Thanksgiving is tomorrow! We have a whole day set aside to count our blessings and be thankful. How can we make this meaningful for our children and for ourselves? Here are three simple craft projects for kids and families to capture the spirit of Thanksgiving and hopefully help it spill over into the days to come.
Family Thanksgiving Book
Last year my family started this tradition for Thanksgiving Day. It is a fun project for engaging each family member in an attitude of gratitude on Thanksgiving day. The basic idea is that everyone writes down or draws about what they are thankful for in their lives. It can be anything as long as it is meaningful to that person. We use a scrapbook that we can add pages to as time goes on but you could use anything really. Last year my youngest didn't write one word but had pictures of presents and puppies on her page. My oldest among other things, said she is "thankful for her little sister so she has some one to fight and play with." My kids have been asking for days when they get to work on the book this year, having a hard time waiting for Thanksgiving Day. I am so excited that I found an activity that is meaningful for them and make the spirit of Thanksgiving tangible.
This is simple and involves a time-honored kids favorite ~ painting rocks. We did this at preschool starting off with a little discussion about gratitude and thankfulness. When I brought up the subject with the kids, they were not able to easily put words to their feelings. They seemed to turn inward and start processing. So I asked them, "Are you thankful for your parents?" "Oh yes!" with big head nods and smiles. The kids took it from there. We talked about painting a rock and filling it with gratitude so it would be an extra special rock. A rock that they could hold and rub when they felt angry or frustrated or sad so they could be reminded of what they are grateful for and feel better.
Chain Of Thanks
Building off our discussion about thankfulness we made a paper chain with our thoughts on strips of paper. The kids colored pieces of construction paper and then I wrote their thoughts down for them. Most kids were thankful for their mommy, their daddy and siblings. One little boy colored multiple pieces of paper and gave thanks for his many Lego toys! Another was thankful for his meditation friend we made together. Boy did that fill my heart! As the chain grew, the kids looked on in wonder and excitement. It felt good to make something so lovely together as a group. We ended up with a chain of thanks and gratitude long enough to decorate our door!
For more wonderful hints, tips and inspiring discussion about teaching kids gratitude visit my friend Shawn over at Awesomely Awake. I always enjoy reading her posts finding inspiration in each and every one!