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November 12, 2012

Teaching the Meaning of the Thanksgiving Holiday

Last year, when our girls were just shy of three, we talked a lot about Thanksgiving being a time to give thanks for those things we value.  

 On Thanksgiving morning, I cut out a tree from construction paper, and green, yellow, orange, and red leaves.  I asked the girls what things they were thankful for, and I wrote one thing on each leaf.  I let them glue the leaves on the tree.  It was a really fun activity, and I know it will make me smile to look back at some of the things they cited…like puzzles, and the neighbor’s dog.

This year, I wanted to introduce some history into their understanding.  B and I went to the bookstore on Saturday in search of a good book.  We actually bought two…one Curious George book (he’s just so hard to resist!), and this really great book from Scholastic.

Although it’s pretty lengthy, we’ve read this book a couple of times already.  The girls can talk a little bit about the Pilgrims coming to America on the Mayflower.  They understand that there was nothing here when the Pilgrims arrived, and that the American Indians helped the Pilgrims learn things about the land.

I love that we can now begin to connect the dots about some of the images we associate with the holiday…and of course that’s going to fuel some heavy-duty crafting over the next couple of weeks.

I love this Mayflower craft…

these Pilgrim hats…

...these cornucopias…

…and there are so many turkeys to choose from, I’m sure we’ll make several.

And as for the Curious George book?  It’s much more light-hearted, of course.  Part of it talks about watching a big parade.  Would you believe I’m going to let the girls watch a bit of TV this Thanksgiving?  As long as they understand it’s a once-a-year occurrence, I think we’ll be OK.  ;)

And of course we'll continue to talk about the things we're thankful for.  Who knows...we might even fashion a new tree.

I'm so very thankful for my baby girls, and for the opportunity to celebrate holidays together as a family of four.


Johanna at The Baker Twins said...

We love that book too! Another great (super little-kid-friendly) one is 'Off to Plymouth Rock" by Dandi Daley Mackall.

I used to do some fun Mayflower activities - one of which I would tell them that the mayflower was actually smaller than our classroom - only 90 ft by 25 feet! And that they were rationed food. So I would tape off a tiny area and make the kids eat their 'snack rations' - one saltine cracker and one piece of beef jerky in that tiny area. Gave them a new appreciation for what those pilgrims went through to get to America!

I'm doing baby book club tomorrow - too many cute books to choose!!!

northsidefour said...

Mandy, read "Thank you Sarah" by Laurie Halse Anderson, it's a wonderful book about Thanksgiving, maybe a bit too old right now but it's never too early, and it's really fun!