Thanksgiving is a special time of year. Squeezed between the sugar-filled chaos of Halloween and the frenzied pace of the winter holidays, it's a time to sit down, reflect, and enjoy time with those we love. (Unless you're making the turkey, of course!) Thanksgiving is also a time that is filled with interesting ideas for children. They learn about the Pilgrims and Native Americans becoming friends and planting corn. They trace their hands to make turkeys that we parents treasure for years to come. They have apple taste tests—a true fall delight! It's a mixture of food, funny hats, history, and animals that seems tailor-made to spark your child's curiosity.
This year, use the season to bring some of the learning out of the classroom and into your home. And be thankful for this time that you have together.
This fun art project helps children focus on things they are grateful for. To make the turkey, trace around one hand of the child on white paper. Enclose the space left by the wrist and add legs to the bottom. Draw wattle, beak, and eyes on the thumb (head). Ask your child what she is thankful for (she may need some help getting started) and write one thing on each finger (feather). Then your child can color the turkey with crayons. We hang ours on the wall to remind us of the reason for the holiday. And my kids always enjoy getting to share their thanksgivings with their grandparents.
Draw a large tree with the branches that represent your family. Let your children go through your pictures and pick out a picture for each family member on the tree. Hang the tree in your dining room so that you can talk about all of the people you love on Thanksgiving.
A great way for kids to help greet your Thanksgiving dinner guests. Have them collect leaves, pine cones, twigs, strips of bark, and other natural decor. Assemble and glue the collection of objects to sheets of colored card stock to form various messages like "Give Thanks." Use tacky glue for heavier items, like pine cones, and a glue stick for lighter ones, like leaves. Once the glue dries, fold and tape the top edges of the sheets over lengths of twine. Then tie the ends of the twine together to create a banner that displays your holiday messages.
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