Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to come together as a family, express gratitude, and enjoy delicious meals. But it’s also an opportunity to teach important life skills for teens & kids that extend beyond the holiday season.
By involving your kids in various Thanksgiving activities, you can impart valuable lessons about cooking, cleaning, gratitude, creativity, and communication. In this blog post, we will explore five Thanksgiving activities that can help teach these essential life skills to teens & kids.
1. Bake a Dessert
Life Skill: Cooking and Baking
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to practice making delicious desserts, and involving your kids in baking can be a fun and educational experience. It’s also the perfect kind of activity to practice life skills because they are motivated by the idea of eating what they make!
Baking teaches children to be detail oriented, patient and creative.. Plus, it’s an opportunity to bond while making something sweet and delicious for the family to enjoy.
Activity: Start by choosing a dessert recipe that’s age-appropriate for your child’s skill level. Younger kids can help with simple tasks like mixing, measuring ingredients, and decorating cookies, while older children and teens can bake more complex recipes.
A pumpkin pie, apple crisp, or sugar cookies can be excellent traditional choices that everyone enjoys.
2. Clean the Kitchen with Pumpkin Spice
Life Skill: Cleaning and Organization
After indulging in a delightful Thanksgiving feast, it’s time to clean up, and this is another excellent opportunity to teach your kids valuable life skills for teens or younger ones.
Cleaning and organization skills are essential for maintaining a tidy and functional living space. Make the process more enjoyable by incorporating the spicey scents and flavors of the season.
I personally love to keep a pan of water simmering on the stove with cinnamon sticks and cloves while we are preparing for the holidays.
Activity: Create a cleaning checklist that includes specific tasks for each child based on their age and abilities.
For example, younger kids can help clear the table, while older children can assist with dishwashing, wiping down countertops, and sweeping.
Add a touch of fun by making a DIY pumpkin spice cleaning solution. Mix together equal parts of water and vinegar with a few drops of cinnamon and cloves essential oils for a delightful fall aroma.
3. Life Skills for Teens Shows Gratitude with Notes & Words
Life Skill: Gratitude and Communication
Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks, and teaching your kids how to express gratitude is a valuable life lesson.
Gratitude helps kids develop empathy, positive attitudes, and strong communication skills. Encourage them to express their thanks not just on Thanksgiving but throughout the year.
Activity: Have a family tradition where each member writes a gratitude note or letter to express what are you thankful for.
Younger children can draw pictures or use stickers to decorate their notes, while older kids can write heartfelt messages. These notes can be read aloud during the Thanksgiving meal or placed in a gratitude jar to be revisited throughout the year.
In our family, we also make a gratitude tree to put on the wall as a way to remember all month long the things and people we are thankful for.
4. Use What You Have to Make Something New
Life Skill: Creativity and Resourcefulness
Teaching kids to be creative and resourceful is a valuable life skill that can serve them well in various aspects of life. It can help them economize their resources and be content without always needing to buy things to be happy.
Thanksgiving provides an excellent opportunity to encourage your children to use what’s available to create something new and imaginative.
Activity: Challenge your kids to create fall decorations using things you already have. They can search the yard for sticks, leaves and dried flowers. Or perhaps you have some garden squash and cornstalks that can be decoratively arranged.
Another project might be making Thanksgiving cards using scraps of paper and embellishments or using an old mason jar to make a flower arrangement. The sky is the limit but the goal is for children to realize there is value in reusing things we have in a new way.
5. Life Skills for Teens Includes Good Questions at Thanksgiving Dinner
Life Skill: Communication and Social Skills
Thanksgiving dinner often involves lively conversations and social interaction. Teaching your kids how to engage in meaningful conversations and ask thoughtful questions is a life skill that will benefit them in social situations throughout their lives.
Activity: In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, discuss the importance of good questions. Encourage your kids to brainstorm a list of questions they can ask relatives or friends during the gathering.
Questions could range from inquiring about a favorite Thanksgiving memory to asking for advice or insights. Role-play these interactions to practice.
Family Traditions Are Built With Life Skills Activities
Incorporating these Thanksgiving activities into your family traditions will not only create memorable moments but also help your children & teens develop essential life skills.
From cooking and cleaning to expressing gratitude, being creative, and engaging in meaningful conversations, these activities will equip your kids with valuable tools they can carry with them throughout their lives.
Thanksgiving is not just about the delicious food; it’s an opportunity to enrich the minds and hearts of your children, teaching them skills that will serve them well in the future. Start with our free Gratitude Tree Template.
At Ten Minute Momentum, Sarah McCubbin helps parents teach their kids valuable life skills, social skills and leadership skills to prepare them to step confidently into adulthood. She and her husband have 9 kids ages 5 to 21 in live in Northeast Ohio.
You can connect with her in her Facebook group Schooling Year By Year and on Instagram
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