A deliciously cooked turkey. Check. A beautifully set table. Check. Pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie. Check, check, and check. So everything is ready for the Thanksgiving meal. There’s one thing left on your list…oh right—the lesson of this holiday. Take some time with your kids to reflect on what you are grateful for. As I learned this year, kids as young as two can understand the concept of gratitude, and it’s so important to start on this lesson early.
I sat down with Oliver and Sommer this week and talked about all the wonderful things and people that we have in our lives…from Lego trains to each other (Lego trains were mentioned first, mind you). So as a seasonal reminder of our good fortune, we made this festive little mobile from the November issue of Family Fun to hang in the kitchen so we can look up and remember all that we are grateful for.
How it’s done:
1. Punch circles from a 2″ to 3″ paper punch. (Kids love doing this part!)
2. Invite everyone to jot down a few things that inspire gratitude in them. Write “We’re thankful for …” on a larger circle.
3. To assemble the mobile, knot string onto the inner ring of an embroidery hoop, then extend it across to the opposite side, knot it, and trim. Repeat with 3 more lengths of thread to create 8 spokes. Gather the threads together at the center and knot a loop of twine around them for hanging.
4. Punch holes in the circles, then hang them from the hoop with thread. (I tied a circle on either side of a string and looped it over the hoop instead of tying. This allowed me to balance and move the circles as needed.)
There’s no better time of year to teach children about giving and community service than the holiday season. While we are enjoying delicious foods and looking forward to Christmas, Hanukkah and other festive celebrations, it’s so important to teach our kids that we need to share with others who may not have as much as we do.
Points of Light created Family Volunteer Day 22 years ago to highlight the benefits of family volunteering and provide opportunities for families to help communities create supportive environments for their children and each other. This year Family Volunteer Day takes place on November 22 (the weekend before Thanksgiving) and is being sponsored by Disney Friends for Change and powered by generationOn. Visit generationOn for all sorts of resources of how to get involved with your kids on this very important day.
My husband Michael and I talked to Oliver and Sommer about giving back to our community and ways we could help. Even at 2 and 4, they came up with suggestions as to what we can give away to those in need. We decided we’d put a box in our kitchen, and every week before Thanksgiving, we each put one item into the box. So that we know that everyone did their part that week, each family member was assigned a color sticker: Oliver is blue, Sommer is purple, I’m yellow and Michael is red.
We decided to decorate our box with the stickers so when we take it to our donation location of choice on November 22nd, (find yours at Feeding America or All For Good) it looks and feels like a gift. Two families in our neighborhood joined us in this family volunteering project and we plan to go together to deliver our donation. I find that when kids can discuss an activity among their peers, they often come to different observations and lessons.
If you volunteer on November 22, tell your story at generationon.org/fvd—selected families will appear in a future issue of FamilyFun magazine!
I always end up with uncarved, unpainted, undecorated pumpkins post-Halloween. You know, the ones that are so round, so beautifully orange, or so perfectly ridged that you don’t want to mess with them? Don’t let them go to waste and turn them into a lovely, photo display for your upcoming Thanksgiving celebration!
First, prime your pumpkins so the paint adheres to the surface. Let that dry, then let the kids paint their own designs and patterns. (Oliver and Sommer loved smothering these guys in paint. I helped a bit with the fine details, of course.)
Use a pointed object like a nail or the end of needle-nose pliers to make a small hole on the top of the pumpkin (a job for an adult).
Loop a 12-inch length of floral wire around something thick and round (I used my small craft paint bottles but you can also use a marker) to make a coil at one end. Slip it off and insert the pointed end into the pumpkin or gourd.
Fingers crossed, these pumpkins will last until Thanksgiving where they will no doubt make it into the centerpiece of my table. (Or perhaps I’ll place them on the buffet table and use them as menu markers next to the dishes! So many options!)
Mother Nature is very generous with her craft supplies and one of her most popular (and plentiful) items is pinecones! They are everywhere come fall and are a great base to create some really fun projects! I find that people use pinecones most commonly in three ways: painted for display, as the body base for animals, or to hang on the wall to celebrate fall. Here are some awesome crafts that fit those three categories.
Ok, I know it’s 2 turkey-craft posts in a row, but we are about a week away from Thanksgiving and you NEED your new Thanksgiving turkey craft!
Clearly I have a thing for turkey crafts made in some part with yarn. I guess it’s because it’s cold outside and turkeys need to feel warm and cozy! I know his body looks like some fancy knitted technique, but, believe it or not, it’s made just from weaving multi-colored yarn in and out of cut slits from a plastic cup. Wanna make your own? Pop over to my blog Project Kid for instructions and some detail photos.