Teaching kids about the meaning and purpose of Thanksgiving beyond turkey dinners, mashed potatoes, pie, and spending the day with family can be difficult. For a lot of kids, especially very young ones, gratitude is a bit of a tricky thing to understand, even if they usually say "please" and "thank you" and write appreciation notes after birthday parties. There are however, ways to give back on Thanksgiving with kids that will help them understand the holiday in a whole new way and teach them about the importance of giving thanks and giving back firsthand.
If your family loves to be active and your kids are a little bit older, finding a way to incorporate physical into an activity that gives back on Thanksgiving might be something to which they can relate. Otherwise, spending some time volunteering on Thanksgiving (or the evening prior) or involving them in the donation process can help them learn that not only is it important that they give back, but it doesn't have to take a ton of time or money to do so either.
Before you decide on a concrete plan all on your own, talk to your kids about what they would find most meaningful. Dr. Anne Fishel's guest post on the Giving Tuesday blog suggested that you have a conversation with your kids, asking them what kinds of projects they might find most meaningful (like making food, visiting a shelter, wrapping toys for kids, and more). Then, decide on a project together. The lesson and importance will be greater if it's something that they already think matters.
It makes total sense to incorporate teaching kids about the importance of giving back with your Thanksgiving celebration, if you think about it. You might need to establish some new holiday traditions in order to get it to really sink in, but there is no time like the present to do so.