Holidays, Thanksgiving

A little about Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving Day draws near in the US, we would like to share some resources and activities to help your students learn more about this holiday.

The origin of Thanksgiving doesn’t seem to have a definite source and is widely debated. What we do know is that many places have observed a formal day of thanks, and the way it looks has evolved through the years.

The first national day of thanksgiving was declared in 1777 by the Continental Congress. Over the years, days of thanksgiving were often declared, but it wasn’t made a permanent national holiday until 1941 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill officially establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

To learn more about the history of Thanksgiving, we recommend these websites:

Activities at

Wampanoag’s “What Really Happened”, an interview

Days of Thanksgiving and Harvest Festivals are celebrated throughout the world by many different cultures.  This slideshow from the TravelChannel highlights 11 of them.

Harvest is a wealth of information about Harvest Festivals from around the world.  There are also several recipes and crafts.

A Thanksgiving Craft by Tammy:

“I’m a big fan of craft projects that will survive the years. Sure, those paper turkey projects are cute this year, but next year? After they’ve been in a box for 360-some days? A little mussed , a little squished. After two or three years in that box? Unrecognizable. I’d rather put the time and energy into helping my child make something that will still be useful and/or lovely several years down the road.

In keeping with the Sandbox to Socrates authentic Thanksgiving theme, I’ve chosen to have my son make finger-crochet napkin rings using decorative cord. (Paracord, which is popular among young crafters, will work nicely too.) I found my cord in the fabric/yarn section of Walmart, near the items needed to make draperies.

I didn’t take pictures of our crochet process, but you can find instructions with pictures HERE using light-weight yarn and HERE using heavy yarn. I prefer the heavy yarn tutorial as it makes the process easier to visualize.

Our results:

Important tip: if you use the decorative cording, wrap the end with tape and cut in the center of the taped area; otherwise your cording will unravel into an ugly mess. The blue tape is only for demonstration purposes, so you can see what I mean. I used clear tape on the actual napkin ring.

Happy Thanksgiving from our homeschool to yours!”

For a less authentic but adorable craft, check out this Thanksgiving Tree plate.

Books about Thanksgiving:

For young readers:

Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade

Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks (Reading Railroad)

The history of Thanksgiving:

1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving (I Am American)

Thanksgiving: The True Story

A look at how the holiday began and how it has changed over the years:

Thanksgiving: The American Holiday

Creating Thanksgiving Crafts (How-To Library (Cherry Lake))

Additional reading.
Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving

 Look for more recipes, crafts and music coming up next week!  


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