THANKSGIVING FAMILY ACTIVITIES
We are pleased to offer Thanksgiving Worship Family Packets that contain a number of activities for our families to use to help their young ones engage during worship time. The packets can be picked up during the week by Door 17 of our Oak Brook campus and Door 1 of our Butterfield location (while supplies last).
If you aren't able to pick a packet up, we encourage you to download this discussion sheet and gather together the necessary supplies: crayons, a black crayon, popsicle sticks and paper. Watch this short tutorial for an easy and fun project to do with your family. **Our thanks to bensound.com for the awesome music!
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Wednesday, November 25 | 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 26 | 9:00 a.m.
Craft ideas, games and special ways to give thanks!
For this fun craft, you can use a plain piece of paper or plain white paper plates, and markers. If you have construction paper, scissors and glue you can take it to the next level.
If using paper: Ask your child to trace their hands with their fingers spread out. Make the thumb your turkey’s head to decorate as you wish. On the other fingers write who and what you are thankful for and decorate. Next, decorate the background for your turkey!
If using a paper plate or construction paper: Start with your white paper plate. This will be the face of your turkey, use markers or crayons to color it brown! Then give your turkey a fun face, you can draw it or you can use construction paper and glue on the eyes, beak and wattle. Now it is time for feathers! Trace your hands onto the construction paper and cut them out. You will need several handprints and if possible in a variety of colors. Next, write who and what you are thankful for on each of the fingers. Once you're done, glue the feathers/handprints to the back of the plate with your glue. It is okay to let the feathers overlap.
Encourage your children to think about all the things they are thankful for; not just the typical things (family, friends, etc.) but also the small and even silly things. For instance, I am thankful for snuggling during football games! Remind them again that it is not just the big things we should be thankful for, but the little things too!
If you have a paper plate it will make it easier for your wreath to stay round (in a circle). You will need construction paper to trace their hands and then cut them out. When the handprints are finished you can write who and what they are thankful for on them. Cut out the center of the plate and arrange how you would like the handprints and glue them onto a paper plate. You can also hang a family photo to show in the center of your wreath or dangle the message, “We are thankful for.” This makes for a wonderful gift for those family members who can’t join you this year.
Thankful - Grateful Jar or Runner
Thanksgiving might happen only one day a year, but it can be the first day where you commit to giving daily thanks throughout Advent.
All you need is a jar (any container will do) and slips of paper and a pen. Leave the jar out on the kitchen table or popular spot in your home. On Thanksgiving, and if possible the week before, encourage your family members to start filling it with notes about what they are thankful for and then to add to it in the days and weeks to come. Reach in after your Thanksgiving meal and read all the wonderful things your family is thankful for and keep adding to the jar each day. Reach in and read a few on the days that you all need some encouragement as it will bless your family!
If you have a roll of paper spread it down the center of your Thanksgiving table on top of your tablecloth and set your table with place settings. You may even want to write down the center in large letters, “Give Thanks.” Please make sure to include colored pencils, crayons, markers and pens for each person. As you gather at the table for your meal encourage everyone to write on the runner what they are thankful for this year. Once everyone is done go around the table and share what you wrote if you feel comfortable.
Create Family Placemats or Place Cards
Have the children in your family make a place card or placemat for each place setting around your Thanksgiving table. On one side, write names of everyone who will be around the table; on the other, a Scripture verse or why they are thankful for that person.
Let your Lights Shine
Make sure you have a votive or battery candle for each person at your Thanksgiving table. Give an unlit votive candle to each person. Before you pray and give thanks for your meal tell everyone why they have a candle in front of them and explain that everyone will share something they are thankful for. Begin by lighting your own candle and thanking God for a specific blessing. Then, continue the process around the table until all the candles are lit, making sure to keep the flames away from small children. Enjoy your family meal by candlelight as a reminder of God’s blessings in your lives.
Tablecloth of Memories
Buy fabric pens and a white or light tablecloth especially for Thanksgiving. Make sure the majority of the cloth is absolutely plain.
Ask your family and guests to gather at your table and ask them to write something on the tablecloth that they are thankful for. Everyone will take turns writing short notes on the cloth, and then every year on Thanksgiving you will continue to bring out the pens. If your children are too young to write trace their hand and write in their name and the date. The tablecloth over time will become a treasured and fun family memory that you can add to each year and as your family grows.
Give Thanks Game
Have everyone sit in a circle. Play praise music and have everyone pass an object, such as a foam ball or a stuffed animal. Pause the music at varying intervals. When the music stops, the person with the object must say one thing he/she is thankful for. Play until everyone gets at least one chance to share and thank God.
For older kids, add a challenge and have kids throw the object across the circle instead of passing it. This adds an element of surprise because kids won’t know if they’ll have the object when the music stops.
During the game, have another family member write out a list of all the things that were mentioned. Then post the list in your home so they can be seen and read in the weeks following Thanksgiving.