Thanksgiving Day Devotions and Activities
Everyone is included in Thanksgiving, and that is part of the reason why we love it so much. It offers a chance for friends and family to break bread together and join hands over all the beauty that life offers them. Christians know we have God to thank for our blessings, and we must keep Him at the forefront of our celebrations.
Here are eight Thanksgiving Day devotions and activities to incorporate into your thanksgiving church program and to keep your family focused on what’s important on this special day.
1. Recreate the Story
Little ones love to play make-believe, and it’s a highly effective learning technique too. Make the most of this with an acting activity that brings them directly into the story. Use the story of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19) to demonstrate that Jesus was only pleased with the person who came back to give thanks after He healed him. Include this in your Thanksgiving activities for children’s church, and let the kids dress up with bandages and face paint!
2. Celebrate With Song
Nehemiah 12:27-46 is all about the limitless joy felt by the Israelites following the reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem. Encourage your kids to give thanks in a dynamic and joyful way using any instruments or improvising with pots and pans if you don’t have any. Build these walls and march around while cheering your thanks from the top of your lungs. Religious Thanksgiving activities involving songs are a great way to incorporate the power of the gospel into your Thanksgiving programs for church.
3. Get Stuck in a Book
Help your kids understand the “why” behind their endless gratitude this November by encouraging them to read a Thanksgiving book for kids. Keep Jesus in the forefront of their celebrations, from school to home to Sunday school, with one of these books for kids. The holiday season can be busy and overwhelming, so don’t forget to let your little ones have a little downtime with some simple thanksgiving day devotions and activities.
4. Chain Reactions
Collect construction paper, scissors, stickers, pencils, and crayons to craft a 'God is Good' chain. Ask your children to consider the various ways that God is good while cutting the paper into strips. Ask them to write or draw these qualities on the strips, then join them to make a chain and hang it somewhere that will serve as a constant reminder of God's goodness to your family. Highlight that everyone’s blessings overlap, and we have the power to bring joy to the lives of others, too.
5. Count Your Blessings
Start this project several weeks before Thanksgiving to give your family time to think about their blessings. Leave a box beside some paper and a pen, and encourage everyone to write at least one thing daily. For young kids who may not be able to write, help them by offering them a magazine to cut images out of or letting them draw things instead. Open this box on Thanksgiving Day and spend an hour sharing your stories and reliving your joy.
6. Decorate the Table
Transform the boring task of setting the table into a game that will get your children to lend a helping hand. Ask them to make name-placing cards using colorful paper, and write down the name of everyone who will be joining you for the meal. On the other side, write a scripture verse that’s all about being thankful for God, and ask each person to read theirs before you begin the meal. This acts as a communal Thanksgiving prayer.
7. Bible-Related Games
Keep the Biblical theme running well into the festivities with a host of Bible activities to get the whole family involved. Write simple tasks like singing a Thanksgiving song, sharing a funny Thanksgiving story, and even imitating a turkey! Involve various things to keep everyone engaged, fold them up, and place them in a bowl as an after-dinner game. Why not add this to your list of Thanksgiving games for church, too?
8. Share the Light of God
Visually share your gratitude for God with an ambiance-inducing candle pass. Give each person around the table an unlit votive candle and say that this represents our lives without God. Go around the circle and the thing you are most grateful for, and light your candle as you do it. Then, ‘pass the torch’ to the next person, lighting their candle with your own. Offer young children a fake or electronic candle instead. This will work well as a part of your Thanksgiving service ideas, as it brings congregants together to share their stories.
Get creative with your thanksgiving activities for church youth but be sure to remind them of who we have to thank. While it is fun to include some Thanksgiving church activities as a break for their brains, Thanksgiving religion projects that deepen their faith are a must. You could even incorporate some classic Christian games into the fun and games, getting your kids stuck into Bible trivia and memory games.
Encourage parents at your church to take these thanksgiving day devotions and activities home to keep kids thinking about Jesus throughout the festive period. Most importantly, remember to share in the joy of God and give thanks together throughout this period (and always).