Thanksgiving Facts For Kids – With Historical Background

Thanksgiving is super special for kids because it’s a time when we gather with family and friends to say “thank you” for all the good things in our lives. It’s like a giant hug from the heart! We eat yummy food, like turkey and pie, and play fun games. It’s not just about the food, though.

Thanksgiving helps us remember to be grateful and appreciate the people we love. We share joy, and kindness, and create happy memories. It’s like a big, cozy, thankful party where everyone brings their smiles, and we celebrate being together and saying “thanks” for the love and warmth in our lives.

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50 Thanksgiving Facts For Kids

  1. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States.
  2. The first Thanksgiving occurred in 1621 when Pilgrims and Native Americans shared a feast.
  3. Turkey has been a Thanksgiving tradition since the 1800s.
  4. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1924.
  5. Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1863, thanks to President Abraham Lincoln.
  6. Pumpkin pie is a classic Thanksgiving dessert.
  7. Cranberries are a staple, and their sauce is often served with turkey.
  8. The horn-shaped basket, cornucopia, is a symbol of abundance during Thanksgiving.
  9. The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday, a busy shopping day.
  10. Thanksgiving Day football games are a popular tradition.
  11. The wishbone tradition involves breaking it for good luck.
  12. Native Americans introduced the Pilgrims to popcorn during the first Thanksgiving.
  13. The Mayflower was the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America.
  14. Canada also celebrates Thanksgiving but on the second Monday of October.
  15. The Pilgrims’ feast lasted three days during the first Thanksgiving.
  16. President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday in 1939, causing confusion.
  17. The first TV dinner was created as a solution to excess Thanksgiving leftovers.
  18. The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line started in 1981 to help with turkey cooking questions.
  19. The largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed over 3,600 pounds.
  20. Turkeys can run at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.
  21. Sarah Josepha Hale, an influential writer, campaigned for Thanksgiving to become a national holiday.
  22. The tradition of pardoning a turkey by the president began with Abraham Lincoln’s son.
  23. The average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving is around 4,500.
  24. The Detroit Lions have hosted a Thanksgiving Day football game every year since 1934.
  25. Thanksgiving is a time for expressing gratitude and appreciation.
  26. The Pilgrims’ journey on the Mayflower lasted 66 days.
  27. The first Thanksgiving had no forks; people used spoons, knives, and their fingers.
  28. Minnesota produces the most turkeys in the United States.
  29. Stuffing inside the turkey is called “dressing” in some regions.
  30. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade featured live animals from the Central Park Zoo.
  31. The Pilgrims didn’t have pumpkin pie at the first Thanksgiving; they had boiled pumpkin.
  32. Black Friday got its name from the accounting practice of recording profits in black ink.
  33. The iconic Green Bean Casserole was created in 1955 by the Campbell Soup Company.
  34. The heaviest turkey ever recorded weighed 86 pounds.
  35. Some Native American tribes hold a National Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving.
  36. The tradition of breaking the wishbone for luck dates back to the Etruscans.
  37. Thomas Jefferson thought Thanksgiving was a “silly” idea and did not recognize it.
  38. The word “cornucopia” comes from two Latin words: cornu (horn) and copia (plenty).
  39. Turkeys have a distinctive gobble, and only male turkeys, called toms, gobble.
  40. The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys both have a long-standing tradition of playing on Thanksgiving Day.
  41. The tradition of Thanksgiving parades dates back to the 1920s.
  42. “Jingle Bells” was originally written for Thanksgiving, not Christmas.
  43. The first Thanksgiving did not include pies; ovens were not available.
  44. The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line receives over 100,000 calls each holiday season.
  45. The concept of Thanksgiving as a day of giving thanks is rooted in religious and cultural traditions.
  46. Squanto, a Native American, helped the Pilgrims by teaching them agricultural techniques.
  47. The Pilgrims’ first winter in America was challenging, and many did not survive.
  48. Thanksgiving became a legal holiday in all states in 1941.
  49. Some people participate in “Turkey Trots,” which are Thanksgiving Day running events.
  50. The official annual turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House started in 1989.

What Is The Real Story Of Thanksgiving For Kids?

What Is The Real Story Of Thanksgiving For Kids

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there were some people called Pilgrims. They sailed on a big ship called the Mayflower to a new land, hoping to find a place where they could live freely and happily.

