Monday, November 21, 2022
Happy Monday, everyone! We hope you all had a great weekend! Our weekend in Minnesota was brisk and chilly and definitely showed us glimpses of what's in store! Of course we were busy preparing for the holiday ahead... gearing up to host or preparing to travel and either way, making list upon list!
Thank you, once again, as we get this site up and running at full speed! We had a few glitches over the weekend. If you are one of our subscribers (thank you! thank you!), you probably received a few emails alerting you to new posts being published! Not true! Rather than a new post being published, it was one of us (not Grammy Laurie!) who kept pushing the "publish" button rather than the "save" button when editing today's blog! YIKES!!! As teachers, we often taught our students that "mistakes are great" because we know the best way of learning something new happens when we make and then correct our own errors! We can't promise that we won't blunder in the weeks to come but we are confident that we'll quickly learn to navigate everything as time goes by!
Today’s the day to talk turkey! Thanksgiving is truly the holiday that celebrates food, friendship, faith and… family! Definitely one of our favorites!
Below you'll find, once again, our five pillars of family and today we are sharing LOTS of content within each area... quick and/or easy ideas to celebrate THANKSGIVING with your Littles, your Middles, your extended family and your friends! We see this as our chance to show our readers the variety of content you will find on this site so we are providing an overload of resources! During the next six weeks, each Sneak Peek post will highlight tried and true activities as well as links to other ideas that we’ve found online (and ❤️) and want to share. We’re excited to build a resource library that you can scroll through to find a nugget or two worth trying!! After all, this is still our “Getting to Know You” and “I can’t wait to follow this blog because of all the cool things that will be included!” stage! Get ready…
Sticky Turkey Feathers
This is a fun activity to do with your Little! All ages (infant through 8 years old, alike) will be able to get creative while also building strength and coordination!
Supplies Needed: clear contact paper • paper turkey body • paper scraps (optional) • feathers (found at craft stores or you can make some from paper)
Add your turkey body to the sticky side of the contact paper. If you have older children or more time with your baby or toddler, you can draw a turkey body outline on the contact paper and have your child fill it in with the paper scraps. Tape the contact paper sticky side out on a low surface (table) or on the wall (if using a marker be sure to wait until the pen markings have dried 😉).
Give your Little the feathers (or paper feathers) and have them stick the feathers on the turkey. (NOTE: At first, I showed Little D how to do this by giving her one at a time.)
Let your Littles create! NOTE: I (Grammy Laurie) discovered that this was a project Little D (as a 16 month old) would spend about 1-2 minutes working on and then she would crawl away. However, over the span of an hour, she came back to it quite a few times and added to it. She seemed to really enjoy the feeling of the feathers!
Trim around the turkey when your Little has finished. You now have a beautiful Thanksgiving turkey to add to your holiday decorations!
Feed the Turkey
This is another fun activity to do with your Little to work on fine motor skills.! Older babies and toddlers can use their fingers and preschoolers can work on finger dexterity by using a tweezer and smaller objects to transfer into the container.
Supplies Needed: clear bottle with an opening slightly bigger than the objects you are using as “food” • pom poms (size depending on the age of your child) • paper, feathers to decorate your bottle like a turkey (optional) • tweezer (optional for older children)
*Always supervise if you have children who put things into their mouths!
Empty and wash the bottle. Decorate as desired.
Feed your turkey the colored pom poms.
When your turkey is full, turn him over and shake the pom poms out. Little D enjoyed this even more than putting them in!!!
A Few Other Grand Activities To Try…
(For each of these activities, you'll find the links below the pictures - tap each to find out more about an activity!)
For the infants in your Grand Lives… I (Gramma Laura) made these last week and plan to bring all three with me when we visit Little L (10 1/2 months old) and her family for Thanksgiving!
NOTE: Just as Grammy Laurie noted above, it will be important to keep eyes on Little L at all times, especially when introducing these activities. We may play a few tickle games as an introduction to the feathers. Little L is at the stage where most everything goes in the mouth. (Remember, that's how she is learning about her world and it is a key developmental stage! Putting toys and other household item in their mouths allows babies to discover the taste and texture of different objects!).
As a Grand who lives a distance from her Little, I (Laura) try to bring a few new items with me every time we visit Little L and her mom and dad. Look how everything I made fits into the colander... so easy for packing and for organization, too!
I can't wait for some Gramma time!
Here are a few more ideas we've saved - perfect for your toddlers, preschoolers and older Littles! (Again, tap links below the pictures to learn more about a specific activity!)
Our Littles are too young to enjoy these activities this year, but they are definitely projects we look forward to using in the future. Each activity provides practice in using fine motor movements, patience, hand-eye coordination and dexterity... and they look super fun, too! Win! Win!
And, a few yummy “snacks” to make with or for your Littles! These all make great table favors, too! (Remember to tap a link for specific details.)
