While my Netflix homepage is already overflowing with Christmas shows, Thanksgiving episodes can be much harder to track down. Here are my thirteen favorite TV episodes that teach children about Thanksgiving activities, fall, family and of course being thankful. I focused my search on regular episodes of television series that happen to be about Thanksgiving. If you are look for reviews of Thanksgiving specials or movies, like the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Common Sense Media and Tech Times have both published guides.
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1. Thank you Grandpere Tiger/Neighborhood Thank you Day
You should watch this if… You are looking to teach your child about the importance of saying thank you to family and friends.
This entire episode is dedicated to saying thank you to friends and family, the very heart of Thanksgiving. The song used by Daniel throughout the episode is, “Thank you, for everything you do.” If your child (or you) gets Daniel Tiger songs stuck in your head all day, this is a great one to be saying on Thanksgiving. In the first half of the episode Daniel is celebrating “Thank You Day” with his Grandpere Tiger. Daniel gets to spend time with his grandfather imagining boat rides and looking up at the clouds finding shapes. Daniel goes to the Thank You Day celebration in the Enchanted Forest with the rest of the kingdom and sees the Thank You tree full of thank you notes. In the second half of the episode Daniel looks at the Thank You Tree and gets to read a Thank You note his Grandpere wrote him, thanking him for hugs. His friends Katerina, Prince Tuesday, and Miss Elaina share the notes they have written to thank their family. A gust of wind blow all the letters off the tree, but they are quickly recovered by the mailman. Daniel decides he wants to write his thank you note to the mailman for saving Thank You Day. This episode is great for starting a conversation with your child about seeing relatives, saying thank you to family members, and saying thank you to other people who help you throughout your lives.
2. King Midas
You should watch this if… You want to teach your child about being appreciative for what they have or you would like to watch a show that will practice their literary skills.
In this episode, Pig has a toy car he loves to play with but proclaims he needs even more cars to have fun! Whyatt gathers the book to determine if this is true. The book club explorers the story of King Midas. An adaptation of the classic story of King Midas’ Touch is told where Midas’ golden touch causes him to get stuck in a fountain of gold and turn his friends to gold. The super readers help King Midas and he learns its better to have just one piece of gold that he cherishes than to have everything made of gold. The episode is not specifically about Thanksgiving, but centered on the idea of being appreciative of what you have. I love that it teaches children about a classic literary story in a fun way as well as instills a valuable lesson about greed. Throughout the story Whyatt and the super readers play games and identify letters which is great for a young readers.
Available on: Amazon, iTunes
You should watch this if… You want to emphasize spending time with family, not the activities, are what is important.
The twins are very excited for a visit from their grandmother who is coming for Thanksgiving for the first time from Puerto Rico. In their eagerness the twins over commit with way too many activities and plans. They plan to put on their own parade instead of watching the one on television, but cannot get the instruments from the community center. The rain ruins their football game in the park, they spill nachos all over their grandmother, blow a fuse so she can no longer watch the football game, and cannot defrost the turkey. With no power and no turkey the twins learn that what’s important at Thanksgiving is to spend time with their beloved grandmother, not try to make over the top plans. They pull together as a family to make a deep fried Turkey by candlelight. The episode includes lots of Spanish phrases and references to Latin American culture.
Available on: Amazon, iTunes
You should watch this if… You want to teach your child about kindness for others during the holidays or your child loves pirates!
Jake and his crew are excited to cook special dishes for Thanksgiving, like Shipwreck Stew. They are going to find the ingredients they need in Never Land. The Pirates are also looking forward to a Thanksgiving feast searching for ingredients they need for a pumpkin dessert. Hook tries to take the ingredients he needs from the kids. After the kids gets the ingredients back from Hook, Hook explains he wanted them so his mom could make him a special feast. The kids decided to give the ingredients to Hook and he in turn invites them to join the feast with his pirates. Unlike the movie, Hook is not scary and more of a comical character who plays the kids lovable adversary. Fun Fact- Mamma Hook is played by Sharon Osbourne.
5. Huggsgiving Day
You should watch this if… You want to teach your child about the importance of getting along with extended family.
Huggsgiving Day is a holiday resembling Thanksgiving, where the family eats a big meal with a Turkey, plays games and put on a show. Henry becomes frustrated when his annoying younger cousin, Harry, follows him around telling bad jokes and giving too many hugs. Henry is very frustrated and yells at Harry for ruining his favorite holiday. Then he learns from his other cousin, younger cousins often behave this way because they think the older relatives are really cool and they want to be like them. Henry realizes he should be flattered by his younger cousins attention and finds ways to include him. Henry proclaims the moral of the story, “It just goes to show you Hugglemonsters always find a way to work things out, especially when it comes to family.
Available on: Amazon, iTunes
6. Gobble, Gobble, Guppies
You should watch this if… You want to teach your child about fall, setting the table or get them excited about Thanksgiving activities.
Bubble Guppies Molly and Gil find a Turkey in a pumpkin patch. The owner of the patch, a pirate, teaches them about Harvesting Pumpkins when the time is right. The guppies learn about the season Fall and sing ‘Leaves Are Falling’, do thanksgiving crafts, learn about squirrels and nuts, jump in leaves, and rake leaves up. Deema teaches the kids about setting the table for big family dinners, with a catchy song about where the silverware goes on the table. The kids return to the pumpkin patch and all the pumpkins are gone! They learn the pumpkins were harvested and made into pumpkin pie. The guppies join the pirates for a Thanksgiving meal. The episode’s focus is on all the activities associated with Fall and Thanksgiving, which is great for getting your child excited for Thanksgiving, which can be difficult when stores are already filled with Christmas displays. This episode mentions sharing Thanksgiving with friends and family, but it’s not the main point of the episode like some of the others available.
