We made these easy and sweet Thankful trees yesterday. I wasn't sure I could pull this project off with my younger ones but they all did a great job. I cut out all the leaves. I traced a leaf shape onto a piece of construction paper and then layered a few more underneath it and cut them all at the same time. Makes it faster and your fingers won't cramp up from all the cutting. In addition to the multi-colored leaves, you will also need a large piece of construction paper, brown paint, markers and glue. You are also going to need a wet cloth or wet paper towels on hand before you start.
First paint the child's hand and forearm brown and press it down on the paper to form the trunk and branches of the tree. I wipe down the forearm and have the child make several more handprints so the tree is really full.
Let that dry and move on to the leaves. Earlier during our circletime we read Celebrating Thanksgiving by Joel Kupperstein, Thank you, Thanksgiving by David Milgrim and Giving Thanks by Chief Jake Swamp. I then had an informal discussion about what we are thankful for and as the kids volunteered their ideas I jotted them down on a piece of paper making sure to initial who said what. Having done that, later at the table, I passed out one leaf at at time and using my notes asked the children to draw one idea on each leaf. The children came up with a couple more as we worked at this and we included those as well. You want to make sure each child has at least five leaves on his/her tree, otherwise the tree looks a little bare. After each drawing was completed I used a black sharpie to label it.
Once the children finished illustrating all their ideas they used a glue stick to glue all their leaves to their now dry trees. I finished it off by adding "I am thankful" with letter stickers but this could just as easily be handwritten.
This is my favorite leaf of Katie's..."snuggling with Mumma" Aren't the two little faces peeking out from under the blanket the cutest darn things? She was also thankful for going to the beach, berries, trees, flowers, playing, her friends M and J, her aunt Carol, Sam and Teresa because they kiss and hug her and relaxing with her stuffies.
Now it may seem like an abrupt change of topic but it follows in my mind because here are a couple more Thanksgiving projects I did with the children. I love to cook with my children and the daycare children. It exposes them to math, scienece and literacy and you get a goodie when all is said and done. It's just a win/win situation all around. I had planned on making butter with the kids for them to bring home and share with their families for their own Thanksgiving dinners and what better to accompany butter...but bread. I opted for a Tastefully Simple beer bread mix. It's quick and easy and oh my God! yummy. We used two mixes and made one big loaf to share today and a couple small loaves for the daycare kids to take home.
Our bread baking was effortless and my house smells like heaven. I couldn't have been happier with how it turned out. I wish the same could be said for our butter making. First I gathered the cast of characters and realized I did not buy the correct cream. I usually use heavy cream, not whipping cream. But beggers can't be choosers, so I crossed my fingers and hoped it wouldn't matter. (It didn't.)
I have also always used a baby food jar and a marble to do this activity. However, I do not recommend a glass jar anymore. After pouring in the cream and dropping in the marble the kids got to work shaking the jar vigourously to change it into butter. About six minutes later they were tired and bored with this and asked me to take over. I thought I would shake it extra hard to really get the cream really churning. Big mistake. The marble actually broke the jar and cream went everywhere. It is not a fun thing to clean up either. So for round two, I used a plastic cup that has a fitted lid. We shoke it and sloshed it for about 10 minutes and lo and behold, we made some butter. I must be very easily impressed because no matter how many times I do this, when it begins to change over to butter I call out as excitedly as the kids "butter! look! look! it's butter!" We put the butter into a small tupperware in the fridge to set up.
For lunch they all had a slice of beer bread smeared with butter, all made with their own two hands. They gobbled it up and I don't think they've ever enjoyed bread and butter as much as they did today.