A peek inside this post: Turkey and all the fixings are great, but let’s make the day mean a little bit more with family devotions for Thanksgiving. This kids Thanksgiving devotional will cover the history of the holiday, and with thoughtful questions and activities, will help teach gratitude on Thanksgiving. We made these printable Thanksgiving devotions with the whole family in mind. Read them together throughout the week or squeeze them in between dinner and pie! We hope you love Thankful Turkeys: a Thanksgiving devotion for Kids!
Have you ever asked yourself how you can help your kids develop a better heart of Thanksgiving? You probably want them to understand that it’s more than just celebrating with a meal on the last Thursday of November.
It’s not about the Black Friday sales. Or even the sales that have started happening on Thanksgiving Day.
I’ve been there and have some resources, ideas, and a devotion you can read with your kids on or before Thanksgiving.
>>Don’t miss the printable version of this Thanksgiving Devotion for Kids below!
Whether you’re celebrating with just your immediate family this year, or fifty extended family members, this Thanksgiving Devotion will be a great way to engage the children and help prepare their hearts for the holiday. Can’t you just picture gathering all the kids for a sweet lesson in between dinner and pie?
Thankful Turkeys: A Thanksgiving Devotion for Kids
In order to understand the intended purpose of the Thanksgiving Day holiday, it’s important to look at how it began.
The first Thanksgiving in America was celebrated in November 1621. A year before that, a ship called the Mayflower left England carrying 102 passengers and about 30 crew members and headed for America. They were in search of making a living on their own and being able to practice their religion freely.
In other words, they wanted to pray, serve, and live out their faith as they desired. Not being told what to believe and how to believe it.
It was a very long and tough journey but they made it to what is known as Cape Cod, Massachusetts. To a land they had never stepped foot on. They couldn’t ask Alexa what the weather was going to be. They couldn’t order groceries off of instacart.
They spent the first winter on the boat. They struggled to find food. They got sick with diseases. Only 53 passengers made it through that winter. Several of the crew died as well.
Life was hard for those settlers. Then, they made some friends who changed their lives. Prayers were answered.
A Man Named Squanto
They met some Native Americans from the Wampanoag tribe. A man named Squanto came to meet them. He spoke English and was able to communicate with the sick, tired, and hungry settlers.
Squanto lived a hard life. He had been captured and taken to Spain. He was sold into slavery, very similarly to what happened to Joseph in the Bible. God had a plan for Squanto. Just like he had for Joseph. Just like He has for you.
Squanto learned to speak English and was able to make his way back to his homeland. He was there at just the right time the English settlers needed him.
He taught the Pilgrims (the settlers that came from England) how to plant and harvest corn. He showed them what kind of plants were dangerous. He showed them how to get sap from maple trees to use for their meals. He taught them how to provide for their families by fishing.
How do you think the new settlers felt after meeting Squanto?
I picture them celebrating and praising God.
Celebration and Thanksgiving
They were beyond thankful. They planted crops. They made homes. They provided for their families. They fought sickness. The next fall, after harvest, they celebrated. In November of 1621 they had a 3 day feast, the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. They knew how to celebrate!
I have never been to a celebration that lasted more than a day. Have you?
This idea of thankfulness seemed to stick. So much so that in 1863 President Abe Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November to be a day of thanksgiving and praise. In 1941 Congress ruled Thanksgiving Day to be a legal holiday.
What Happens When We Are Thankful
Do you know that you are honoring God when you have a thankful heart?
When you spend time appreciating what you have and not focusing on what you don’t have?
Paul tells us in Philippians 4:4-6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
There is something that changes in US when we have a heart of thankfulness. When we acknowledge the blessings we have. Not just one day out of the year but every single day.
What are you thankful for today?
More Ways to Teach Gratitude on Thanksgiving
Doing family devotions for Thanksgiving is a great way to prepare hearts, young and old, for the holiday. Here are a few more ways that you can foster feelings of gratitude this Thanksgiving:
1| Start a thankful pumpkin.
For the past 6 years, we have had a pumpkin that we keep in our dining room on our table. At dinner we ask the boys to share a couple things they are thankful for and write them on the pumpkin with a sharpie. It’s one of our favorite traditions. We usually start at the beginning of November.
2| Take a prayer walk/drive through your neighborhood praying specifically for your neighbors.
Give thanks for them, even if you haven’t met them yet.
I just came across this book recently and ordered a copy for our family. It is very well written with beautiful illustrations. It was a great way to see how God was working throughout history.
4| Take communion as a family and give thanks to God for sending His son, Jesus, to die for our sins so we can be with him in heaven.
5| Make and deliver a pie to a homebound friend with a note sharing how thankful you are for them.
6| Read our How to Teach Your Child Gratitude.
See how a simple dinner of Rice and Beans by candlelight can remind your kids just how blessed they are!
7| Give some of your favorite toys, games, and books away to others.
Not just stuff you don’t need.
8| Go screen free the week of Thanksgiving.
Light a fire. Eat dinner by candlelight. Enjoy the simpleness of being together.
9| Buy some of your favorite snacks and take them to a local food pantry so others can grab those favorite food items to enjoy.
Your Printable Thanksgiving Devotions
For your convenience, we have turned this heartfelt devotion into a printable (ad-free) PDF. You can get your copy here.
Final Thoughts on Family Devotions for Thanksgiving
I hope these ideas and the devotion will help you and your family prepare your hearts for Thanksgiving!
I am wishing you so much joy as you connect with those you love and give praise to the One who loves you so perfectly.
Family Games at Thanksgiving: Here’s another way to keep the whole family engaged on Thanksgiving! These 7 Games are AWESOME to play after the leftovers are put away!
Thanksgiving Devotion for Women: Don’t just focus on preparing the kids’ hearts for Thanksgiving —- use this 5-day devotional series to grow your own attitude of gratitude!
Simple Fall Recipes for Kids Whether your kids like to help prepare, or just enjoy the final result, they’ll love these yummy fall foods!
Simple Fall Printables: Home Decor for Practically Nothing – Ready to decorate for the season? Use these adorable printables to display in your home and bring on the fall vibes!