Our First Vegan Thanksgiving

Last year this time, we had begun to toy with the idea of vegetarianism or veganism for our family, but we had not taken that step yet.  Our oldest is 3.5 yo and starting to understand that we eat differently than most of our family.  To help make her feel excited about the way our family eats, I want to do a few things with her this year and in coming years to show her that our Thanksgiving can be even more special, because we are vegan.

1. Peta Kids Thanksgiving Coloring Sheets – I have this for the kids to color and as a gentle conversation starter about how some people are going to eat turkey at Thanksgiving, but we think of turkeys as our friends who we want live.

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2. The Official Thanksgiving Survival Guide for Vegan Kids – This is one that I am saving for future years, because it is a bit advanced for my peanuts, but it is nice for elementary and up age kids.

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3. Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Program – This is a nice way to put a real face to the idea of the Thanksgiving turkey that your family is choosing not to eat.  Kids see lots of cartoon images of turkeys and photographs of cooked and raw turkeys, but your family can have pictures of a real, live turkey that you help sponsor.

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4. Thanksgiving Books – As a former librarian, I am always on the lookout for Thanksgiving books that are about something other than the First Thanksgiving, since many of them come under criticism for historical inaccuracies.  Here are a few that I am hoping to add to our collection.  In many ways, it is easier to read these books with vegan and vegetarian kids, because they don’t have to deal with the personification of an animal that will end up as the center of the Thanksgiving meal!  They can root for the turkeys and be reminded that they are helping real turkey, too, by having a veg Thanksgiving meal!

Turk and Runt 

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‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

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Run Turkey Run

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The Turkey Ball

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Sometimes It’s Turkey, Sometimes It’s Feathers

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The Best Thanksgiving Ever!

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A Turkey for Thanksgiving

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The Thankful Book

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5. Fall Crafts – Obviously, you can still do plenty of turkey crafts if you want to do so, but if you want to do some crafts that do not focus on turkeys, here are few ideas.

Lego Stamped Corn – My DD made this at school, and it is now hanging on our bulletin board at home!

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 Q-Tip Autumn Tree – The link is a different language, but you can easily get the idea through the pictures.  If the Q-tip is too hard for little hands to hold, you can use a pencil eraser or bottle cork or even their fingertips.

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I am Thankful Pumpkin

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Placemats

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Pumpkin Pie Craft

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Kids in the Kitchen – Little Chef

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NL (3.5) loves to help in the kitchen!  Since she was a little baby, who sat in her high chair while I cooked, she has spent a lot of time in the kitchen with me.  Sometimes, it is a huge headache for me, but the benefits tend to outweigh the hassles.  Children who are involved in grocery shopping, helping in the garden, and preparing and serving meals are often more willing to try to new foods.  Her sense of pride and excitement over “helping” Mommy cook are heart-warming.

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At 3.5, she helps

  • make choices at the grocery store (Do we want the apples or the pears?)
  • remember items on our grocery list (Help me remember to get carrots, NL!)
  • take groceries out of the bags and put them away
  • decide what we are going to cook (Do we want to have tomato sauce or pesto tonight? Do not offer a choice you aren’t okay with!)
  • add measured ingredients into the bowl or pot (Just be careful with adding items that might splash hot liquids.)
  • stir ingredients (We do not let her stir boiling ingredients or anything frying in hot oil, but we let her watch from her learning tower pushed back a few feet.)
  • tear ingredients like bread for croutons or lettuce for a salad
  • cut softer items with a plastic knife
  • take her plate to the table and put it in the sink after dinner’
  • help me make her lunch each night or morning

Beyond making meals and snacks for her family, she has also helped me when we have made treats for her preschool class or muffins to take to a Sunday school friend who had surgery or dinner to a family with a new baby.

She loves to “help,” and she sometimes is truly helpful!  It might be hectic at times, and it may take a bit longer to prepare dinner, but letting your kids in the kitchen may make mealtime a lot smoother and help model how you and your family care for others.  Start thinking about ways you can get your little ones involved, regardless of their ages!

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