Thanksgiving Sensory Tub

I love sensory tubs and one of the reasons is illustrated beautifully in this post. They aren’t just a chance to scoop and pour ( although don’t discount the importance of that) they are also a chance to make believe, create a new mini landscape and practice imaginative play. Children love to explore so when you create a sensory bin allow them to add to it as well, it’s not a static item but rather a dynamic experience for them to create with.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a big pan or plastic tub, some multicolored unpopped popcorn , red quinoa, and brown rice. You will also need some fall leaf confetti, and scoops. Obviously you don’t need to follow our contents exactly but I do love the corn since it ties into other Thanksgiving crafts so well. Orange lentils, wild rice, flax seeds etc… all have a fall feeling to them too.
  2. Pour the dried grains etc.. into the tub. Have your child help with this , my son loves ” cooking up” the sensory bins.
  3. Add the fall confetti. Be careful some of ours were pretty small, fabric leaves are another larger option for younger children.
  4. Add the scoops and containers and start playing.
  5. Follow your child’s imagination, we went and got some construction vehicles.

I get asked all the time what I do with these tubs after he’s done playing. I pop them into ziplocs and keep them , and pull them out for quiet play time often.  The variety keeps him interested and as long as the bags are sealed from moisture and insects you can keep them indefinitely.

Thanksgiving Books

The Little Engine That Could Saves the Thanksgiving Day Parade by Watty Piper is unremarkable. The story is about a school band who has a flat tire and hitches a ride on the train to get to the Thanksgiving Day parade on time.  My son liked the instruments and the train but the story was pretty boring and it was obvious to me why this was one of the only Thanksgiving books left at my local library. If you have a child who is wild about trains I would maybe check it out of the library but it’s not worth purchasing in my opinion.

Thanksgiving at the Tappleton’s by Eileen Spinelli is a really cute story that offers many opportunities for parents to talk about lying, disappointment and what really matters at Thanksgiving. The Tappleton’s Thanksgiving dinner is doomed, first the turkey falls in the pond, then there are no pies left at the bakery and then continues to get worse.  No one wants to be the person to ruin the holiday dinner and keeps it a secret that the part of the meal that was their responsibility is ruined.  Of course this means they end up eating liverwurst and pickles for dinner but Grandma saves Thanksgiving by reminding them all that it doesn’t matter what they are eating but who they are eating with.

Patty’s Pumpkin Patch by Teri Sloat is a great alphabet book and story in one. Readers follow a pumpkin patch from planting the seeds until after Halloween when they gather the seeds for the next planting.  I really like how this book combines an alphabet book with both upper and lowercase letters corresponding to some animal or insect in the story . I also like the easy rhythm of the rhyming text and the engaging and detailed illustrations . All in all I think this is a great fall book!

Cut and Paste Thanksgiving Craft

indian corn craft for kids

Scissor skills are important skills for young kids to work on because they aid in handwriting development as well as eye hand coordination. With Thanksgiving coming up my son decided he wanted to make a Thanksgiving craft, this is what we came up with! You don’t have to include construction vehicles in yours but I think it’s a good reminder not to take craft time too seriously.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need brown ( whole sheet), red,white, yellow and orange construction paper ( scrap paper would do well).  You will also need glue, scissors and a marker.
  2. Draw a ear of corn on your brown paper.
  3. Cut your paper into smaller strips to make it easier for your child to cut them.
  4. Start cutting. We shared this task. 
  5. If you want smaller kernels of corn, cut the paper into even smaller strips for your child to cut into pieces.
  6. Add glue ( and construction vehicles if desired).
  7. Using your hands or a front loader and dump truck add the cut pieces on the cob.
  8. Add more glue as needed and keep adding pieces.
  9. My son insisted on using his toy steam roller to press the pieces down so I grabbed a plastic bag to put between the craft and his toy to prevent glue everywhere. 
  10. Let dry.
  11. Cut the husks from the corn.
  12. Color with a brown marker.
  13. glue the husks over the cob and let dry.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Family Photo Quilt

Family Photo Quilt

This thanksgiving craft is a favorite of mine. We made it last year and I plan to make one when my camera is full of pictures of family and friends we only see once a year. So take a bunch of pictures today, and sit down after hitting the sales Friday and make something priceless!  Have a wonderful holiday filled with family , friends and food! Click on the picture above for the full instructions for the craft.

Indian Corn Craft

Marshmallow Corn !

indian corn craft

I was looking for a good place to hide Halloween candy and found marshmallows I hid months ago. They were hard and dry and perfect for a craft! If you don’t hide sugary treats from yourself in your kitchen just leave the marshmallows out over night to get stale.  They need to be stale so that your child can color them, without marshmallow bits getting on your markers, or being too squishy to color. Have fun with this, my son thought it was hilarious that he could color the marshmallows and asked at dinner if he could color his fish sticks. Thankfully the markers were put away.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a handful of stale mini marshmallows, yellow and brown construction paper, red, brown , yellow and orange markers , glue and scissors.indian corn craft 001
  2. Start by coloring one end ( or more) of the marshmallows with various colors.indian corn craft
  3. Keep going!indian corn craft 004
  4. While they color the marshmallows draw an ear of corn on the yellow paper and husk on the brown.indian corn craft
  5. Add glue to the corn.indian corn craft
  6. Add the marshmallows.indian corn craft
  7. Color the husk if you want.indian corn craft
  8. Cut the husk out.indian corn craft
  9. Glue it on the top- you can wait until everything is dry to glue it on. I was eager to post this so I fast forwarded a bit. indian corn craft
  10. Let dry and cut out .indian corn craft

Books

This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story by Laura Krauss Melmed is a stunning gem of a book. I can’t believe I haven’t read it before, normally great books like this go through teaching circles like wildfire. The book has so many layers it will keep toddlers and preschoolers alike busy and engaged. The text explains the first Thanksgiving while counting 1-10 in rhyming poetry and the illustrations by Mark Buehner have hidden treasures, see if you can find them! After I return this to the library, I will be buying it for sure!

