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Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

5 Easy Activities for Your Family to Practice the Art of Giving

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By Lee Scott

Contributing Writer and Goddard School Educational Advisory Board Member

Sharing and giving are an important part of learning, and the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to help your children develop these important skills.

Gift-giving creates a happy feeling not just for the receiver but also for the giver. Children are in fact happier when they give back. Researchers at the University of British Columbia* interacted with children using puppets, which would make ‘YUMM’ noises when given treats. The results indicated that children were happier when giving the treats away than when receiving treats for themselves.

Here are five easy activities for your family to practice the art of giving:

  1. Give a Gift That Keeps on Giving – Make a “Giving Book” with your children. Think of five things they would enjoy doing for someone at home or for a neighbor or a relative. Write or draw the things on three-by-five index cards, decorate the cards and staple them together. Present the “Giving Book” to the relative. This is a gift that keeps on giving and extends the fun beyond the holidays. It also gives your children confidence in the things can they do for someone else.
  1. Build a Plan for Giving – Ask your children how they would like to give back. You may be surprised at what they come up with. Implementing their ideas will help build their confidence and commitment to the activity. Decide together on how to accomplish their ideas.
  1. No Money Needed – It is important to have children experience how to give beyond buying a gift. Donating time and effort is just as important. This will help your children in daily interactions with others. Many foundations have projects that are designed just for kids. Your children could make artwork for a local children’s hospital or help plant trees for a nature reserve. Whatever your child’s passion is, connect it to giving back.
  1. Donate Your Joy – Ask your children to select gently used clothes, toys and other things around their room that they could donate to others. You can choose the charity together. Take your children with you to donate the goods so they can see where they will go. Talk about who might receive them.
  1. Checking In about Feelings After your children spend time giving back, ask them how they feel. Most likely they will have a positive response and want to do it again. Conversations about giving help young children make the connection of that good feeling to giving back.

*Aknin, L. B., Hamlin, J. K. & Dunn, E. W. (2012, June 14). Giving leads to happiness in young children. PLOS ONE 7(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0039211

How Children Learn Manners Through Every Stage of Early Childhood

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 By Jack Maypole, MD
Contributing Writer and Goddard School Educational Advisory Board Member

Starting at a young age, children will need to develop social skills and learn how to get along with others. How they get along in the world is largely determined by how they behave with those other people. Developing manners is a great place to start.

What has always made manners a complex issue for parents is that of all the incredible abilities our children are born with, the ability to behave appropriately is not among them. Manners must be learned. Learning how to behave sensitively and sensibly toward others begins with how parents behave with each other and their children. This task might feel daunting, but it is less so when separated into the stages of early childhood.

Infancy – Observing
Babies watch us like hawks. They see how we treat one another; how much regard we have for the needs of others; how we wait for our turns, share and help out (or not); what the tones of our voices are; and what the expressions on our faces are as we interact in everyday life.

Toddlerhood – Laying a strong foundation
Ask your children to hand you the cereal bowls when they are finished, and introduce the magic word “please” as part of family life. The magic is the smile on the parent’s face when these words get used – the meaning and intent come later. Empathy usually starts to develop by the end of this period. Around 18 months old, children begin to figure out that others have feelings similar to theirs, so it makes sense to introduce vocabulary such as “excuse me” and “sorry” and the regular use of people’s names when asking or telling them something.

Preschool – Building that strong foundation
Sharing and turn-taking should be easily understood and expected more often than not. It’s also important to explain, in simple terms, the impact of behaviors on others: “We just don’t hit. It hurts, and you don’t like it when it happens to you.”

Kindergarten – Setting expectations
Expect your children to pick up their toys and dirty clothes, help set or clear the table, keep their hands to themselves, be fair to others most of the time and introduce themselves to others once they learn how to do it in preschool using dolls or puppets.

Hand Print Turkey Craft

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Celebrate Thanksgiving with this fun, family-friendly craft. Gobble, gobble!

WHAT YOU NEED

* White construction paper

* Non-toxic paint in brown, green, red, yellow and orange (or any other colors you have on hand)

* One paintbrush for each paint color

* Paper plates

* Googly eyes

* Glue

* Crayons or markers

* Aprons or paint shirts (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Pour a little paint onto the paper plates. Use one plate per color.

2. Set out the white piece of paper in front of your child, and have your child put on an apron or paint shirt.

3. Using a paintbrush, paint brown paint onto the palm of your child’s hand.

4. Then, paint your child’s fingers. Make sure to use one paintbrush and paint color per finger.

5. Press your child’s hand onto the paper. Try not to move it around too much, and then lift your child’s hand.

6. When the paint is dry, put a dab of glue onto the thumbprint, which will be the turkey’s head, and press on a googly eye.

7. Finally, let your child use the crayons or markers to draw a beak, legs and a snood, which is the red part of a turkey’s neck. Enjoy your adorable masterpiece!

What Thanksgiving crafts do you make with your children?

Five Fall Crafts Your Children Will Love

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  1. Work with your child to create an Acrostic poem like the one below. Consider using alternative words, such as leaf, pumpkin or scarecrow.

Thankful for my family

Uncover the changes in nature

Ready to stuff my belly with turkey

Kicking the warm days right out of here

Enjoy a game of family football

Yearning for snow to arrive.

