Being a teacher, I am more than looking forward to five full days of visiting family and hanging out with my children and husband. However, after two or three days entertaining the kiddos may prove to be a challenge. Here are some great ideas to keep them busy and off the couch.
1. Make a Noodle Necklace
Soak different kinds of pasta in rubbing alcohol with food coloring to achieve colored beads. Simply place dry pasta in a plastic container and put in enough rubbing alcohol to fully cover the pasta. Add liquid food coloring into the rubbing alcohol (I used 6 drops) and let sit overnight. The next day, drain your pasta and place on a towel for 2 hours to dry. Then string your new beads on some ribbon (or yarn, but yarn is itchy on little necks) to make a noodle necklace. This is great for fine motor growth and practicing patterns. My little guy created this "red, green, wagon wheel" pattern all by himself!
2. Paper Bag Puppets
Create paper bag Native American and Pilgrim puppets using feathers and construction paper and act out the story of the First Thanksgiving prior to your Thanksgiving feast.
3. Native American Vest
Begin by cutting along one of the sides of a brown paper grocery bag. Once you reach the bottom of the bag cute the bottom off. Fold the remaining strip of a bag in half and cut a semi-circle out for the head. Draw a fancy belt and let your child color it in using an AB pattern. Your child can also decorate the vest with Native American symbols or picture writing. Add your noodle necklace and make a headband with feathers and you will have your own little Native American.
4. Picture Writing
Native Americans used picture symbols to record stories and events instead of having an alphabet and words like we use. You can use pictures to create your own story or just draw symbols for fun. My son drew a bear claw, arrow, river and mountains to tell a story about hunting a bear with a bow and arrow, hmmm, retelling of the Disney movie Brave perhaps? If you do a google search for Native American picture symbols you will find a ton of symbols along with their meanings. We wrote on a paper bag because Native Americans had animal hide to write on instead of paper for a more authentic experience.
5. Weave A Placemat
Need placemats for the kids table? These are very festive and great for little fingers. Fold a brown piece of construction paper in half and make vertical cuts about an inch apart until you reach almost the end of the paper. Then weave 1 inch strips of construction paper over and under the cuts you made. Vary the over and under pattern with each new strip until you reach the end of the cuts. My four year old son loved this!
6. Draw A Turkey
Follow the steps above to have your child draw his/her own turkey. My son painted his turkey when he finished drawing, for a nice colorful picture.
7. Read A Thanksgiving Book
8. Make A Pumpkin Smoothie
It tastes like frozen pumpkin pie. I used The Pioneer Woman's recipe for Pumpkin Smoothies, with a few minor tweaks (I just couldn't help myself). I added honey because it wasn't very sweet when I made it with just frozen pumpkin puree, milk and vanilla flavored yogurt. I bet it would taste even better if you substituted vanilla ice cream for the yogurt and added a dollop of whipped cream on top? I didn't do that, I'm just saying I bet it would be delicious.
9. Stuff A Turkey
Follow the instructions on my Stuff A Turkey post to create this cute little guy complete with feather hands.
10. Dance Like A Turkey and Sing a Turkey Song
Get a little silly after your Thanksgiving Feast, flap your wings, strut around and gobble, gobble, gobble. You can also sing a turkey rhyme. My favorite turkey rhyme to date is "I'm Glad I'm Not A Turkey." My son came home singing it last week and I had to look up the words. It had me chuckling out loud.
"I'm Glad I'm Not a Turkey"
(tune: Did You Ever See A Lassie?)
I'm glad I'm not a turkey, a turkey, a turkey.
I'm glad I'm not a turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
They'll cook you and baste you.
And then they'll all taste you.
I'm glad I'm not a turkey on Thanksgiving Day!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!