Thanksgiving Box

Thanksgiving is an amazing holiday. For starters, I love to eat. The thought of an entire holiday devoted to eating as much turkey and mashed potatoes you can, is amazing. But of course thats not all it’s about. When I think back on all of most memorable Thanksgivings, I don’t remember all the food. I know I ate it obviously, but it’s not what I remember. I remember being surrounded by my family. I remember laughing at the kids table with my cousins. I remember listening to Grandma and Dad playing the piano. And now that my lifestyle keeps me from being able to go home for Thanksgiving, I truly understand how thankful I am for those memories. I wish I completely grasped that when I was growing up, but I never thought those times would end. As a kid, it isn’t always as easy to see.

So this year, I decided to do an activity with the children I watch. The idea of this activity is to get the kids to think about what they are thankful for each day in November.

We started by making a Thanksgiving Box. 

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To make your own Thanksgiving Box you will need:

  • A Small Card Board Box
  • Card Stock or Construction Paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Letter Stickers (optional)

Start by covering the outside of your box with card stock or construction paper. I let Anna Kate pick out the paper (color or pattern) and I cut it to size and glued it to the box. Next, she took markers and colored in all the placed we couldn’t glue paper. Then we put together a little turkey. She helped draw the eyes and picked out the “perfect feathers” for our little thanksgiving friend. Once that was all secure, we used foam-letter stickers and spelled out “I Am Thankful For…” It was a great chance for her to practice her letter recognition and spelling. Once the outside was finished, she set out to decorate the inside. She spelled out “Happy Thanksgiving” with more stickers and drew things that reminded her of Thanksgiving. For her, that was a cooked turkey, a bowl of peas, a scarecrow, a pumpkins, and a batch of straw.

Next we started on what would go inside the box. We have been calling them the “Thankful Turkeys”. 

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To make these “Thankful Turkeys” you will need:

  • A Variety of Card Stock or Construction Paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors

As you can see, you don’t need much because you will be making these everyday. The actual turkeys are not what makes this project special, but instead what they write on them. Everyday, have the children trace one of their hands and decorate it to make a hand turkey. I gave the children as little direction on that as possible. I don’t like to give them examples so they don’t just copy my ideas. I like to leave the creative liberties in their hands.

Once they have completed their hand turkey for the day, have them write one thing they are thankful for and the date in the center of the turkey. Each day, have them complete one turkey and place it into the box. Since I don’t watch the kids over the weekend, and there are some days when they have extracurriculars, some days they have to make more than one. Brooks doesn’t enjoy making them as much, but the things he chooses to write are very entertaining. What he writes usually makes up for the rushed, “chubby fingered” turkeys he makes.

Not only do the children have to think about things they are thankful for each day, but by Thanksgiving Day they will have a box full of things they are thankful for. Anna Kate is so excited to be able to share these things with her parents, that she actually hides the box each day when I leave.

I have been amazed at some of the things the kids have told me they are thankful for. The first few were fairly obvious. They both chose family, friend, and God in no order for the first three days.  After that it got pretty unpredictable. They have said everything from “cheese” to “Auburn”. They have also taught me a lot about thankfulness. Again, I tried not to offer up too many examples so they would tell me what THEY were thankful for. After they finished naming off family and friends, they started to name off things that I take for granted in day to day life, like water and shelter. I found it amazing that at their age, they thought about being thankful for things like that. Things that I don’t even think to be thankful for now that I am paying for them.

Since we still have a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, we still have quite a few more turkeys to make. But I have enjoyed this project so far. There are a lot of ways to personalize this project to fit you and the little ones in your life. You could also do this project as a family or as an adult. Instead of drawing on turkeys, you could simply write what you are thankful for on a sheet of paper, everyday for the month. It would be a great thing to look back at on Thanksgiving day with the ones you love. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with! Happy Thanksgiving, All!

alyssa

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Name Canvas

This morning I had the pleasure of having Miss. Anna Kate over for a few hours. She loves arts & crafts just as much as I do, so as usual, we made something fancy. A couple weeks ago, we were scrolling through Pinterest together and we saw some paintings made using painters tape. She didn’t understand how it worked so today I picked a project to teach her. She had so much fun painting it! It is such a simple project for the little ones in your life.

