Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving For Preschool

I had three preschoolers with me this week, ages 2-4, and being that it was two days before Thanksgiving, I decided to gear all of our crafts around that holiday.  I also did a few other fun activities that seemed to work well for this age group.
A Lego turkey.  Because...Why not?
Thanksgiving can be a rather heady holiday to try to grasp if you want to go into the background a little as I did.  Here's what worked well:

1.  Summarize the story, using your tots if possible.  Basically, I broke it down pretty simply:
         "A group of people wanted to worship God but were not allowed to where they lived."  (Here, I took our two smallest and placed them on one side of the room.  Nearby, was a laundry basket which shall from here on be called The Mayflower.)   
      "They decided to rent a boat and try to sail to somewhere else, where they would be free to worship and pray to God the way they wanted." (Here, I began pushing the Mayflower, with the two small tots inside, across the room, rocking it occasionally to add to their joy.)  
     "They sailed across the ocean to a new place.  Their boat was crowded and they didn't have very much food and it took a looooong time to get there."  (We get to the couch, where older tot is waiting and watching this story unfold.) 
    "When they got there, they started to build homes.  There were some other people living in this new place.  The Pilgrims called these people Indians." (Older tot, who has been told that he is an Indian, comes to "welcome" smaller tots).
  "The Pilgrims were thankful to God for helping them make it through the hard, cold winter.  The Indians were a part of this-- the Indians brought the Pilgrims food to help them through the winter.  And some Indians taught them how to grow food for the next year.  They were so thankful, they decided to have a feast to thank God and invite the Indians to share it with them.  This is the very first Thanksgiving."

2.  Next, we did our Mayflower craft.  I first saw something like this here:  I loved the personalized photo in the boat idea, but hadn't planned ahead (next year?) and so didn't have any photos on hand.  But, I figured, we'd modify and with a couple more Pinterest Mayflower craft ideas, floating around in my head, came up with this one:   You could also use popsicle sticks for the masts.  The kids drew themselves in their Mayflower, and in Mystery's case, she used an extra Cheerio for her head. 
3.  We made little edible turkeys, first seen here:   Always a treat and very cute, but way overkill on the sweet factor.  Next time, I'll do one of the turkeys I've seen on Pinterest that are made of apples and use cheese and raisins for the tails (again, next year.)

4.  And this is my favorite this year, the Thankful Tree.  Using pine-cones we had picked previously and baked so that all the little bugs were killed, we covered a small plastic throw away parmesan cheese tub and a few leaves from Dollar Tree.  Then, we talk together about things we are thankful for, and I help the kids make little tags that could be added. 
  "But where did you get that awesome little tree?" you ask.  That was the best part:  it came rolling up to me in a parking lot the day before.  It's a tumbleweed.  I must remember to look for a tumbleweed next year because they work very well for this, having withstood much harder things already while rolling their lives away.
5.  As a finishing touch, you might try looking up the Peanuts Thanksgiving cartoon on YouTube.  Older toddlers especially enjoy this, and there are many accurate facts about the first feast in the movie.

That's it!  Have fun crafting and Happy Thanksgiving!

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