Monday, November 23, 2015

Involving the Wee Ones in the Thanksgiving Fun (Plus a Free Printable!)

My Helpers getting ready for the Grandparents' arrival!
Wow, is it ever a Monday!  Whew!  And just before Thanksgiving, no less!  Actually, that thought is making me feel happier!  I'm so excited for Thanksgiving this year!  This is the first year since we've been married to have this holiday with ALL our family (AND some new friends!) together.  And its going to be in our tiny house!  Yeah it's going to be cozy! =)
Maybe I should be a little more stressed, but for whatever reason, I'm not really feeling it!  And I'm grateful for that.  My simple goal is that one will leave with empty stomachs or hearts.
One of the jobs I love as a Mom is the tradition maker/keeper.  I get to bring and teach the meaning of these holidays to our little ones.  The past several years we'd already been covered in feet of snow and ice, so this has been a bit of a new feel to Thanksgiving this year.  Trying to keep it simple and fun (we are dealing with toddlers/preschools after all) here are some of the ways I've tried to get them involved and just keep the celebration fun.
1. Thankful Tree: tried and true idea, new printable!  We did this with our play group last year and for the last several on our own.  You can just draw leaves on or cut them out and glue them on.  I'm going to try to have our oldest write out his own thankful words to put on the tree this year as he's just starting to figure that out!  If you open the blank tree in a new tab, it should be big enough to print out for your own thankfulness.
2. Coffee Filter Leaves:  As I mentioned before, colorful leaves were a scarce commodity by the time Thanksgiving rolled around in Fairbanks, so these colorful substitutions were a fun craft for the littles.  I cut out a simple leaf shape from a small stack of filters, drew the veins on some in permanent marker the set the young 'uns loose with their watercolors.  It's fun to watch the colors bleed so well into the loose filter paper.  We tried to stick to autumn colors, but our little lady was bound and determined to have a blue leaf this year!  They also look very nice in a window with the light shining through!

3. Leaf snack bowls: our super creative friend invited us over to make these fun little bowls!  I love how they turned out!  We rolled out oven baked clay, pressed a leaf into the clay then removed the leaf to leave it's impression.  After trimming the edges, we gently pressed them into oven safe bowls to give them shape and let them cook according to the clay package directions (I believe it was 15 min. at 350).  Once they had cooled, we did a coat of acrylic paint, then a metallic top coat.  I think they turned out so cute and we are definitely setting them out on Thursday!
4. Pumpkin Votives: I was seeing this idea online in several places and thought it would be a fun, quick addition to the tablescape.  I did have to go buy the right drill bit (1 1/2" to fit a standard tea light candle).  Actually, my husband and son took over this project on their own!  I love it when the guys get excited about these types of projects!  The only things I would warn is not to get too small of gourds: they just crack.  And then just be careful not to drill too deep!
I had plans for thankful list napkin holders or placemats and coloring sheets for the kids, but my printer machine decided to bite the dust last night!  And I still need to find a good story of Thanksgiving to read (any suggestions?) As far as setting the table, I usually just like to use what we already have laying around like harvested ptarmigan feathers, pinecones, doilies and gourds.  Those all feel so autumn-ey to me!  If you'd like to see how the day comes together for us, check out our instagram account 
More fun ideas for the day of Thanksgiving:


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