By Amanda Just

Whether you call it Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, ThanksLiving, or ThanksVegan, there are ways to get the kids involved in celebrating a compassionate holiday! Here are some ideas we’ve put together.

Get Crafty & Creative

  • Create sculptures and towers with toothpicks or pretzel sticks and dried cranberries and vegan marshmallows (you can find gelatin-free marshmallows from Dandies and Trader Joe’s). It’s a craft you can eat!
  • Got a lot of scrap paper laying around? Upcycle it into a Thankful Bunting! Kids and loved ones can each create a piece of this gratitude garland. Use whatever craft supplies you already have on hand.
  • Just flour, salt, and some cold water is all you need to make some Salt Dough Ornaments. These make great gifts, too!

Honor the Animals

Happy Santosha at Lancaster Farm Sanctuary

Turkeys are unique individuals who feel joy, fear, and sorrow, just like humans. Sadly, an estimated 44 million turkeys will be slaughtered for Thanksgiving day feasts alone (down from 46 million, thankfully).

  • Remember and honor these sentient beings through the 46 Million Turkeys community art project. Submit a creative portrait of these kind animals through the website.
  • Adopt a Turkey! Not actually adopt, as in bring a turkey into your home as a pet, but sponsor a turkey who is lucky enough to live out their lives on farmed animal sanctuaries! You can sponsor a feathered friend through Farm Sanctuary, Woodstock Sanctuary, Lancaster Farm Sanctuary, Catskill Animal Sanctuary and Gentle Barn, among others. Check smaller, local sanctuaries near you for sponsorship opportunities. If you sponsor in time, many sanctuaries will send you a photo of the turkey you’ve “adopted,” which you can display during your ThanksVegan celebration.

Connect with Nature (Weather Permitting!)

  • A hike on a crisp autumn day is a great activity to include on the holiday itinerary! See how many different animals you can spot and how many different plants you can name.
  • Got autumn leaves? Make some land art! Create pretty patterns or artwork using fallen leaves, pinecones, sticks, rocks, etc. Perfect for an Instagram post!
  • Speaking of autumn leaves, there’s the timeless activity of raking a pile and jumping in! Hear the crunch of autumn leaves, see if you can find several different colors of leaves, or any fun patterns. Pick your favorites to preserve and display.

Help Out in the Kitchen

Obviously, food is a huge part of most holiday celebrations. Here are some kid-friendly recipes to keep little hands busy, get them comfortable in the kitchen, and have them contribute to the feast!

  • Tofurky Roll-Ups: Roll up your favorite flavor of Tofurky deli slices with your favorite non-dairy cheese for a simple finger food
  • Happy Pigs in a Blanket: All you need are vegan hot dogs and Crescent Rolls! We suggest Certified Vegan Smart Dogs by Lightlife.
  • Vegan Chex Mix: Just a couple swaps can make the classic Chex Mix recipe vegan. Or follow this recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken. Chex Muddy Buddies can easily be made vegan, too! We recommend using Enjoy Life’s Certified Vegan chocolate chips.
  • Hot Mulled Apple Cider in the Crock Pot: This is great for little ones to work on their measuring skills. Plus, as this slowly cooks, it will make the house smell amazing!

Show us how your vegan kiddos are celebrating the holidays by tagging @veganorg in your Instagram pics!