Ah, Thanksgiving. Food, family, fun, and…education. Well, you probably figured out by now that this would have something to do with learning. Thanksgiving may be one of my favorite holidays, but it also offers a lot of opportunities for kids to make great memories as well as practice important skills.
As soon as your child develops fine motor skills, he’s ready to start measuring! While younger children should simply be handed the proper cup or spoon, older kids can be instructed to find the correct size for themselves. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, try making your child find the right combination of cups to make a certain measurement rather than just handing them the 3/4 cup measurement. Have them find as many combinations as possible! This can be an easy, real-world introduction to fractions, and why they’re important!
Your family probably has some old stand-bys for Thanksgiving, but there’s always room for new traditions. Help your child find a new family classic by locating a recipe he’d like to try making. Put him in charge (with lots of support), and follow the process from start to finish. Give him a budget to work with, take him shopping, and then let it cook!
Knowing how to successfully interact with people is a huge part of growing up. Practice polite dinner conversation by having your child lead the “I’m thankful for…” conversation. While kid’s tables may be convenient, it also may be more beneficial to have kids sit with the adults. Rather than excluding children from conversations, let them be part of it. That doesn’t mean you have to spend all night talking about Legos and school, but part of growing up also means knowing how to respectfully listen to others having a conversation you may not be a part of or even understand!
How many chairs are needed at the table? How many plates, napkins, forks, spoons…you get the picture. Have your child practice some basic counting and party planning skills by helping with the preparations.
In the after-turkey daze, pull out some board games for family entertainment. A few personal family favorites include Jenga, Apples to Apples, and Scrabble! If you’re feeling more motivated, try making up some games of your own. Ever heard of pin the feather on the turkey?
The history of Thanksgiving is also a time to reflect on colonization in America. Rather than reinforcing the Pilgrim/Indian story, try a new approach that appreciates the themes of Thanksgiving (gratitude, friends and family) but also addresses issues in its mythological origins. For tips on how to do this effectively, try this excellent EducationWorld article.
What are some other tips you have for making Thanksgiving educational?
We here at TutorDoctor WNY wish you and your loved ones a very happy Thanksgiving!