IMG_1392Supplies:

  • Canvas or Canvas Board
  • Painters Tape
  • Paint
  • Old T-Shirt or Apron (not pictured)
  • **Be prepared with lots of paper towels.**

Instructions:

  1. Cover your table with paper towels or newspaper and get your little one in an old t-shirt or an apron. This is going to get really messy.
  2. Use the tape to write out the child’s name (or any other word you may want) on the canvas board.
  3. Have them push the tape down as hard as they can. Make sure it is flat to the canvas. You don’t want any paint sneaking under.
  4. Hand them a brush and let them go crazy. Try to make sure they aren’t getting the paint too watery if they are washing their brushes off. Anna Kate learned that watery paint can get under the tape.
  5. Let dry. About an hour. If you are under a time constraint you can cut down the time by turning on a fan or using a blow dryer.
  6. Peel off the tape. If watery paint made its way under the tape, it will come right off with a wet paper towel.

The possibilities for this project are endless. No matter how many times you or your little one make it, you will never make the same project twice. You can also try to use letter stickers or stencils to get a new feel to your painting. Have fun creating your own masterpiece!

lyssa

Teacher Appreciation Gift – Personalized Crayon Art

**When I first posted this project it was intended as a Teacher Appreciation Week gift, but with the school year coming to an end, why not make it to say thank you for a great year!**

As I am sure most of you already know, this week is Teacher Appreciation week. Brooks and Anna Kate wanted to do something special for their teachers so we started by making simple “cards”. (Usually when we make things, I give them a basic idea and just see where they take it, so saying they were cards just doesn’t do them justice since they ended up being more like books.) They wanted to give their teachers a gift, so today I brought supplies and we made beautiful pieces for each teacher.

Supplies:

  • Canvas Board
  • Crayons
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Hair Dryer
  • Paper Towels
  • Tape
  • Plastic Spoon or Quarter

**You can get packs of 3 canvas boards at WalMart for about $5. You can also use the cheapest option of crayons available or old ones if you’d like.**

Directions:

  1. Decide what you want your canvas to say. We chose the first letter of each teacher’s name. (You could do pretty much anything you want as long as it’s not too small) Once you have decided what you want, draw it on the canvas with Elmer’s glue. I did this step a few nights before because we have limited time to complete our projects.
  2. Let the glue dry completely. (It took about twelve hours.)
  3. Set up a work space you don’t mind getting a bit messy. Lay down paper towels and tape some on the wall. Have your kiddos change into something that you don’t mind getting dirty.
  4. Unwrap all of your crayons and dispose of the wrappers.
  5. Place your canvas on the paper towels. (Be sure you have one behind it as well.) Hold a crayon about a half inch away from the canvas and hold your hair dryer as close to it as you can without touching. Turn it to its highest and hottest setting and watch the wax melt all over your canvas.
  6. Use your plastic spoon or coin to scrape the wax off of anywhere you had applied Elmer’s glue. It should come right off. You may have to help younger friends with this step.
  7. Anna Kate’s canvases didn’t have as much color around the letters, so we used one of the extra crayons to trace around it. Brooks was sure to cover every inch of his canvas with color, so he didn’t need this step.
  8. If you are using this piece as a gift, have the kids sign their work. Anna Kate also wrote notes to her teachers on the back as an added touch

The kids had a blast “ruining” crayons. Anna Kate blew through an entire 24 pack of crayons. Brooks had several left over. If you have lots of little pieces left over and you don’t want to throw them away, melt them all together in a cupcake tin in the oven and you’ll have brand new circular “rainbow crayons”! We spent a full three hours working on our masterpieces and they were both very proud of them when they were finished. We may try a few variations of this project throughout the summer. Have fun making some art of your own!

lyssa