Thanksgiving

Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey was such a treat to read. It’s a reworking of the classic Christmas poem, with a Thanksgiving twist.  A bus full of kids head off to the turkey farm the day before Thanksgiving and are immediately enamored with the birds. When a child asks the farmer what the axe by the door is for… well let’s just say the truth is told and the kids fall apart. They don’t stay down for long though, the kids outsmart the farmer and their teacher to save the turkeys from the axe. Somehow the author finds a way to make the possible slaughter of these happy friendly, named turkey’s funny. My son was giggling while I was kinda nervous that they’d get the axe! Great rhymes throughout this hilarious book!

Thanksgiving Treat

Thanksgiving Treat by Catherine Stock is a really heart warming book that will take you back to family gatherings of your childhood. The story follows the Thanksgiving day preparations of an extended family and one little boy who just wants to help. He goes from one job to the next where he is always told he is too little, or it’s too dangerous for him to do, and he should go somewhere else. Finally his Grandpa steps in with a very important job and the sad little boy is given new hope to be helpful. I remember being too little, and I know that from time to time my son is told he is too little too, this book is a kind reminder of finding ways to make even our littlest family members feel important and included. My son really liked it as well, while reading it today he stopped me and listed some of the things he is still too little to do, and the things that he has recently been able to do independently. Great book to sit down and talk about with your child.

Thanksgiving Activity and Craft

Thankful Box

Thanksgiving Craft

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in Canada and although we didn’t celebrate with a big turkey dinner we did make this thanksgiving craft, took time to think of things we are thankful for and share them at dinner.  At the dinner table  last night each family member wrote what they were thankful for , and added it to the box.  We didn’t keep ours a secret but you could. Our plan is to fill the box up over the next week and read it over dinner on Sunday to celebrate all we are thankful for.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a cardboard craft box ( a show box covered with paper would be great too), some markers ( one permanent), glitter, scissors and plain paper.Thanksgiving Craft
  2. Cut a slot in the lid. Thanksgiving craft
  3. Write the words ” I am thankful for…”  in permanent marker on the lid.Thanksgiving Kids Craft
  4. Have your little artists decorate the box with crayons or markers, you could use paint too, we didn’t because we wanted to use it shortly after but if you have the time to wait for it to dry, go for it!Making A Thanksgiving Kids Craft
  5. Don’t forget the lid!Thanksgiving Kids Craft
  6. Grab the glitter. I think glitter makes everything a little more special  , and a box like this deserves some glitter… or a lot. We only added it to the lid because I didn’t want it interfering with my son being able to open and close the box.Glitter!
  7. Let dry.
  8. While the glitter is drying write out a few things  you are thankful for. These were my son’s – I didn’t coach him one bit, I admit I thought he’d say he was thankful for Hondas before anything but he mentioned his parents and great friends . I would encourage never saying ” No” to any suggestion, model the things you are trying to get your children to be thankful for but let them come up with their own. You can’t force this- but you can lead by example.I am Thankful for you
  9. We folded our papers and popped them in the “dry enough” box.Thanksgiving Kids Craft
  10. We read these notes out at dinner and added more, which was when we decided to write more each dinner for a week then read the whole lot on Sunday.

Books

Thanksgiving in Canada is similar to the holiday in the United States, although we don’t have pilgrims, don’t watch football all day , and don’t line up for sales the next day either!  Our celebration is a celebration of the harvest, yes we eat turkey and cranberry sauce and each family has their own traditions. These books work for Thanksgiving in both countries, something that is useful for the many families like mine that is both Canadian and American. Also I couldn’t resist adding my favorite book about home, if you aren’t familiar with Canada I urge you to find this book and flip though, it’s a great cheat sheet or introduction to Canada! All book lists include affiliate links to amazon.com. 

 

A Plump And Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman is such a cute and funny book about a town that needs a turkey and the lengths they go to to find one, including trickery!  The town is sadly outwitted by the turkey and end up eating shredded wheat for thanksgiving. The illustrations kept my little man interested even though the story’s humor was above his head.

**Edited for 2009** Much of the humor is still above my wee man’s head although I was reminded how much this book’s dark humor makes me giggle.  He was a little off put by the idea of the towns folk eating the turkey and was relived when he escaped before they shoved him in the oven. I like that he is starting to understand that the meat he eats is actually a cooked animal, we take that for granted but for many young kids this is a huge realization!

Thanksgiving is For Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland is book that explains what Thanksgiving is, and gives lots of examples of things to be thankful for. I like this book although I could go without the page where the narrator is thankful for lollipops, all the other things are wonderful like a teacher’s encouragement, grandma’s hugs, and sunny days and to me the lollipops sorta fall flat. Easily skipped over if you are not keen on it but the book as a whole is valuable teaching tool about thanksgiving.
** Edited for 2009** I wrote the above review last year when my son was not quite 2, now at almost 3 he loves this book and I think reading it recently has really helped him understand what the concept of being thankful is. Also he loves the part about lollipops. Go figure!

M is for Maple, a Canadian Alphabet by Mike Ulmer. This book will make you feel proud to be from Canada if you are Canadian and teach you something about your neighbour if you aren’t . It will also teach your children things about the country they live in and why we feel pride when we hear names like Terry Fox, Anne with an E and Gretzky! I love this book and have since I first read it during teacher’s college in Thunder Bay, if you can be happy about being in Canada during a very cold Thunder Bay winter you can be happy about it anywhere.