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Thanksgiving 2011: Create Thanksgiving memories with your kids this year

Molly Cerreta Smith has enjoyed a career in the publishing industry for more than 10 years. As an editor of several regional magazines, she has had the opportunity throughout her career to meet many local celebrities, businesspeople, ent...

Create lasting memories on Thanksgiving 2011

It's never too early (or too late) to start a Thanksgiving tradition that will translate into life-long memories for your children. Check out these fun and easy ways to create Thanksgiving memories with your kids this year.

family-cooking-thanksgiving-dinner

Talk turkey

Cooking with your children is an excellent way to create a Thanksgiving memory! Before the big day, plan out age-appropriate tasks for your kids such as setting the table, folding napkins, cracking eggs,  and crumbling bread for stuffing... the list goes on.

Measuring ingredients and mixing batter/dough tend to be kid favorites, so when it comes time to bake your pumpkin pies, let your little ones get involved. To eliminate stress and keep everyone safe in the kitchen, set some ground rules for your children. No touching sharp objects and keeping clear on the oven/stove are musts.

Take a nature walk

Thanksgiving Day is synonymous with crisp, chilly days and fall leaves. Bundle your kids up for an adventurous nature walk this Turkey Day. Whether you take a walk around your neighborhood or head out on a nature trail, incorporate games on your walk. See who can find the most unique types (colors, sizes, shapes) of leaves or collect pinecones for seasonal crafts.

Lie back in a pile of raked leaves and scour the sky for Thanksgiving items in the shapes of the clouds. "I see a corn cob!" "That cloud looks like a pile of mashed potatoes!" Let your imaginations run wild this Thanksgiving.

Toss the pigskin

What could be more memorable than a father-son game of football? You don't have to limit this to the boys -- get your whole "team" together for a family friendly game and create a memory on your very own backyard gridiron.

Watch a parade

You don't have to live in NYC to enjoy a fabulous Thanksgiving Day parade. Check out your town's local Thanksgiving 2011 events or create a memory by organizing your own Thanksgiving Day parade (even if that means marching your – and your neighbors' – little turkey trotters a around the block. Make costumes, pass out play "instruments" and get going!

Check out these easy turkey headbands and other easy Thanksgiving Day crafts >>

Give thanks

Amid the fun and festivities, make a point to discuss the significance of this holiday with your kids. Share the story of the first Thanksgiving with your family and remind them that coming together to share in this day is about giving thanks. When you sit down to your feast, go around the table and ask each member of your family to say what they are most grateful for this holiday.

Give back

With the spirit of the season in mind, help your kids give back to your community and your world. Start a local recycling program, collect cans to donate to a local food bank or chop your (and your kids') long hair for Locks of Love.

Read up on more easy ways to help your kids give back >>

Read more on Thanksgiving activities for your family

5 Fun family traditions to start on Thanksgiving
Affordable Thanksgiving family activities
Family activities for Thanksgiving morning

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