Thanksgiving Crafts: Play and Learn

This Thanksgiving Pretend Play Set was easy to make and fun to set up as an Invitation to Play and Learn.
Thanksgiving Invitation to Play and Learn

My oldest son and I made the Native American and Pilgrim families [Read more…]

Thanksgiving Play Set Craft

We have Thanksgiving book recommendations and a fun craft to share with you! First, here’s our Thanksgiving Pretend Play Set, made from cardboard toilet paper tubes. This was so easy and fun to make.

Native American family: cardboard toilet paper/paper towels tubes, construction paper. Tipi: sticks, rubber band, paper grocery bag.

Pilgrim Family; Lincoln Log house.

Campfire: cardboard circle, stones, sticks, tissue paper.

Toasting Marshmallows: because The Bee insisted that where there is a campfire, there are toasted marshmallows. Always.

The inspiration for this craft can be found here.

Our books:

Great beginning book for introducing the concepts of the holiday: Pilgrims, Native Americans, Mayflower, harvest, feast. etc.

A more in depth look at the first Thanksgiving. Explains the hardship of the trip on the Mayflower and the first year in North America. Good detail of what life was like for Pilgrim children on the journey as well as how they helped their families with crops, food preparation, and more. A great book for kids beyond preschool level.

Play time.

Here is how I set it up for the kids as an invitation to play and learn. For more about the materials we used and how we used them, click here.
Thanksgiving Invitation to Play and Learn

Thankful Tree

The thankful tree can be made by the whole family in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and on the day itself.  Younger kids can draw what they are thankful for or dictate words to be written on the tags. Teaching kids to be thankful for big things (family, shelter, peace) and little things (a warm cup of cocoa, a dog’s wagging tail, the last cookie) is what this fall activity is about.


Materials used:
Tags:  scrapbooking paper, tag punch, embroidery thread

Tree and container:  copper colored, spray painted branches, half-gallon mason jar, unidentified nuts we found in the woods by our house.

My Husband and I began by filling out a few tags to show the kids the idea.  They caught on quickly.

Visitting family and friends added tags as we celebrated the holiday together. It was wonderful to read what everyone was thankful for.  And we saved the tags and look back on them each year.

So much to be thankful for.

I’m Sorry, We’re Closed

Homeschool P.E.

I am so proud of Firefly’s math abilities.  I just needed to say that.  For all our struggles with reading and handwriting, it dawned on me the other day that he really does well with math and it makes him happy.  You can see it on his face, how good it makes him feel when he gets one of the concepts.  And he tends to then take a concept and run with it, so we wind up going way beyond each lesson in our math curriculum.

And realizing this makes it seem like small potatoes that math, in general, is not my favorite thing.  Our particular math program is very scripted and it’s a very different way of doing math than how I was taught, so it doesn’t always feel comfortable to me.  The lessons can be lengthy.  They require a chunk of time, which we don’t always have.  Around here, we sit down to do math and toddlers tend to steal the math manipulatives.  Preschoolers begin making demands for snacks and that Mom find the exact My Little Pony video that has been missing since last Spring. So finding uninterrupted time for math is a BIG challenge.

"whittling" soap, an activity for our F.I.A.R. book, Lentil

Oh, we do other math every day, like measuring things, fractions, money, etc.  But our actual math curriculum is a great program and it is obviously a good fit for Firefly. And, he needs to have some part of school, on a regular basis, that he can be successful with and feel good about that.  So with that in mind, I resolved to do an in-depth math lesson with him three times this week.

So how many times do you think we’ve done math so far this week?

That’s right, none.

I’m having the kind of week of previously unseen craziness and I’m trying to figure out why.  Perhaps it’s because Love Bug is trying to drive me insane by not napping for the past two days.   Perhaps it’s because we had too many activities scheduled out of the house.  Perhaps it’s because I started cooking some new things in an effort to feed myself and my family in a healthier way and they take more time to make.  Plus we spent an afternoon upgrading the toad habitat.  And Firefly spent a whole day at The Husband’s office after begging to do so for months.  Yup, they all add up.

Process, not Product: adding water to soap pieces.

With Thanksgiving coming up, preceded by a weekend away for me and The Queen Bee to go pick up my grandmother three states away, a mound of laundry that defies logic and a house that looks much more “lived in” than anyone who is expecting a house full of people next week should have, I’ve made an important decision.

Creekside Learning is closed!  Until after Thanksgiving weekend.  If the kids want to be read to, we’ll do it.  If one of them wants to, say, pull out their handwriting workbook, I’ll  say, “Go for it!”  We may read our Five In A Row book, but that is a big maybe.

It becomes shaving cream! My sensory-seeking kid was totally engrossed in this activity.

I need to regroup.  To clean up, to plan ahead some meals for next month, to read a book, to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, which includes our tradition of cutting down a Christmas tree the day afterwards and decorating it over the weekend.

And perhaps, I’ll even find a way to work math into our schedule when we re-open.

Love Bug wanted to join in, too, so we gave him some actual shaving cream. He tried to lick it off of the plastic knife and then put globs of it in his hair.

The Creek Kids and a friend, making Indian corn. Paper squares, mini marshmallows, markers, glue.

Some of the finished products.