from Tasty Junior
- Turkey Buckeyes – from The Housewife Modern
CREATE A GRATITUDE TREE
Use some construction paper and cut out some leaf shapes and as everyone is coming in the door for Thanksgiving, have them write down something that they are grateful for on a leaf. You can tape the leaves to a wall in a tree pattern or you can use a jewelry tree and hang the leaves on there with some pretty ribbon. It would make a great centerpiece.
START A FAMILY TABLE RUNNER
This would be a tradition that would build each year. Grab a white table runner and some fabric markers and have everyone write down a favorite memory or something they are grateful for from the past year. Each Thanksgiving, get out the same table runner and repeat the process. It will be so sweet to look back each year on all of the memories your family has built together!
What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? Let me know in the comments below! I am excited to see what Thanksgiving traditions you start with your kids!