A Song (or Two) & a Few Book Recommendations, Too!
Singing with your Littles is pure joy! If you can’t carry a tune, no worries! Littles could care less! They just love to hear your voice and, as an added bonus, you are giving them experiences in hearing expressive language and so much more! 🎵 Give one of these a try and add motions to make it even more fun!!!
Of course, there is nothing more wonderful than snuggling up with your Little and enjoying a favorite Thanksgiving story together! Here are a few of our favorites from our read aloud days as Kindergarten teachers!
When we think of Thanksgiving, we both are most thankful for the time spent with those we love! Nothing beats the gatherings and experiences shared on this special day! Below you’ll find some fun and festive ways in which we celebrate this holiday!
Being Thankful... Together!
Expressing gratitude at Thanksgiving is the main focus of this special day. Even if you are not a family who prays together, we have a few ideas to help as you share your blessings with each other!
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Saying Thanks" An easy way to express thanks before your Thanksgiving meal is to go around the table and everyone says something they are thankful for. To add some interest, begin with the youngest person at the table and end with the oldest. Or, have one person begin and then choose a name from a basket to speak next and then so on!
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Family Prayer: One year, many years ago, as the adults in Laurie's family were busy putting things out for dinner, the children were running around, getting in the way. Imagine that! The kids were asked to go into another room, and write the meal prayer. Then they read it at dinner. It was a tradition that has stuck! Those children are now in their 30’s and 40’s and the hope is to have their children take over now. There is nothing quite like a child’s honest opinion of what gratitude is to bring joy to your heart!
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Thankful Hearts: Ahead of the meal, the kids cut hearts out of paper (provide a pattern, if needed). Before dinner everyone takes one heart and writes what they are thankful for. Each person says “I am thankful for ___” and tapes their heart to a window or door.
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M&M Thanksgiving Prayer: Use the chart here or make your own that lists categories that you could be thankful for and assign each a color. People draw an M & M from a basket and state something they are thankful for in that category. (Examples: red - person, blue - toy, green - a place) If you prefer not to have candy before dinner you could find other items around the house such as buttons, coins, game chips, colored feathers or pom poms. You could also put a new twist on it and do your thankful prayer/game after dinner. NOTE: Skittles work well, too... but our preference always involves chocolate! 😋
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A Quick and Easy Interactive Decoration.... Take a cheap frame (for example, one from the Dollar Store). Insert a piece of paper (scrapbook, copy, construction) where you have printed “I am thankful for…”. You can add stickers if desired. Provide a dry erase marker. People can write on the glass what they are thankful for! Share these thoughts at dinnertime! (NOTE: Erases easily with a dry paper towel after turkey day has ended and can be saved for another year, too..)
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This Year's Plans from Grammy Laurie:: I was planning to take a leftover Halloween pumpkin (uncarved!) and use it as a table centerpiece, but the squirrels got to it first. So instead I will use a ceramic pumpkin I have had forever. I plan on cutting fall leaves out of colored paper and will then assign the older Littles (ages 4, 6, 7) to greet each person, hand them a leaf and marker and ask each person to write their name and what they are thankful for on the leaf.. The Littles will tape the leaves onto the pumpkin. It will be a great way to keep the Littles busy and will also give them a job to do to help with the Thanksgiving festivities!
Game Day... Thanksgiving Edition
On Thanksgiving, are you and your family avid football game watchers? If not, or if you'd welcome a change of pace during half time, feel free to check out one (or more) of the game-play activities below!
Would You Rather?
This game is very easy to pull off last minute! Either pull up the Would You Rather? image above (easiest) or write each question on a little strip of paper and put them all into a basket. To begin, someone reads the question (either from the list posted or by choosing a strip and reading the chosen question) and everyone takes turns, sharing their answer.
For a more interactive version... as you ask each question, point to one side of the room for the first answer choice and then to the other side of the room for the other answer. Everyone then moves quickly to the side of the room that matches the answer they choose. You can even attach points to the game... everyone standing on the side with the most people gets a point. Before sharing the next question, have everyone return to the middle of the room. Repeat as many times as desired.
The Gobble Gobble Challenge
This game was inspired by a similar game we found at www.growingplay.com. We made a few changes to meet our needs! You may pull up the image of the task cards provided above or you can write each task on a piece of paper and put them all into a basket. To begin, divide your group into equal teams (2-4 people work best). Choose the first task that all teams work on simultaneously, unless otherwise noted.. Set a timer and follow the direction on the task card. The winning team gets a point. Follow the directions for the Gobble! Gobble! challenges on the four cards. The team that wins the most challenges is the overall winner!
These gross motor activities will get your Littles moving... and everyone else, too! While each takes a bit longer to prep, we both look forward to adding these games to our future Thanksgiving Day plans! (If interested, tap a link to see what we've found and are adding to our files!).
