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Children’s corner: Giving thanks

This weekend, take advantage of the Thanksgiving spirit and plan activities and ideas that teach your children to be thankful for what they and you as a family have. One of a teenager’s most typical phrases is “I’m bored”–much like the whining of a 5-year-old, the “I’m bored” phrase can be tackled and the earlier you start to teach children to create something out of nothing, the less likely it is that you’ll ever be plagued by it.

I’m thankful for…
Make index cards with your children of all the fabulous people and things you have around you to be thankful for. The list can be drawn or written based on writing levels and can include everything from a Dora t-shirt to a little sister. Encourage new suggestions–the tree outside that keeps us shaded when we take a walk, the light you sleep with that makes you feel safe, etc. Putting words on the back of the picture cards will, of course, encourage pre-reading.

‘Give Thanks’ blocks
For a fun craft project for you and your children, pass by your nearest carpenter for 12 wooden blocks (cubes)–they should all be the same size and large enough for you to write on. You will also need acrylic craft paint (preferably in Fall colors) and spray on sealant. You can write on the blocks with a paint pen (perhaps gold) or with a permanent marker. Spell out ‘G-I-V-E T-H-A-N-K-S’ in blocks and use the extra two to draw a pumpkin on one and a turkey on the other. Older children can join in the fun and younger ones can play with the blocks when they’re finished. Use the blocks next Thanksgiving as a dinner table centerpiece.

Make a turkey headdress
You’ll only need colored paper, scissors, glue and markers for this craft extravaganza. Make sure you have a piece of colored paper large enough to create a band that will fit your child’s head. Then cut out three circles–one large, one medium, and one small–for the turkey’s body, chest and head respectively. For authenticity’s sake, you should also cut out a little triangle for the beak and a squiggly upside down V (or Arabic 8) for the wattle. Suggested feathers include two red, two orange, two green and two yellow–you can throw in a brown one for good measure. Fan feathers out behind the turkey made of circles, and glue the entire turkey to the head dress!

Crafts and coloring
Making turkey feathers out of multicolored sheets of paper can be fun–and a less messy option could be to just print turkeys like the one featured on the headdress above, so your children can color the feathers with markers. In any case, after having carried out an activity like those listed above, a ‘to-be-colored’ turkey may be something to be thankful for–15 minutes to relax!

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