It is amazing how quickly department stores move all of the Halloween items out and bring out Christmas lights, wrapping paper, religious items, different sized Santa Clauses and ornaments. Oh, and who can forget about the start of Christmas music at the beginning of November? I love Christmas, but for the longest time, I’ve been confused about why department stores do not dedicate space for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a holiday that symbolizes the importance of gathering with others to give thanks. Before we begin to hang a tree or wrap presents, it is important to give thanks to our friends and family members. Spending time together is a great way to give thanks to each other.
Why not include a few crafts and a science experiment as part of your celebration? Read on! You’ll find a few tips on how you can involve the entire family in each craft project.
Craft 1: Giving Light to Leaves
The changing of leaves is the sign that autumn has arrived. For this craft, you will first need a lunch bag. Go outside and spend time walking around looking at all of the fallen leaves. Ask questions like, “what do they feel like?”, “what colors do you see?”, or “are they smooth or rough?” Grab a few larger-sized leaves and put them in your lunch bag. Head on indoors. Gather the following:
- The leaves you brought in
- Glue ($2.28 for two, priced online)
- Tissue Paper (Could be no cost if you have some left over from wrapping presents, $10.43, priced online)
- Waxed Paper (Could be no cost if you have it in your kitchen, $2.94, priced online)
- Crayons (Could be no cost if you have them at home, $5.04 for a pack of 12, priced online)
- Scissors (Could be no cost if you have them at home, $4.50 per one, priced online)
- Twine ($3.50 for one roll of twine, priced online)
Total estimated cost: $28.69 if you need to buy everything new
- On a sheet of paper, tape down a leaf and work with your child to trace the leaf’s outer shape. Remember, the shape does not need to be perfect. Just like snowflakes, all leaves do not look the same.
- Help your child cut the leaf pattern out.
- Work with your child to tear different colors of tissue paper and put them in a pile.
- Glue the leaf pattern on wax paper and help your child cut around the leaf to make a leaf shape.
- Put glue in the middle of the leaf.
- Work with your child to glue the tissue paper pieces to the middle of the leaf.
- Let it dry.
- Glue twine on the back of the leaf and find a window to hang it from
- Wait for the sunlight and be amazed.
- Connect the leaf project by first reading the book, Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
- Show them a book with the types of trees to help them learn how to identify the type of leaves they find outside. I suggest Trees, Leaves, & Bark by Diane Burns.
- Discuss: “when I look at my leaf this is what I see, what do you see?”
- Talk with your child about the colors that the sunlight is shining through.
- Talk with the child about the shape of the leaf.
Craft 2: The Tube Pumpkin
Jack-O-Lanterns are a symbol for Halloween, however, pumpkins are also a staple at a Thanksgiving table. From pumpkin pie to pumpkin bars, pumpkins are an important ingredient for Thanksgiving dinner. Pumpkin-themed crafts are also a fun way to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. This craft is called The Tube Pumpkin because all you need is a paper towel tube to make the pumpkin shape.
- Paper towel tube
- Orange and green paint (Could be no cost if you have them at home, cost, $2.32 for one, priced online)
- Plain white paper
- Paint Brush (Could be no cost if you have them at home, cost, $7.96 for a pk of 10, priced online
Total estimated cost: $10.28 if you need to buy everything new
- Help your child make a pumpkin shape using a paper towel tube. I found it best to bend one of the ends of the tube inward.
- This will act as a stamp.
- Pour some orange paint on a plate.
- Take the paper towel tube and dip it in orange paint.
- Place the paper towel tube on the paper to make your pumpkin shape.
- Help your child paint the pumpkin using a paint brush.
- It is important to note that if your child decides to use a different colored paint besides orange that is just fine. Allowing for creativity is important.
- Read the book, The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis before you do the craft.
- Ask them what other things are also orange (or whatever color they used to create their pumpkin).
- If you have a pumpkin at home and it is cut open, have them smell it and describe what they smell.
- Consider roasting and eating the pumpkin seeds. Talk about how seeds grow into plants.
a Fall Science Experiment
Apples are also important to a Thanksgiving menu. From apple pie to apple crisp, apples are a crunchy delight. This fall science experiment uses apples, not for baking, but for science.
- Apples, any kind will do (Could be no cost if you have them at home, cost for 1 apple is $.076, price from Wal-Mart).
- Baking soda (Could be no cost if you have it in your kitchen, cost for 1 store brand box, $0.98, price from Wal-Mart).
- Dish soap (Could be no cost if you have it at home, cost for small store brand dish soap, $3.75, price from Wal-Mart).
- Food coloring (Could be no cost if you it in your kitchen, cost for 1 box of Wilton food coloring, $3.19, price from Wal-Mart)
Total estimated cost: $8.68 or free if you have the items on hand
- Use a knife to cut a small hole in the top of the apple about half way down.
- Place the apple on a cookie sheet with a rim or in a cake pan.
- Have the kiddos put a couple spoonfuls of baking soda in the hole.
- Add a drop of dish soap to the baking soda for a foamier reaction.
- Add a drop of food coloring.
- Pour vinegar into the hole of the apple and wait to be amazed!
- Search on YouTube for apple pie volcano to view the experiment.
- Pair this activity with the story, The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall. Read the story before the experiment.
- Ask your child what color apple they enjoy the most.
- Ask, “are apples chewy or crunchy?”
- Ask, “do apples grow in the ground or on a tree?”
- Ask, “why do you think the apple began to fizz?”
Celebrate fall! Give thanks! Have fun!