A Month of Thanksgiving and Gratitude

I thought I’d share a little about our newest project (inspired by my way-to-much-time spent on Pinterest of course) in celebration of this month leading up to Thanksgiving.

For several years we have followed a family tradition of writing down what we are grateful for throughout the month of November.  I would cut up slips of paper on November 1st and set them out on the kitchen table.  Throughout the month we’d write things down and put them into this cute little box I found one Thanksgiving on sale at a local craft store.

 

The reality was that we would write lots of slips on November 1, 2, 3… maybe 4… and then forget until like Nov. 14… then again on the 20th… and… “Oh my goodness! Thanksgiving is tomorrow!  Let’s write some more kids!!”

The good intentions were there.

The focus…

well… let’s just say we’re easily distracted around here.

Still, the gratefully box has been a good thing – we would carry it with us to Thanksgiving dinner – wherever that might be – and encourage those we were gathered with to write their own messages of gratitude throughout the day.  Then we would pass the box around at dinner and read all the slips aloud.  It’s good to focus on gratitude, even if we aren’t perfect in execution of the project.

Still, this year when I mentioned the “Grateful Box” to the girls I met with blank stares.

They didn’t remember it.

Hmm…

Yes, they’re still at the stage where remembering things a year ago can be hit or miss… but I felt like maybe I could shoot for something with a little more kid-friendly impact both to help with consistency and to make things more memorable.

So I headed over to pinterest.  And I found a pin that linked to a Parent’s Magazine article on Simple Turkey Day Crafts that featured a yarn-wrapped styrofoam turkey centerpiece.  I had a feeling this would be the PERFECT kid-friendly visual reminder to focus on thanksgiving and gratitude for our family.

I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

I found it was really important to include the kids in the project from step one because that sense of ownership really helps create interest.

They went to the store with me – I asked them to determine what size styrofoam balls we needed.  They chose what to use for the beak and how to get our turkey to sit upright (we chose to make a “nest” rather than cut off the bottom of the styrofoam body as was suggested in the Parent’s Magazine post).  They picked out the eyes and yarn colors.  (Tip – go for Bulky weight yard… as the faster the ball is covered the better).  We also picked up some styrofoam glue.

I will say, it was not the cheapest craft we’ve done… styrofoam and yarn can be pricey… so if you go this route plan to use coupons.  We were lucky to find 3 coupons using our JoAnn Craft store app on the iphone.  We also had some yarn at home that we were able to use as well as construction paper and wooden skewers.

This project was something that was easy enough for my 3rd graders to do with just a bit of guidance.  They did all of the “work” of it after I explained how to do it.  And they were so proud of it as they watched it come together.  We did the project in 2 sessions – a little the first night and a finishing up after school the next day.

 

We pre-made a ton of feathers to lay beside our turkey, along with a sharpie, so anytime they want to write a note of gratitude there are blank feathers ready to go.

(ah… maybe I should have used some windex on that table before taking the picture… hmm… just keepin’ it real people… keepin’ it real.)

So far they have maintained interest – each day letting us know when they have written their new feathers (without reminders) and actually reminding us grown-ups to make sure we add ours.

I love that she wrote she is “thankful for our thankful turkey.”

 

I can’t wait to see how Mr. Turkey looks by Thanksgiving Day!

Now it’s your turn!  What are your family’s thanksgiving traditions?  Do you have a special way that you turn the focus with your little ones towards gratitude and thanksgiving during this season?  Are you starting a new tradition this year?  I would love to hear about it!  Please leave me a comment below:)

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