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Fill Up on Gratitude, Giving, and New Perspectives This Thanksgiving

For many, Thanksgiving is a day for us to remember what we’re thankful for, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy the food and festivities that make this time of year special.

As we reflect on what we are grateful for, and celebrate our families’ traditions in familiar or new ways, let’s also consider the beginnings of this holiday. Incorporating ways to honor and learn about the true story of Thanksgiving, and the authentic stories and histories of Indigenous people in America, is a powerful way to give your family a new perspective.

Continue below for educational resources about the history of Thanksgiving, activities and books for encouraging thankfulness and gratitude, tips on creating new family traditions, and programming in our Watch & Wonder block.

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Learn About Thanksgiving

Explore these PBS resources, for families and educators alike, to incorporate culturally responsive lessons and historical context into your holiday activities.

Thanksgiving: Practicing Gratitude and Honoring the Real Story

Grades PreK-3
This Thanksgiving, help your child build critical thinking skills and give them a true understanding of all there is to be thankful for. Check out this article from PBS Kids for Parents with strategies for teaching about and honoring the true story of Thanksgiving without losing our family traditions.

The First Official Thanksgiving

Grades 3-8
Most people think Thanksgiving was first observed by the Pilgrims in 1621. Explore remote learning-friendly resources that offer evidence that this story is more myth than historical fact.

An Authentic Look at Thanksgiving | PBS Teachers Lounge

Grades 4-8
On PBS Teachers Lounge, Edwin Schupman, an educator from the National Museum Of The American Indian, shares how modern retellings of the first Thanksgiving are mostly fiction and shares resources that help students learn the authentic stories and histories of Indigenous people in America.

For additional resources to help you teach more accurately and think more broadly about the Thanksgiving story, check out these featured resources from NK360° and the museum’s Thanksgiving resources.

Thanksgiving Through the Lens of Native Americans Today: Lesson Plan | PBS NewsHour

Grades 6-12
Is it possible to celebrate Thanksgiving while learning about the effects of colonization on Indigenous people? Ask students to discuss the meaning of Thanksgiving through the lens of today’s Wampanoag people, the descendants of Indigenous tribes who welcomed the Pilgrims at Plymouth.

The Surprising Origins of Thanksgiving Foods | It’s Okay to Be Smart

Grades 6-12
Ever wonder where your favorite Thanksgiving foods come from? Well the truth may be closer to home than you think.

Celebrating Together

Thanksgiving can be a wonderful time for families to share traditions and spend time with each other – but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. PBS Kids for Parents is here to help you navigate, adapt and celebrate this holiday season.

Finding Gratitude During Difficult Times

Grades PreK-3
Expressing gratitude, even when life gets tough, is vital to our emotional and physical health. When you are feeling down, challenge yourself to find ways to be grateful — start with these tips.

Simple Family-Friendly Thanksgiving Traditions

Grades PreK-3
Thanksgiving offers the perfect opportunity to take a moment and be grateful. Learn how these families made special traditions of their own.

Raising Grateful Kids: Why Giving Thanks Is Good for the Soul

Grades PreK-3
Gratitude is good for you ⎯ and for your kids. Here are helpful tips for raising grateful kids.

Activities, Books & More

Make a Grateful Garland With Your Family

Grades PreK-3
Create a colorful garland of autumn leaves to remind you and your family of all you’re grateful for. Spend time together crafting a meaningful decoration everyone can enjoy.

Thanksgiving Tales

Grades PreK-5
Thanksgiving is about more than the turkey! Here are ten recommended books for kids ages 0-9 that celebrate sharing, community, and family.

An Elwood City Thanksgiving Game

Grades K-5
Celebrate Thanksgiving with Arthur, his family, and some of his Elwood City neighbors in the all-new game An Elwood City Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Time Capsule

Grades K-5
Teaching young children about being thankful can be tricky! Thankfulness is an abstract concept and kids thrive with concrete ideas. This hands-on activity is a great way for kids and families to learn about and model the idea of thankfulness.

Learn About Relatives as a Super Sleuth

Grades 1-8
The holidays are a great chance for children to learn about family culture. However, surrounded by faces they don’t see often, it may be intimidating to strike up a conversation. Sometimes a little helpful nudge is all they need to be more engaged. Encourage them to mingle and learn their family history by having them become super sleuths! The set up is super simple. In fact, older children can get involved to engage with their relatives too.

StoryCorps: The Great Thanksgiving Listen

Grades 6-12
The Great Thanksgiving Listen
is a national movement that empowers young people—and people of all ages—to create an oral history of the contemporary United States by recording an interview with an elder, mentor, friend, or someone they admire. Interviews become part of the StoryCorps Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Explore classroom-ready resources, including an Educator Toolkit, on PBS LearningMedia with the StoryCorps: The Great Thanksgiving Listen Collection, or visit StoryCorps’ educator resource hub.

Watch & Wonder Programming

Tune into the Mountain Lake PBS Watch & Wonder block for special Thanksgiving themed programming.

Tuesday, November 22

1 PM: American Experience⎪The Pilgrims

Arguably one of the most fateful and resonant events of the last half millennium, the Pilgrims journey west across the Atlantic in the early 17th century is a seminal, if often misunderstood episode of American and world history. The Pilgrims explores the forces, circumstances, personalities and events that converged to exile the English group in Holland and eventually propel their crossing to the New World; a story universally familiar in broad outline, but almost entirely unfamiliar to a general audience in its rich and compelling historical actuality.