Build anticipation for Thanksgiving Day by working with the children to prepare for the following activities. You can do steps 1-3 any day this week. Keep this guide on hand for the holiday.

• Place a small plant or arrangement as a centerpiece for your table.
• Cut leaf shapes out of the construction paper or trace/cut a child’s hand to make a special leaf. Punch a hole in the paper and run ribbon through it. Place the papers in a basket with pencils/crayons.
• Tell the children that on Thanksgiving Day each family member and guest who arrives will be invited to write out what they are thankful for on one or more of the leaves. Younger children will be invited to draw a picture or cut/paste something out of a magazine.
• Before you begin eating the Thanksgiving meal place each of the leaves on the centerpiece “tree.”
• During the meal, take turns allowing everyone at the table to share what they wrote on their leaf.
Read 1 Chronicles 29:13 together: “Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name.”
• End your time together by asking the oldest person to thank God for His abundance and the many blessings He has given your family.

Optional: When the meal is over, take the thankful leaves and record the items of thanks that were written down in a Thankful Journal to update each Thanksgiving and review the prior years’ blessings together.

Optional: When you are finished, have any children draw on a poster a tree trunk, grass, flowers, etc. Take the leaves and attach them. Hang the poster during the next couple of weeks to remind you of the things you are thankful for.

Going Further: Visit the Faith-Filled Holidays page to download a guide to this and other ideas to use throughout the holiday season. You can also download the free Intentional Holidays episode of our podcast and a holiday memory book template for the kids.