Thanksgiving activities are a great way for everyone to have fun. They solve the age old question...once the meal is finished, what now? Doing the dishes doesn’t count.
Thanksgiving is a day that focuses on one rather large fabulous meal. It is the memory and anticipation of this meal that makes mouths water for months before and after. But what else is there to do? The traditional festivities of Thanksgiving dictate very little else. If the post turkey consumption staring contest, nap or sports center report have lost their thrill, it might be time to try something new with a few Thanksgiving activities sure to entertain.
Many of us spent the Thanksgivings of our youth at Grandma’s house. Grandma sometimes lived in a tiny little fly speck of a town in the absolute middle of nowhere, but we loved it there. In spite of no TV reception, malls, movie theaters or even gas stations there was always something to do. Some of the most memorable Thanksgiving activities from those times are still enjoyed today...like the following:
It sounds simple, but there is no better answer to ‘what are we gonna do now?’ Than lacing up the sneakers and getting moving. While you walk, as we did, you can discuss the sights and sounds that you observe and list reasons for gratitude. Playing simple games like eye spy or trying to name the birds by their songs adds a dimension of play. We would also walk past places of significance to our family’s history. We loved to hear stories about our grandparent’s first home, or see the chicken coup that housed a notoriously blood thirsty rooster. These stories are what I prized most. Walking past the actual site of occurrence is not important, just relating the tales to the children is more than enough.
If the walk is taken before the big meal it will get the kids out from under your feet in the kitchen. The help my aunts could have been was small in comparison with the service of removing 10 plus sets of busy little fingers from the food prep area. I often suspect the removal of extra ‘help’ is where the idea of an annual walk originated.
If getting rid of kitchen helpers is not your idea of a good time, try incorporating smaller less experienced hands by adding tasks that are fun and easy. We always arranged the veggie, and deli trays. The feeling of accomplishment and contribution was great. Other tasks youngsters can help with in the kitchen include setting the table, whipping cream, sneaking taste tests, putting marshmallows on the yams, and placing the rolls in a basket.
One very memorable year we made butter. Before your drift off into visions of cows and a butter churn, let me assure you it was nothing like that and you can do it later today if you’d like. The only equipment needed is a clean jar with a tightly fitting lid. Ingredients are simple: heavy whipping cream. (It should be fresh, not from the cow, but never frozen.) OK, you’ve caught the vision: no cows, no churns and no bonnets. To make butter, put the cream in the jar and close the lid tightly. Give the jar to the children and tell them to get shaking. It can take anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour for the butter to form, depending on how vigorous and constant the jar is being shaken. Arms do tend to tire, so it is a good idea to have several potential jar shakers on hand. The butter will appear as a cohesive glob in the jar. Once the butter lump appears continue to shake for several minutes longer to let it set up more, and to let any additional butter form. When done, proudly place your homemade butter on the table. Note: this is pure butter, no salt or yellow coloring added so while it will taste fabulous, it might be different in taste or appearance from what you are used to.