Thanksgiving Necklace Craft

Thanksgiving Necklace Craft
Make a fun wearable craft for Thanksgiving using pasta that you dye yourself! This is a fantastic preschool craft for Thanksgiving. We wanted to put together a craft that would tie in a bit of the Native American side of Thanksgiving. Since beads were so important to the Native American culture (jewelry, currency, etc.), we decided to “make” our own beads from pasta and put together our own necklaces for Thanksgiving. This turned into a very simple Thanksgiving history lesson for our preschool son, as well as a great craft to work on fine motor skills and pattern recognition with he. But most importantly, it was a Thanksgiving craft that he really enjoyed!

What you’ll need:

dye pasta step 1

dry pasta step 2

thanksgiving necklace pattern

thanksgiving necklace

 

 

Red, yellow and orange dyed pasta Here are the instructions for making dyed pasta
Yarn or jelly bracelet type material (for sale at craft stores)
Scissors
Tape
Toothpick (optional)
Method for older children
Cut the length of string that you would like your necklace to be – it’s best to cut this slightly longer than you will need.
String the yarn through the pasta to create your necklace.
Tie the ends of your necklace together and trim any excess.
Method for younger children
Cut the length of string that you would like your necklace to be – it’s best to cut this slightly longer than you will need.
Tape one end of the string to a table or book, etc.
If using yarn, tape a toothpick to the other end of the yarn to create a stiff end or “needle” for the children to use to string through the pasta. If you are using the jelly bracelet type material this won’t be necessary.
String the yarn through the pasta to create your necklace.
Tie the ends of your necklace together and trim any excess.

Fun and educational activities for November

Fun and Educational activities for November

As the days get colder, it is sometimes nice to have a few indoor activities on hand to occupy your little one. It seems especially appropriate to tie these activities into the November Thanksgiving theme. And, of course, let’s make sure that your child has the opportunity to practice important school readiness skills while he is having fun!

  • Handprint turkeys provide practice with number writing and fine motor control. Ask your child to place his non-dominant hand on a piece of construction paper, spreading his fingers apart. With his dominant hand and a pencil, your child will trace around his thumb and each finger. (You may help with this step, if necessary, although precision is not required to have an adorable “turkey” shape!) Then ask your child to color the handprint, using the thumb as the head and neck of the turkey and his fingers as the feathers. He will need to sdd the bottom of the body and the legs. He can write the numbers 1 – 5 on or above each finger to show how he counts.
  • I Am Thankful list allows children to dictate their ideas or write alone using inventive spelling. This activity helps children practice early reading skills as well as fine motor skills. Sit with your child and discuss the things in his life for which he is thankful. He may dictate these words to you or try to write them himself by listening to the sounds he hears in each word and writing the letter that represents each sound. Then direct your child to draw a picture next to each word on his list. Pictures help children “read” the words on the list at a later time and provide opportunities to practice manipulating pencils and crayons.
  • Bead necklaces are a nod to Native Americans that celebrated the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims. Ask your child to create a necklace using small pony beads, found at any craft store. Children will practice color recognition, creating patterns, and fine motor control as they string the beads onto the lace. Your child may even practice sorting the beads into like-colored piles before he begins lacing. I suggest using tape to secure one end of the lace to the the table to help your little one control the lace and avoid losing his beads.
  • Woven construction paper placemats can dress up your holiday table and provide fine motor practice as well. First prepare the materials for your child. Cut strips of 9”x12” construction paper about 1.5 inches wide and 9” long. Then, using another color of construction paper, cut lines about 1.5 inches apart and 11” long. (This will allow for about a half-inch border on the side of the paper.)  Ask your child to take the individual strips and weave them up and down through the cuts on the large piece of construction paper. If the first strip started with a down motion, the second strip should begin the opposite way by coming up through the slit. As your child completes weaving a strip, use a glue stick to secure that strip in place. After each strip is woven into the larger piece of construction paper, slide it to touch the previous strip to create a solid, woven pattern. This is a challenging activity for young children, so be ready to watch and offer some gentle guidance as your child works.
  • Tracing Thanksgiving pictures is another way to decorate your home while giving young children important practice manipulating pencils, crayons, and scissors. These pictures can be found in magazines, on holiday cards, and on School Sparks worksheets. After your child has traced the picture, ask him to color it and then cut it out for more fine motor practice. Consider decorating walls or windows with his pictures.
  • Baking assistance will require your child to use his auditory processing skills as he helps you in the kitchen. Of course, choose an uncomplicated recipe and allow your child to be as independent as possible while he follows your verbal directions. This is also a great way for children to practice counting and measuring skills!  I suggest placing items on the counter to the left of the bowl so that your child moves from left to right as he adds the ingredients. This reinforces the direction that eyes move when reading.

