Gratitude ~ Three Simple Crafts

Thanksgiving is tomorrow!  We have a whole day set aside to count our blessings and be thankful.  How can we make this meaningful for our children and for ourselves?  Here are three simple craft projects for kids and families to capture the spirit of Thanksgiving and hopefully help it spill over into the days to come.

Family Thanksgiving Book

Last year my family started this tradition for Thanksgiving Day.  It is a fun project for engaging each family member in an attitude of gratitude on Thanksgiving day.  The basic idea is that everyone writes down or draws about what they are thankful for in their lives.  It can be anything as long as it is meaningful to that person.  We use a scrapbook that we can add pages to as time goes on but you could use anything really.  Last year my youngest didn’t write one word but had pictures of presents and puppies on her page.  My oldest among other things, said she is “thankful for her little sister so she has some one to fight and play with.”  My kids have been asking for days when they get to work on the book this year, having a hard time waiting for Thanksgiving Day.  I am so excited that I found an activity that is meaningful for them and make the spirit of Thanksgiving tangible.

Gratitude Rocks

This is simple and involves a time-honored kids favorite ~ painting rocks.  We did this at preschool starting off with a little discussion about gratitude and thankfulness.  When I brought up the subject with the kids, they were not able to easily put words to their feelings.  They seemed to turn inward and start processing.  So I asked them, “Are you thankful for your parents?”  “Oh yes!”  with big head nods and smiles.  The kids took it from there.  We talked about painting a rock and filling it with gratitude so it would be an extra special rock.  A rock that they could hold and rub when they felt angry or frustrated or sad so they could be reminded of what they are grateful for and feel better.

Chain Of Thanks

Building off our discussion about thankfulness we made a paper chain with our thoughts on strips of paper.  The kids colored pieces of construction paper and then I wrote their thoughts down for them.  Most kids were thankful for their mommy, their daddy and siblings.  One little boy colored multiple pieces of paper and gave thanks for his many Lego toys!  Another was thankful for his meditation friend we made together.  Boy did that fill my heart!  As the chain grew, the kids looked on in wonder and excitement.  It felt good to make something so lovely together as a group.  We ended up with a chain of thanks and gratitude long enough to decorate our door!

For more wonderful hints, tips and inspiring discussion about teaching kids gratitude visit my friend Shawn over at Awesomely Awake.  I always enjoy reading her posts finding inspiration in each and every one!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Categories: Autumn, Fun Crafts, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Parenting, Seasonal Herbal Crafts, Thanksgiving | 2 Comments

All The Colors of the Rainbow

Can you eat a rainbow?

Yesterday we made this gorgeous rainbow of food for lunch, a yearly Thanksgiving tradition at our preschool.   In preparation for making our delicious rainbow I asked each child to bring  in a fruit or veggie of a specific color to share.

We talked about all the amazing nutrients in our food and even touched on the special things in foods of certain colors.  For example, yellow and orange fruits and veggies are loaded with beta-carotene and purple-blue indicates the presence of anthocyanins.  These special and amazing nutrients are like super heros in the body, protecting it and keeping it strong!

Our rainbow had red marinated bell peppers, beets, pomegranate seeds, oranges, tangerines, yellow bananas, green apples, black berries and purple grapes. We were so thankful for all this delicious beautiful food!

During lunch we let the children choose the foods they wanted from our rainbow and it was exciting to see many of  them choosing to try the entire rainbow, even kids that are often picky about what they will eat.  One little boy enthusiastically told me that he felt strong  after eating his rainbow!

Want to make your own food rainbow?

Here are some ideas of foods in every shade of the rainbow:

RED: tomatoes, strawberries, beets, raspberries, red apples, red bell pepper, watermelon, red grapefruit, blood oranges, cherries

ORANGE: oranges, apricots, peaches, cantaloupe, mangoes, carrots, squash, sweet potato, papaya, nectarine

YELLOW: corn, yellow peppers, melons, grapefruit, banana (if you choose to send this item we can prepare it in class), pineapples, lemons, yellow apple

GREEN: peas, artichokes, leafy greens, avocado (if you choose to send this item we can prepare it in class), broccoli, green grapes, pears, honeydew melon, green apples, green bell pepper, celery, kiwi, green beans

INDIGO-BLUE: blueberries, plums, blackberries

PURPLE:  dark purple grapes, purple potatoes, purple cabbage, eggplant, figs, purple bell peppers, purple carrots, purple cauliflower

Do you have any special ways of encouraging kids to eat healthy?  I would love to hear about it!

Shared on: The Kid’s Co-op

Categories: Food Is Your Best Medicine, Kitchen Creations, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Mindful Self Care, Natural Family Care, Parenting, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

An Experiment for Thanksgiving “The Original Pumpkin Pie”

A Baking Social Studies Experiment for Thanksgiving

While contemplating new ways to make some meaningful traditions for my family’s Thanksgiving celebrations I stumbled across the idea of the original pumpkin pie.  A confection that supposedly was most likely made by the first Europeans settling into soon to be America.  Well, of course, I had to try it.  At the least it would be a fun experiment and maybe, it might make a fun new tradition for my family.  According to online research, this was a culinary “favorite of George Washington.”

“1621 – Early American settlers of Plymouth Plantation (1620-1692), the first permanent European settlement in southern New England, might have made pumpkin pies (of sorts) by making stewed pumpkins or by filling a hollowed out shell with milk, honey and spices, and then baking it in hot ashes. An actual present-day pumpkin pie with crust is a myth, as ovens to bake pies were not available in the colony at that stage.” ~ From What’s Cooking America
This site goes on to explain the evolution of pumpkin pie into what we know today.

So the kids and I tried baking a pumpkin like this yesterday.  We scraped out the seeds, cleaning the pumpkin as best we could.

Then we made the custard. Each kid cracked 3 eggs with no shells going into the bowl!  Next we added lots of whipping cream, spices, molasses and sugar.  Then we poured the custard mixture into the pumpkin.

Filled and ready to bake.

  We used this recipe to bake a whole pumpkin, and there are lots of similar other ones online.  We did find that taking the lid off the pumpkin was essential in getting the custard to set up.

The custard is set and puffy and the pumpkin is soft.

Last night I sneaked a little bit of our completed experiment  and thought had an interesting taste.  My five year old looked on with an odd mix of interested horror and excitement while I was doing my sneaking.  Even though she refused a bite and I am looking forward to seeing if she will venture to try our experiment today.  The results may lead our family to a new tradition, or maybe not!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Results Are In~

Some of my family really liked the pumpkin and custard but it was certainly not the favorite part of our feast.  The custard part tasted surprisingly like pumpkin pie even though there was no pumpkin actually in that part.  Would I make it again?  Maybe someday.  It was certainly worth the time and effort to do once.  My family was fascinated by it and it was fun to have a bit of history in our home.

Shared On: Foodie Friends Friday

Categories: Seasonal Herbal Crafts, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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