Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving for Preschoolers - Part 1

Thanksgiving. It has come and gone and December is almost here but I am still taking the time to share with you today a few of the activities my preschooler and I did during Thanksgiving week. I will probably post another time -or two- on the topic at a later time.

Going Nuts

Nothing is prettier than a basket of un-shelled nuts. I brought some back from the grocery for the holidays and showed Adrian. First we explored them with our hands to feel their surface, smelled them, shook them and finally sorted them, counted them and learned their names. We finalized the activity by cracking open one of each. We once again smelled the nuts, felts the inside shells (walnuts can be prickly-careful!) and finally had a taste! I, of course, do not recommend doing this activity if your child has a nut allergy...I also believe that children are not supposed to eat nuts under age 6 because they pose a choking hazard. I was a bit nervous about the hazelnut being round and big so I asked A. to really chew it down! :) A. ended up LOVING the nuts and asked for more so I said we'd crack more later for snacking and use the rest in baking. :)

Spooning cranberries

Yes! Even in Germany we were able to find some fresh American cranberries to do this activity. My son loves berries and so when I mentioned "cranberries" he so wanted to eat them right away. :) Anyhow, the activity went well and was originally found on The Adventures of Bear.

Feeding the pilgrims and American Indians at Thanksgiving

Who's coming for dinner? How many people? I borrowed a small plastic table from my daughter's playset, put a number on it and told my son that the number he saw on the table was the number of people we were expecting for Thanksgiving. He then had to pick the small cut-up cards and arrange them around the table for dinner. I made the little cards using many clipart files made by PamsClipart. They included pilgrims and American Indians. Very cutely designed AND free. 

Quill writing a lot more difficult than it looks...Of course this feather is not a real quill and this was simple tempera paint but it was not exactly easy to glide this feather to get any "ink" down. The idea was to "write like the Pilgrims" did back in the day. It was fun but a bit frustrating. The letters and shapes you can actually discern on the paper were made by me to show A. he could actually do it but had to trace over several times. Idea was seen on The Adventures of Bear.

The Mayflower

A cute little craft I had remembered seeing on a family crafting website a while ago. I thought it was Family Fun or something but I can't find it now. Anyhow, I had kept it on the back of my head hoping I wouldn't forget it when timing would be right! :) Teaching about Thanksgiving to a young 4 year old can be a bit tough but I thought this was a nice way to introduce it. Adrian made the Mayflower himself. We opened up a walnut, used one of the halves and he filled it with some yellow play doh. Then, he stuck some sails (which I pre-cut as his skills are still developing) on the toothpick using some pieces of tape. Finally, the toothpick was inserted in the play doh and we had our Mayflower replica! Adrian loved telling his daddy how he arrived to America on the Mayflower. It made me laugh. Truth be told. Adrian, like the Pilgrims arrived to America by ship for the first time but it was not with the Mayflower...

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  1. Very cute ideas! I have a 3 and 5 year old and it can be difficult to teach the historical side of Thanksgiving. My 5 yo is just "getting" it this year and I'm excited to use some of these ideas with him... especially the quill writing. We have LOTS of real turkey feathers in our backyard as about 30 wild turkeys visit us each day!

    1. You are one lucky lady to have real turkey feathers on hand! This will make the activity ever so exciting! (Fauna over here is practically non-existent. :() I'm happy to hear you'll be able to use some of the activities I wrote about. Kids love seasonal activities but if we get them to understand the real meaning of the holiday, it's even better... Happy Thanksgiving Jackie!