Have a wonderful and fun-filled November!

Thanksgiving Books for Children

 Thanksgiving Books for children

I love the fall season with the leaves turning beautiful colors and the air so crisp and bright. Often Halloween is the fall holiday that excites children. And while I enjoy the costumes and the parties (and even those delicious snack-sized candy bars!) that are part of Halloween, I am always ready to move past that holiday and turn a child’s attention to the holiday of Thanksgiving. While Halloween seems to focus on getting things (candy and costumes), the Thanksgiving holiday provides the opportunity for children to reflect on and recognize the important things to be grateful for – family, friends, our wonderful earth, etc.

I know that this tends to be a hectic time for parents, as well. Stores are already bombarding our senses with signs of the December holidays, so it is refreshing for me to step back from that and introduce children to Thanksgiving. While teaching children about the history of Thanksgiving, as well as the spirit of the holiday, I also remind myself to take time to think about everything I have to be grateful for.

One of the best ways to introduce children to Thanksgiving is through beautifully written and illustrated picture books. I have listed 10 books that I enjoy. Some are wonderful resources for teaching young children about the first Thanksgiving, while others highlight the importance of recognizing and being grateful for the wonderful people and things in our lives. There are also a few books that incorporate the holiday season in an entertaining story.

 Thanksgiving Books for Children

  1. Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland –  Beautifully illustrated and written, this book highlights the importance of being grateful for the wonderful people and things in our lives.
  2. Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes – Appealing, detailed illustrations and simple text focus on the children in a loving family as they recognize all that they are thankful for. This book truly captures the spirit of Thanksgiving and even has a page at the end of the book to allow children to write down what they are thankful for.
  3. T is for Turkey by Tanya Lee Stone – This delightfully illustrated book uses the alphabet as the structure for telling children about the first Thanksgiving. The rhyming text adds to the enjoyment of the book.
  4. The Littlest Pilgrim by Brandi Dougherty – This sweet tale about a small girl will be easy for young children to relate to. The fact that the main character is a Pilgrim offers children a glimpse into the life of these early American settlers.
  5. One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B. G. Hennessy – This adorable book, which can be sung to the familiar tune, is a great introduction to the first Thanksgiving feast. The book gives accurate information in an easy to understand way with young characters that will appeal to children.
  6. The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing – Modeled after the poem ‘Twas the Night before Christmas, this rhyming book tells the story of a family as they prepare for the Thanksgiving meal. The story also shows this family sharing their meal with extended family and saying a prayer at the table.
  7. ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey – Another book set in the rhyming style of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, this adorable tale of eight children visiting a turkey farm will delight your little one. The author has a sense of humor as he names the farmer, for example, Mack Nuggett. This is an entertaining book, told with the turkey’s perspective in mind.
  8. A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman – Rhyming text and playful pictures are fun for children. The turkey theme sets the stage for discussions about Thanksgiving.
  9. The Thankful Book by Todd Parr – The bold, colorful, and easily recognizable illustrations by Todd Parr grab children’s attention. This book is a wonderful springboard for discussions with children about the many small things in the world to be grateful for.
  10. Arthur’s Thanksgiving by Marc Brown – While not about the Pilgrim’s first thanksgiving or a family celebration, this is an entertaining story for fans of the Arthur series. Arthur is given the job of directing the class Thanksgiving play which poses quite a dilemma for this favorite storybook character.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I hope you are able to spend this special time with the special people in your life.