Despite quarantines, lockdowns, and smaller gatherings, Thanksgiving can still be festive this year—with some activities that get kids learning while also having fun. Try teaching kids facts about the real first feast while doing science experiments using Thanksgiving ingredients.
First off, let kids in on a secret: At the first Thanksgiving in 1621, turkey almost surely wasn’t the main dish. “There were lots and lots of wild birds, but definitely not the turkey we know,” says Kathleen Wall, a historic foodways expert at Massachusetts’ Plimoth Plantation, who says it’s likely ducks, geese, or quail were on the menu. Turkeys then were likely leaner and much smaller than the ones at today’s supermarkets, and to make those tough birds tastier, they may have been served in soup or in a stew called “pottage.”
For familiar and authentic Thanksgiving foods, look to veggies. Curious kids can use the extras from dinner prep for some harvest season history and science lessons—and it’ll keep them busy while you’re cooking.