Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Preschooler Thanksgiving

I am so excited for Thanksgiving this year, because it is the first year that my daughter {now 3} is really aware, can really understand, and is most likely to remember the holiday. One of the best parts of parenting is experiencing holidays, traditions, seasons, and experiences through the fresh eyes of your child.

Since she is starting to get into Holidays, I've decided that I really want to make a point of learning about Thanksgiving- reading, crafting, and even tailoring our Scripture memory work to the theme. I've made a mini preschool lesson plan, with activities for each day this week. I know I'm a bit late to be posting it only two days in advance, but many of the ideas listed are simple and quick to whip up, and could prove very effective in occupying little hands during Turkey day cooking.


Here's what it looks like.

Activities. 

  • Math: Turkey Feather Counting Game. Simple and inexpensive to construct, this goofy felt Turkey board is a fun way to reinforce mathematical concepts this time of year.
  • Fine Motor Skills: Color-matching Turkey. Since S recently started wearing an eye patch, we are looking for lots of fine motor skill games and activities to strengthen her weak eye! This clothes pin game looks like a winner. 
  • Art: Last year we made turkey handprints with acrylic paint. I painted S's hand and thumb brown, and made one finger green, red, orange, and yellow. She then stamped it on cardstock. I love saving these sorts of things as tokens to remember how small my babes used to be. We will definitely be doing it again this year! 
  •  Art: You'll notice a turkey theme. Paint a handprint/footprint turkey. Make a leaf turkey. This turkey is made out of a brown paper bag and hand cut outs. Or you could glue up these turkey leaves with googly eyes. We won't be doing them all, but one or two might be fun. 
  • Art: I found several nice printables of pilgrims and other thanksgiving themes here, here, here, and here. Some even include Scripture verses!

Books. I didn't have any particular titles in mind when I went to the library, so I just browsed the shelves and picked a few. These are the titles I checked out. Do you have any favorite Thanksgiving books? Please do share in the comments! I'd love to be more intentional next year.

  • Mary's First Thanksgiving by Kathy-jo Wargin. With gorgeous, painted illustrations, this tale of an Irish immigrant girl's first Thanksgiving is meaningful and poignant.
  • The Story of Thanksgiving by Robert Merrill Bartlett. This is a lengthier historical examination, and includes information about harvest celebrations from earlier civilizations. Use your discretion- I'm not sure that I agree with everything the author says about the Puritans, and you may or may not want to discuss ancient Greek and Roman gods and godesses with your little ones yet. 
I've also checked out One Tough Turkey {a silly fable that I thought looked like fun} and Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn: The Story of the Thanksgiving Symbols. However we haven't yet read them, so I can't tell you if they are any good.

Cultivating Thankfulness. Last year I saw a thankfulness wreath at my friend Abi's house, and knew that I wanted to make one with my kids this year. Each day I try to remember to ask S what she is thankful for, and we write her blessings on the leaves. I made ours by cutting a kind of sort of freehand circle out of cardboard, then tracing leaves onto construction paper with this free template. S has fun watching me write on the leaves, and it makes for a nice decoration.

I also want to be encouraging us to give thanks during family prayer times, and memorize at least one verse about thanking the Lord {here's a list of verses to choose from}.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving with your little people?

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