This"Turkey Feather Hunt" is perfect for younger children. We'd probably make a "turkey bottle" for each child at our family gathering so they can each find their own feathers to add to their turkey. Of course, that probably requires hiding more feathers in more places depending on the number of kids in attendance and their ages! Enjoy!
We've all heard of annual "Turkey Trot" runs, but this activity adds a special twist! You'll need a ball and 6 cards that spell out the word "turkey." While the link talks about this being an activity for the Littles in your group, we think it would be much more fun to create teams consisting of Littles, Middles and Grands... or pit them against each other as another option!
Have you heard of the latest Thanksgiving craze... the Flocktail? We're not sure if it's a thing or not, but we loved the idea and we've got a few of our favorite options for you to consider as you plan beverages to serve during your Thanksgiving celebration!
Below, you'll find a few alcoholic beverage choices for the Grands and the Middles to enjoy (including Laurie & Laura's shared favorite! Can you guess which one it is? 😉 (Tap a link below the pictures if you'd like the recipe.)
Of course, we couldn't forget about our sweet Littles and those of us who prefer a non-alcoholic option, too! Give these "mocktails!" a try, as well! (Tap a link to head to the recipe.)
Now that you have your recipes ready to go, let’s make the presentation a bit more fun. Here are a couple of options (compliments of Grammy Laurie). Short on time? Let you older Littles help.
Take a skewer and tape some feathers on to use as your “wine charm” or drink marker. People can identify their drink by the color of the feathers. Feeling ambitious? Decorate it with eyes, beak, and waddle to look like a turkey!
I tried this with an old wine glass and it worked! Using washable school glue, you could glue a face directly onto your glass. Just pull it off when you are done, and the glue easily rinses off with water.
Don’t forget the Littles! Take a plastic glass and decorate with a turkey face. They will love to join you in a toast!
When the Thanksgiving day celebrations have come to an end and you're ready to gear up to address cards, decorate your house or do some holiday shopping, you may wonder what to do with all your Thanksgiving leftovers! Tap the link below the picture to find the recipe for a favorite leftover dish... delish!
A Thanksgiving Walk x 5
Laurie and her extended family always take a walk together after Thanksgiving dinner no matter what the weather is! Grands, Middles and Littles all participate - some walking, some in strollers and occasionally a dog on a leash, as well. This is a wonderful time to connect with others, one-on-one (it’s a pretty big group so her family breaks into little clusters). Many families love to simply walk and talk - but if you'd like a few ideas for making your family walk a bit more interesting, here are FIVE different options…
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To make your walk more interesting (especially for your Littles), choose an end destination that appeals to them! We often “bribe” our Littles by walking to the playground where the whole group explores the equipment and plays a game of tag together!
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Everyone starts with a partner when beginning your walk. Someone sets their alarm for 3-5 minute intervals. During that time, you and your partner talk one-on-one. When the alarm goes off, it’s time to switch partners! Repeat for the duration of your walk!
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Set an alarm as you walk. Every 5 minutes, when the alarm goes off, everyone freezes and shouts out what they are thankful for.
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Before you leave, set a scavenger hunt. Pick up items of different colors, or shapes or textures. See who is the first to find one of each!
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As you walk, pick up a few nature items. When you get home, each family can create a beautiful nature picture - outside on the ground or inside using paper and glue.
No matter if you choose an activity or just want to enjoy a walk in the fresh air, treasure these times of conversation and togetherness!
Our Thanksgiving reflection is short and sweet! Are you ready for Laurie's words of wisdom?When the Thanksgiving meal has been served and savored... it's time for the Middles to do the dishes! Such a wise Grand, she is!
Last year at this time, Laurie's family was celebrating their first Thanksgiving with Little D
Laura's family was eagerly anticipating the arrival of this Little!
What a difference a year makes!
This year, we have so much to be thankful for and we don't take any of God's blessings for granted - our families, our friends, our faith, our health, our homes, our new partnership and...
all of you!
Well... we've finally come to the end of this post! WHEW! Did you make it to the end? If so, congrats! We warned you that it would be a doozie! Don't worry, our normal posts will never be this loooong! We just got a bit carried away because we were so excited to start posting all the ideas brewing in our heads! If you'd like to leave a comment at the bottom of this post - sharing a favorite idea you especially liked, offering your own suggestion for an activity to try with our Littles or providing some constructive feedback - we welcome your thoughts!
Next week, we'll be back with our "Preparing for the Season!" post. Look for it to be (1) shorter and (2) filled with our ideas for celebrating advent and for counting down to Christmas Day with your Littles! If you don't want to miss out, be sure to subscribe to our site at the bottom of our home page.
Thanks again, for joining us on this adventure!
Here's one more tidbit... a Thanksgiving joke to share with your Littles as you bid them all "Good Night!"