Thanksgiving is a special time to remember our country's humble beginnings, a time to gather with family and friends to say "thank you" for our good fortune. We offer these activities as a way to get you and your children in the spirit.
Make a Mosaic
Your children will love creating mosaics with simple, inexpensive materials from the grocery store. Use dried beans of various shapes, sizes, and colors, as well as unpopped kernels of popcorn. Glue to paper plates or cardboard using generous amounts of white school glue. The earthy, natural colors of the beans and corn will help create an autumn motif.
Cooking New Traditions
Your children might consider turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce the traditional foods of Thanksgiving. Here's your chance to introduce them to a different traditional food: fry bread, a specialty of American Indians. You'll need:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Water and vegetable oil
Mix the dry ingredients together, and add enough water to create a dough similar to pie crust. Knead until pliable. Pat the dough into a circle about 8 inches across. The thinner the dough, the better the fry bread. Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a deep skillet and fry the dough until lightly browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Cut into pieces and eat with honey or maple syrup. Enjoy!
The Fabric of Your Life
There's nothing more homey than a quilt. Explain to children how, in the past, quilts were made from scraps and even material from old clothing. Recycling at its best! In the old days, making a quilt might have been a group activity, with friends and family pitching in. You, too, can make a simple family quilt. Provide fabric squares for your children to cut. A basic quilt could be fabric squares glued onto construction paper. Try to incorporate a pattern using colors or prints. You might also have each child decorate squares of fabric with drawings of family members or places and items of significance to your tribe. Sew or glue together.
Thanksgiving offers a great opportunity to take stock of all the good things in our lives. What better way than to create a catalog? Make a simple book by having your child glue magazine pictures or snapshots to construction paper. Or allow your child to use his or her own artwork. Include family, pets, food, house, toys, and so forth. Don't make this a project your child does alone. Parents should create their own book, too. After all, don't we all have things for which to be grateful?
Tania Cowling, a mother and former teacher, writes regularly on great activities parents and children can do together.