  1. Ask your children to draw turkeys using their hands. Have each one of your children place a hand on a white sheet of paper and trace around the hand, fingers and thumb. Then count the names on your Thanksgiving guest list, and have your children create a corresponding number of hand-drawn turkeys. Ask your children to color them using crayons and imagination. Once they finish, take the pieces of paper to your nearest office supply store to be laminated. You now have adorable placemats for your Thanksgiving dinner.
  1. Use the colorful leaves of fall to create a lion’s mane. Gather a bunch of leaves with your Make sure they are dry and bug-free! Tell your child about the assorted colors as you gather the leaves. Next, take the leaves and put them in an old book for a few hours to help press and preserve them. Take a paper plate and help your child glue the leaves around the rim. Once you’ve covered the entire rim, let it dry. Finally, encourage your child to draw the lion’s face on the paper plate.
  1. Create a tree using buttons. Gather old or new buttons. Talk to your children about fall colors and have them choose the buttons that they want to use for this activity. Then, encourage your little ones to draw a tree trunk and branches. Finally, guide your children in gluing the buttons onto where leaves should appear. During this project, talk with your children about how trees grow.
  1. Ask your children what they are thankful for. Instead of having them write it on a piece of paper, have them make a turkey craft out of it. Get a paper plate and an assortment of colored construction paper. Help them cut out feathered shapes from the construction paper to glue on the plate as the turkey’s feathers. Once the glue dries, ask your children to write something that they are thankful for on each feather. Assist them with the writing if necessary.

Thankfulness

The fourth Thursday of November is when we prepare our bellies to receive lots of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and more. It’s Thanksgiving! Amid all the bustling of cooking, cleaning and getting your family ready for this filling holiday, don’t forget to tell your loved ones how thankful you are to have them. A great way to show them how you feel is through poetry.

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Here’s a haiku to help get you started.

Thank you for your love.

Your bright smile warms my heart.

I’m thankful for you.

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Holiday Helpers

With the holidays fast approaching, consider asking your children to help decorate the table. They will put their imaginations to use and enjoy a boost to their self-esteem. Below are a few crafty ways your children can help decorate your family’s holiday dinner table.

  • Origami Napkins: Find a clever (but easy) way to fold napkins, demonstrate how to fold them first, and then let your little ones try. When they are done, they can put their napkin creations at each place setting.
  • Homemade Napkin Rings: Cut cardboard tubes (paper towel or toilet paper rolls work best) into 1 ½-inch wide sections. Younger children can decorate the rings with paint or crayons, while older children may enjoy gluing on beans or beads to make fun designs.
  • Personalized Place Cards: Help your little ones make place cards for each of your guests. Cut some cardstock down to size and let your tiny Picasso’s decorate each card with a personalized masterpiece. Provide a list of names so they don’t miss anyone and can easily see how to spell each person’s name.
  • Fun Fall Centerpiece: Gather a brown paper lunch bag, paint, leaves your children have collected, a sandwich bag filled with rice, twigs, tape and some twine. Ask your children to decorate the bag with paint and, while the bag is drying, tape the leaves to one end of the twigs (creating long “stems”). When the paint is dry, place the rice-filled sandwich bag in the bottom of the paper bag to help the bag stand on the table, arrange the stems in the bag with the leafy ends on top, gather the top of the bag around the twig “stems” and tie the bag with twine. Voilà!

How to (Really) Help Your Kids Learn Gratitude in a Hectic World

Gratitude has far reaching benefits—for you, your family and those around you. Click here to read tips on how to put it into practice.

By Susan Magsamen for Working Mother Magazine

Holiday Helpers

With the holidays fast approaching, consider asking your children to help decorate the table. They will put their imaginations to use and enjoy a boost to their self-esteem. Below are a few crafty ways your children can help decorate your family’s holiday dinner table.

  • Origami Napkins: Find a clever (but easy) way to fold napkins, demonstrate how to fold them first, and then let your little ones try. When they are done, they can put their napkin creations at each place setting.
  • Homemade Napkin Rings: Cut cardboard tubes (paper towel or toilet paper rolls work best) into 1 ½-inch wide sections. Younger children can decorate the rings with paint or crayons, while older children may enjoy gluing on beans or beads to make fun designs.
  • Personalized Place Cards: Help your little ones make place cards for each of your guests. Cut some cardstock down to size and let your tiny Picasso’s decorate each card with a personalized masterpiece. Provide a list of names so they don’t miss anyone and can easily see how to spell each person’s name.
  • Fun Fall Centerpiece: Gather a brown paper lunch bag, paint, leaves your children have collected, a sandwich bag filled with rice, twigs, tape and some twine. Ask your children to decorate the bag with paint and, while the bag is drying, tape the leaves to one end of the twigs (creating long “stems”). When the paint is dry, place the rice-filled sandwich bag in the bottom of the paper bag to help the bag stand on the table, arrange the stems in the bag with the leafy ends on top, gather the top of the bag around the twig “stems” and tie the bag with twine. Voilà!

Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks

We see our family and friends, eat too much pie, enjoy a few extra days off from school and work, but beyond that… How can we demonstrate to our children the importance of both Thanksgiving and giving thanks?

The first Thanksgiving. First, let’s start by making sure our children know the story of the first Thanksgiving. Pick up a developmentally-appropriate book or find information online. It is important to discuss this story of hardship, friendship and sharing in an age-appropriate way.

A new tradition. Establish a new family tradition revolving around what your family is thankful for. This Thanksgiving, have everyone write or draw what they are most thankful for. Together, decorate a shoebox or journal to everyone’s answers. Make a point of adding to this box or journal throughout the year, and by next Thanksgiving you will have an amazing record of thanks. Add to this year after year—what a great treat it will be for the family to read through each Thanksgiving as your children grow!

Share. What are some of the things your children are most thankful for?