Archive for November, 2012

Thanksgiving Art

Clara and most of her friends don’t have school this week, due to conferences and Thanksgiving, so I decided that a little art play date was in order.  It was a bit of a logistical puzzle to figure out where to put all of the activities in the house, but we had a fun time.  We did three art activities: thankful turkeys, leaf and bean collages, and leaf placemats.  I’m planning on a Christmas Art playdate over winter break as well.

Thankful Turkeys

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I got this idea from Pinterest (here) and loved how easy they were and how bright the feathers were using paint samples.  I cut brown foam circles, and orange foam beaks, then hole punched the paint samples and put out googlie eyes, glue, brads, and markers.  I think that these were the kindergartener’s favorite project and they especially seemed to like writing their own things they were thankful for.
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Leaf Mandalas/Collages
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I loved this idea because it was just so pretty, but it seems that in a playdate situation, the patterning involved in this was a bit too hard for everyone to concentrate on. Despite that, this was the toddler’s favorite craft because it involved spreading glue all over and then sticking things to it. Most of the toddlers created more than one.

I glued paper leaves from Dollar Tree to cardstock to set up, then set out glue and paint brushes and a pan full of beans (left over from our halloween sensory bin!). Then I let the kids go for it.
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Leaf Placemats
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This was a super easy craft to set up and for the kids to do. I set out pressed leaves, contact paper, construction paper, and googlie eyes. Most of the kids made leaf people on their placemats, although I didn’t really think through how putting plates on top of googlie eyes would work.
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Dinnertime Gratitude

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I like to do activities before Thanksgiving to reinforce the idea of gratitude and thankfulness in my girls.  But, that doesn’t always turn out for the best.  Remember the year that we were thankful for bodily functions?  Yes, while I am greatful for that, I don’t think that the girls were really getting the point.

This year I’m taking a different tact.  First, we are reading and re-reading The Thankful Book by Todd Parr, which has lots of fun examples, that are mostly not too silly, of things that you could and should be thankful for.

Also, after reading a great article about Thanksgiving Countdowns and Grateful Activities, I started an activity with the whole family that is a little of both.  Taking from a list of discussion prompts on this page, at dinner each night, we fill in the blank and/or answer the question about what we’re grateful for. For example, we discussed the prompt, “I love it when I get to do ____.” last night.  Clara said that she loved it when we got to play tickle monster all as a family.  So fun.  When we discussed, “Name one adventure you’re thankful for,” Nancy responded that she was thankful for going on roller coasters with Daddy.

Here’s a list of all the prompts that we are going to use:

  • I am thankful I am physically able to…
  • I am thankful I learned how to…
  • I am thankful I own…
  • I am thankful for my favorite…
  • I am thankful for my teacher ___.
  • I am thankful for this toy.
  • I am thankful for this family member.
  • I am thankful for this gift I recieved.
  • Name one adventure you are thankful for.
  • I love to listen to…
  • I love to feel…
  • I love when my tummy is full of…
  • I love when my mom does ____.
  • I love when my dad does _____.
  • I love when my sister…
  • I love this about nature.
  • I love when I get to do…
  • I am going to write ____ a thank you note.
  • I am going to tell ____ I appreciate them.
  • I am going to give ____ a hug.
  • I am going to tell ____ I love them.

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Then I write down an answer from each family member on a fake leaf and we’re making a garland of thankfulness out of them.  I just put a strip of clear packaging tape up along the door frame and we each stick our leaf to it when we’re done with dinner.  Some of them fell off, so I’ve been reinforcing them with some staples each evening as well.  By the time Thanksgiving rolls around we should have quite the list of things to be thankful for.  And maybe we’ll all understand the point.

Sensory Bin of the Month: Leaves

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On a beautifully and unexpectedly sunny afternoon this past week, we went on a leaf walk with a couple of friends. All of the kids (okay, not Nancy; she wanted to just hang out in the Ergo) were super enthusiastic about picking up leaves and we ended up with a huge bin of them. What to do with them? I pressed a whole bunch of the prettiest for Thanksgiving Art Play Date later in the month. The less pretty ones I threw in the compost (we’re talking about a ton of leaves). And the rest I put in our sensory bin.

I added in our Playmobil farm animals and tractors as well as some pine cones and some fake sunflowers from Dollar Tree. Nancy has loved hiding the animals under the leaves and having them find each other. Clara is not into the leaves now that they are sitting in the house, but she has rediscovered the farm animals and they all went on parade yesterday all around the living room.
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