Thanksgiving is a special time for gathering together with friends and family over food to show love and appreciation for each other. Some of those little ones attending the family feast include infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. While the adults are helping with meal preparation or mingling, below are a few easy, fun activities to do with young children to instill the season of thankfulness and embrace memories of Fall.
- Gratitude Gallery. Make an art table available for little ones that include materials such as: construction paper, crayons, markers, scissors (with adult supervision), stickers, glue, and old magazines. Have children cut out magazine pictures of various items that they are thankful for. If you have enough time in advance, print pictures of family members for the kids to choose from. Once children finish their art they can post them to a wall labeled “Gratitude Gallery” for all guests to peruse throughout the gathering.
- Thank You Tote. In a previous blog (Above and Beyond, “Thank You.”), I attached some ideas for putting together a Thank Your Tote. A Thank You Tote is geared towards preschoolers are who starting to write with invented spelling and phonetic words. As children work on Thank You cards, they can send them home with individual guests or make a bunch for the gracious hosts.
- Corn Husking Contest. A corn husking contest not only helps with food preparation but also with fine motor development for young children. While husking corn, children are working on eye-hand coordination and building strength in their hands and fingers. This is also a good time to have a conversation about the life of corn from farm to table.
- Nature Walk Collage. A good after Thanksgiving meal activity is to take a stroll outside. The crisp air and stretching of the legs gets the large muscles moving and refreshes the senses. While you’re outside walking, take some time to collect various Fall nature items. Bring a ziploc baggie to collect acorns, leaves, sticks, pine cones, etc. After collecting items, bring them inside and use them to make invented creatures with string, glue, and tape. Let your imagine come to life!
- Stained Glass Leaves. This is an old favorite preschool activity that brings back memories for many adults. Use the leaves collected during the after-Thanksgiving-meal nature walk to press between wax paper with an iron. This activity requires adult supervision. Choose 3 to 4 leaves to lay between two sheets of wax paper. Put the wax paper-leaves-wax paper layers between a towel and iron the towel. The heat from the iron will melt the wax sheets together sealing the leaves inside. After the sheets are melted together, punch a hole in the top and string a piece of yarn or thread to hang in front of the window. The light from outside will highlight the natural colors of the beautiful Fall leaves.
The Parenting Hub would love to hear about other fun, easy Thanksgiving activities that you enjoy doing with your young children. Please send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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