Here it is--a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving spread. I substituted Melba toast for traditional buttered toast; it's much easier when serving a large, impatient crowd. Notice I also served our Halloween candy. It was a good way to get rid of it!
A few years ago, the kids and I were watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and I said something about how fun it would be to have a Charlie Brown style Thanksgiving party with their friends. They thought that was a terrific idea and for over two years asked about it every time Thanksgiving approached.
When I originally introduced the idea for the party, I didn't foresee us moving and subsequently remodeling an entire house. Add to that, I found out I was pregnant right after contracts were signed. Things got crazy real fast and stayed that way for a while.
I've felt like a mean mama the past two Novembers, as the kids begged to have the party and I didn't have the time or energy to do it. But I promised them we would, and I meant it. Last week I kept that promise.
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I'm sure you've seen A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and are familiar with the "feast" the Peanuts gang enjoys. Just in case you aren't, here's the synopsis of the movie.
This deluxe edition DVD includes "This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers" and some interesting behind-the-scenes clips.
Peppermint Patty invites herself and some others to Charlie Brown's house for Thanksgiving before he can tell her his family is having Thanksgiving at his grandmother's house (if you've seen the movie, I should specify condominium). He frets over how to accommodate these unexpected guests, and the solution agreed upon is to host Thanksgiving at his house for them before his family leaves for Grandma's. Of course, this is a kid hosted event. Therefore, they'll be doing all the set-up and cooking. Hence, the table they use is a ping pong table, and the food consists of toast, jelly beans, pretzels, and popcorn. Peppermint Patty is not pleased and, as usual, Charlie Brown feels like a loser. But Grandma calls to see when the family is heading her way, and Charles explains his problem. Grandma saves the day and says the extra kids are all invited to her place.
My family watches this every Thanksgiving. The Boy thinks the food Charlie Brown presents to his guests sounds amazing; it's his favorite kind (carbs and sugar). He would probably rather eat those things than the traditional Thanksgiving fare we have.
On the day of the party, we started with watching a different Peanuts Thanksgiving film. I brought ALL the kids into my tiny house to watch This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers.
This DVD contains every episode of "This is America, Charlie Brown", including "The Mayflower Voyagers". The series covers several historical events and is entertaining and educational.
It tells the story of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving using Peanuts characters. I knew everyone had probably seen A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, so I figured we'd watch this more educational film instead. It's about 25 minutes long, but with that many kids all together watching a movie (some of them very small), it felt MUCH longer. We pulled through and finished it without a mutiny from the children.
These were the kids on just one side of the room, and I know this isn't the best quality picture. I included it to show how the movie started off. Every one is sitting and paying attention. About 5 minutes after this picture was taken kids started making their way to the floor and playing. Those three bigger boys (including The Boy washed out by that lamp) toward the back were champs and made it through all 25 minutes!
We followed the movie up with getting our food and heading to the porch to eat. I had an interactive Thanksgiving tablecloth spread out and was surprised at how much the kids enjoyed coloring it.
The tablecloth had word searches, mazes, connect-the-dots, tic-tac-toe grids, and pictures to color. A lot of the kids stayed at the table for a while before heading off to play, and some came back to it throughout the day. That's a $2 victory, people.
They ate and drew while I read the book version of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I noticed the kids who had just paid attention to the movie didn't care as much about the book, but the kids who couldn't sit through the movie listened intently to the book.
I wish I had a video of the facial expressions the little girl at the end of the table in blue was making while I was reading. After getting a bite of food, she would look up to listen and laugh, smile, and giggle at just about everything I read. I'm not sure if she was that enthralled or if she was merely giving me some charity laughter...
After eating, the kids were left to play for the rest of the day. There were kids running all over this place.
Well, the babies and toddlers weren't running around. They hung out on the porch with all the moms. I pulled out three sensory bins for them--pirates, flowers, and the beach. By far, this pirate themed bin was their favorite. I think all the shiny "treasures" and the treasure chest had something to do with that. Look for an article about this bin in the future!
The entire contents of the play house were removed and scattered around the yard. I take that as a sign fun was had.
What's the best thing to do after you've gorged yourself on popcorn and candy? Have tea, of course! Creek water makes it extra special. In the bottom picture, the kids are giving the playhouse a good scrubbing. They hauled up a bucket of water and went to town. You probably notice the peeling paint. I have plans to repaint the exterior, but that will be another post for another day.
Since it's November, I naively thought the kids would stay out of the creek. November here does not mean it's cold, though. More than one child went home in just their underwear or whatever spare clothes could be found laying around in their mom's vehicle. We had to loan some clothes and shoes to one who had plans after leaving our house. She wasn't supposed to get in the creek, but the poor thing "fell in" (over and over while laughing and splashing with the other kids).
I asked them what they were doing and they told me they were washing dishes. And no, the picture isn't distorted. Little Mama has eyeshadow all over her face; she's a "crystal butterfly". Her friend, squatting down with the turquoise shirt, helped out that that magical transformation.
It was a fun day. If your kids are fans of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, I highly recommend hosting your own party. If you do or if you have, let me know about it in the comments!
If you liked that pirate sensory bin, check out my Pinterest board for more inspiration.