I really want my kids to appreciate Thanksgiving for what it is and understand how important it is. As part of our homeschool classroom party for Thanksgiving we had a wonderful Thanksgiving feast. I thought I would share some of these ideas with you in case you are looking for some Thanksgiving Feast Ideas for a classroom party or neighborhood get-together. I LOVE to have a special feast just with the kids. Here are a few things to give you ideas of what you can do to re-create this tradition with your own kids…
How many Pilgrim children were at the First Thanksgiving? Did they have to take baths to get ready for the big celebration? If you were there, would you have eaten turkey? What about cranberry sauce? Pumpkin pie? This fun book answers all kinds of great questions for curious kids.
ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS AT A THANKSGIVING FEAST
We have fun having the kids prepare for their feast. One way to do this is to make woven placemats out of paper. They have fun weaving and decorating them, and then they get to use them the day of the feast! They also love making their hats and Indian vests out of paper bags.
The day of the feast is all about fun. But, I also like to have a discussion with them about the things we’ve learned about the pilgrims and Indians over the course of the last few days. One of the things that the kids learn is about how hard life was for the people that lived at that time and how they had to make everything they needed themselves.
Some fun things to learn and incorporate into your feast are facts about the pilgrim children. This resonates with the kids and helps them to gain a greater understanding of what things were like at the time of the First Thanksgiving. Some of the fun things to teach the kids and try to incorporate into your Thanksgiving Feast for your Classroom:
- the Pilgrim Children were the last to eat after they had completed their chores
- Pilgrim Children were not allowed to talk during the meal
- Pilgrim children were not allowed to sit down during the meal, the seats were reserved for the adults
- the Pilgrims had to eat with their hands
One of the chores I had the kids do was to make the butter for the cornbread. This was easy with jars and cream and salt. They each got a jar and had to shake it until they had butter to use for their meal. It was hard work doing all that shaking for 10 minutes but it was also a lot of fun. Here’s an easy how-to: (baby food jars work really well for small batches.)
HOW TO MAKE BUTTER FOR YOUR THANKSGIVING FEAST
A Jar with a lid
Salt to Taste
- Fill a jar halfway with heavy cream (baby food jars work great for small batches), and screw the lid on tight.
- Shake the jar up and down until the cream thickens and begins to stick together.
- Add salt to taste
FOODS TO SERVE AT YOUR THANKSGIVING FEAST
Here are a few things to try when you have your Thanksgiving feast to make it a little more authentic:
Hasty Pudding (keep in mind that they probably didn’t have sugar, so the maple syrup is more likely authentic)
This pudding recipe was originally brought over from England was called “Indian Pudding” when it was made in Colonial America since cornmeal was cheaper and more readily available. As a British dish, it was a quick pudding to make using a sweetened porridge made from flour, tapioca or oatmeal and milk. Here the recipe was transformed to use local ingredients — cornmeal, molasses or maple syrup and milk. But because it uses cornmeal, it’s anything but “hasty” since it requires 2 hours to bake. But the wait is worth it! If you want to be truly authentic, serve as an appetizer.
2 cups milk
2 cups light cream
3 tablespoons stone ground yellow cornmeal
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
In a heavy pan scald milk and cream. Gradually sprinkle with yellow cornmeal and bring to a boil, stirring briskly. Stir in sugar, maple syrup, butter and all the other dry ingredients. Let the mixture cool slightly.
In a small bowl beat the eggs with the milk/cream mixture. Pour the batter into a buttered 1 ½ quart baking dish and bake in a moderately slow oven (325 degrees F) for 2 hours.
Serve hot or warm with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.
Other things we serve…not necessarily authentic, but great for eating with hands:
Corn on the Cobb
We also have dried berries and fruits, nuts and other foods that were likely served in place of many of the things we eat today.
Another fun thing you can do if you don’t want to do a full blown feast is round up the neighborhood kids and have them each bring something to share. Sit all the kids on a blanket with some paper plates and they can each go around and give each child some of the food they brought to remind them of how Thanksgiving is all about sharing the harvest and the bounty that the Lord has blessed you with. It’s easy and fun. You can read from the “If you were there” book, too!
It is loads of fun and the kids (and I) have learned a ton!! I hope you are able to fit a couple of these fun activities into your busy holiday season and make some fun memories with your kids!!
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Looking for more fun and easy DIY projects? Our DIY Gallery is FULL of them! You can find lots of Thanksgiving Ideas in our Thanksgiving Gallery. Check out our DIY washi tape feathers which make great gift toppers, and the cute glittered feather turkeys that Ash made.