But when they arrived, it was tough. They didn’t know how to grow food in this new place, and they faced many challenges. Luckily, kind Native Americans, like Squanto and his friends, helped the Pilgrims. They taught them how to plant crops like corn, squash, and beans, and they all worked together.

When the harvest season came, the Pilgrims and the Native Americans decided to have a big feast to celebrate and give thanks for the good things that happened. They shared delicious food like turkey, pumpkins, and berries. It was the very first Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is now a special day when families and friends come together, just like the Pilgrims and Native Americans did, to share a yummy feast and say thank you for all the good things in their lives. It’s a day filled with happiness, gratitude, and lots of tasty food!

How Do We Teach My Child About Thanksgiving?

Teaching your child about Thanksgiving is a wonderful way to share traditions and values. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Share the Story

  • Begin with a simple and engaging telling of the first Thanksgiving story. Use age-appropriate language and maybe even some fun visuals.

Interactive Activities

  • Plan hands-on activities like drawing pictures of Pilgrims and Native Americans, or even a small craft project related to Thanksgiving.

Read Thanksgiving Books

  • Choose age-appropriate books that explain the history and traditions of Thanksgiving. Read together and discuss what you’ve learned.

Express Gratitude

  • Encourage your child to think about what they are thankful for. Create a gratitude jar or list where everyone can share what makes them happy and grateful.

Cook Together

  • Involve your child in Thanksgiving meal preparations. Simple tasks like mixing, measuring, or even setting the table can make them feel part of the celebration.

Watch Kid-Friendly Videos

  • There are many educational videos and cartoons about Thanksgiving that can make learning fun. Consider watching some with your child.

Visit Historical Sites or Museums

  • If possible, take a trip to historical sites or museums where they can learn more about the Pilgrims and Native Americans.

Cultural Awareness

  • Emphasize the importance of understanding and respecting different cultures. Teach them that Thanksgiving is not only about the past but also about being kind and inclusive.

Family Traditions

  • Share your family’s Thanksgiving traditions and explain why they are important to you. This helps your child connect with the celebration on a personal level.

Volunteer Together

  • Show the spirit of giving by engaging in volunteer activities. Helping others less fortunate can teach the value of kindness and generosity.

Play Games

  • Incorporate fun and educational games related to Thanksgiving. This could include word searches, puzzles, or even a “turkey trot” race in the backyard.

Reflect and Discuss

  • After Thanksgiving, reflect on the day. Discuss what your child enjoyed the most, what they learned, and why being thankful is important.

Thanksgiving Around the World

Thanksgiving Around the World

While Thanksgiving is widely celebrated in the United States as a time for expressing gratitude and sharing a festive meal with family and friends, similar harvest festivals and expressions of thankfulness exist worldwide. While the customs and specific dates may differ, the essence of giving thanks for the harvest and blessings is a universal theme.


  • In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October. It shares similarities with the American celebration, involving a feast with family and friends. Canadians express gratitude for the harvest and blessings of the past year.


  • Liberia celebrates Thanksgiving on the first Thursday of November. The celebration is influenced by American traditions, as the country was founded by freed American slaves in the 19th century.


  • In Grenada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on October 25th. It is a day to give thanks for the harvest and is marked with church services, feasts, and cultural events.


  • Germany celebrates Erntedankfest, or Harvest Festival, in late September or early October. It involves parades, music, dancing, and church services, focusing on thanking for the harvest.


  • In Japan, the Labor Thanksgiving Day, known as Kinrō Kansha no Hi, is celebrated on November 23rd. It’s a day to give thanks for workers’ rights and the blessings of the harvest.


  • The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is a time of thanksgiving in China. Families gather to appreciate the moon’s beauty, share mooncakes, and express gratitude for the harvest.


  • Sukkot, a Jewish festival, is a time of thanksgiving for the fall harvest. Families build temporary shelters called sukkahs, and prayers and meals are held in these structures.


  • Australians celebrate a similar holiday known as Harvest Festival or Thanksgiving, which involves giving thanks for the abundance of the harvest. It is often marked by community events and charitable activities.

Winding Up

As we wrap up our journey through the wonderful world of Thanksgiving, remember, it’s not just about the turkey and pies. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate kindness, share joy, and be grateful for the love and warmth around us.

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