Available on: Amazon, iTunes
7. Mickey’s Thanks a Bunch Day
You should watch this if… you would like your child to learn more about fruits and vegetables we eat.
The gang is getting ready for the Thanks a Bunch Day feast! At the professor’s recommendation Minnie sprays her vegetables with growth spray so they will be ready in time, which causes them to grow much larger than all the characters. The gang has to use mousekatools like an elephant and a giant to harvest the gigantic crops. The gang learns about what crops are fruits and vegetables. In the end, the gang and some new friends they met while harvesting the giant crops sit down and eat their Thanks a Bunch Meal.
Available on: Amazon, iTunes
You should watch this if… You want to teach your child about patience and sharing before the big meal or you want to help your child think of what they are thankful for.
Steve is making a Thankful book and figuring out what everyone in the Blue Clues house is thankful for. He asks the clock, side table, salt, pepper, paprika, shovel, pail and many more characters what they are thankful for, and most give responses related to their function. This is a great time to ask your child to think of things they may be thankful for. Blue’s Clues helps in the kitchen figure out which food are salty, sweet and sour. Later Steve goes into the picture frame and helps the felt characters divide up their Thanksgiving meal and share the food. The whole episode Steve is getting hungrier and has to be very patient and wait for his feast (and not eat any felt dinner). Before dinner, Steve shares what everyone is thankful for.
Available on: Amazon Prime, iTunes
9. Fall Feast
You should watch this if… You live in a place where snow can change your plans or you want to show how friends can come together for a meal
The whole is excited to go to Emily Elizabeth’s grandparents’ house for a Fall Feast (Thanksgiving) and eat lots of delicious foods, and her mother is bringing a special dish. After almost missing their train, the train can’t leave the station due to a snowstorm that has blown in. The family is disappointed but ends up having a great Fall Feast with other friends at the train station who were also travelling to see family. The family related their Fall Feast to the “original fall feast” where everyone brought a dish and dined together as one.
You should watch this if… you want to teach your child about blending cultural traditions (Central/South American Culture and American) and some Spanish.
Dora the Explorer is excited for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner mixed with traditional Latino dishes. Before they eat their Thanksgiving feast is the Thanksgiving day parade. Dora builds a Pirate ship float for the parade, but before the parade starts the Pirate Piggies accidentally cause the parade float to roll away into the river. The episode centers around Dora and Boots search to find and rescue the piggies, which they eventually do with a hot air balloon. Lots of other fall references on quest such as acorns, apples, scarecrows, etc. The characters speak English with some Spanish phrases and songs, and a great song about Thanksgiving: “We say Gracias, on Thanksgiving Day”
Available on: Amazon, iTunes
11. Trashgiving Day
You should watch this if… You are looking to start a conversation with your child about traditional Thanksgiving Day activities or family traditions
This is episode is perfect around Thanksgiving. While it’s not directly about Thanksgiving, Trashgiving also has a parade sponsored by a department store full of bands and inflated mascots, grouches eat specific meals, sing songs, and “gather with our families and complain about each other all day long.” This opening skit about Trashgiving can be found on the sesame street youtube. Later in the episode grandparents are featured in Abby’s Flying Fairy School. The trolls are celebrating The Henking Day and Blogg get’s to see his grandfather. He is very excited because he has practiced a traditional dance to perform with his family. After a long search they find his grandfather’s tree and perform the dance. This is great, especially if you have any traditions in your family you would like to talk about, this is a great lead in to the conversation. Other topics in this episode include orchestras/conductors, the number 13, coming in second, and winter animals.
12. Johnny’s Sister Tina/Spritesgiving!
Johnny and the Sprites – Season 1, Episode 3
You should watch this if… You enjoy high quality musical performances or would like to emphasize sibling friendships at the holidays
Johnny and the Sprites is a lesser known kids show with fantastic musical numbers. A bit more difficult to find a place to watch than most other episodes I posted, but for many it is worth the inconvenience! Johnny’s sister Tina (Broadway award winner Sutton Foster) is visiting for Spitesgiving and Johnny is very excited to see her. He sings a song to the Sprites about all the activities he has enjoyed with his sister and all the annoying things siblings can go through together. A reprise is song with his sister later in the episode, a great song that captures siblings love. In the second half of the episode Johnny and the Sprites celebrate Spritesgiving, a holiday where they eat, laugh, and say thanks for all the things that make them blessed. After singing a song about Spritesgiving, the Sprites discover the forgetful fungus has gotten into their garden, which makes fruits and vegetables forget what they are supposed to look and taste like. The sprite, Sage, they normally ask for advice is off for the holiday so Johnny encourages Root who is very knowledgeable about gardening to solve the problem himself.
Johnny and the Sprites are difficult to find online, but you can download the episode on iTunes. I can usually find the episodes on YouTube as well, but not in a high enough quality for a large TV.
Available on: iTunes
13. Count Their Blessings
You should watch this if… You would like to remind your family that the heart of Thanksgiving is being thankful for our friends, family, and all the blessings you already have.
Brother and Sister Bear visit their friends and cousins houses and begin to complain about all of the toys their friends have but they do not. After a lot of whining Mamma bear announces she has had enough and the cubs need to be thankful for what they do have: a home that is safe and warm; having their family; and having plenty of food and drinks. Sister decides to count her blessings and play with the toys she already has and brother bear goes off to play with his video game. The parents discuss getting the kids some new toys for Christmas and talk about how blessed they are. This episode does not have any other signs of Thanksgiving, but fits perfectly with the spirit of Thanksgiving. This episode is hard to track down! I link below to the DVD version you can order on Amazon, and a higher quality version I found on YouTube.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
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