Friday, November 18, 2011

Explaining Being Thankful to a Preschooler & A Thanksgiving Craft

I wanted a craft to do with the girls but that wasn't to labor intensive since their attention span is pretty limited.  I love countdown projects to help teach numbers so that is what I decided to do.  I cut out 7 leaves using a template (printed on cardstock) that I found online.  If you need help finding one just google leaf template under images and you'll find a bunch of templates from which to choose.

I let the girls choose the colors of scrapbook paper that they wanted and then I traced the leaves and cut them out while they played pre-k and pretended to read Thanksgiving books that we've been reading together.

They put the stickers on the leaves and then we talked about what it meant to be thankful.  That is not an easy concept to explain to a 4 and 2 year old.  It took me days to come up with the right words.  Why is it that the simplest explanation is sometimes the hardest?  Last month Emmy's preschool collected food for the local food bank and I had talked with the girls about why we were collecting food and I had introduced the topic then.  I've tried to keep it simple.  We had talked about basic needs and what we need to live.  I explained to them that we have lots of things that we should be thankful for, things that make us feel good and even safe.  Emmy's pre-k was scheduled to have a trike-a-thon to benefit St. Jude's so we've also talked about how being healthy is something we should feel thankful for also.

When we did this craft, I asked them what things made them happy. I used some prompts to such as things they liked to do or things they liked to play with or people that they liked to be around. 

On the back of the leaves I wrote the girls' responses.  Some of their responses were:
  • Mommy and Daddy and Ryan (of course)
  • Grammy and all of their friends and Alex and Thomas (their cousins)
  • being able to dance (Madison said somersaults, not surprising for the little monkey that she is)
  • food especially marshmallows and cocoa (which I am not sure count as a food group)
  • their dolls
  • Emmy said her teachers (how long will that last, I wonder???)
  • playing tag
  • their house and their room
  • playing in the leaves
  • scarves and gloves (which are even more fun to play dress-up with)
  • blowing bubbles
  • bicycles and cars
And then they lost interest and wanted to hang the leaves.  I just used some ribbon I had laying around, clothespins, and removable hooks which I had in a drawer on which to attach the ribbon.

Here is the finished product:

Each day we're taking down a leaf and reading what they are thankful for.  For Thanksgiving, we'll either hang them all back up or make them into napkin rings by making a ring with a strip of paper to put around a napkin and then gluing a leaf on each ring. 

How have you explained thankfulness to your child?  What do you have to be thankful for this holiday season?


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