Archive for the ‘Fun Autumn Activities’ Category

Hands-on Thanksgiving Ideas

Monday, November 9th, 2020

Hands-on Thanksgiving Ideas

This year of all years, we have had unprecedented world problems, from the pandemic to the rioting to politics. If we focus only on the negative, then we are likely to become stressed out and even depressed. Instead, why not focus on the positive?

  • The relationships with family members that you have been able to build during this time.
  • The interior design projects you’ve done around your house because you have finally had time to get to things on your to-do list.
  • Gardening has also been really popular during this time, along with getting exercise, going for walks around the neighborhood.
  • I have had opportunities to pray with people and encourage them and see them draw closer to God.

Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we do have. Look around you and list all the people in your life that you are thankful for, and all the basic things like shelter, a bed, food, and water that we often take for granted. I grew up in the third world country of Guatemala, and I saw true poverty, houses with dirt floors where all they ate every day was beans and rice. And a lot of times, they seemed happier than Americans.

Hands-on Thanksgiving Ideas

In this workshop, I speak about how to be thankful during difficult times, and I describe many hands-on activities you can do with your kids to make this Thanksgiving meaningful:

Here are some activities that can help us focus on thankfulness:

1. Thankfulness tree: Get autumn colors of card stock paper and cut out leaf shapes. Place the card stock paper into your printer and print out maple leaf shapes that your kids can cut out. (There is a free template here.) On the back of each leaf, the kids (and the adults) can write what they are thankful for. You can hang them up on an indoor tree with Christmas ornament hooks, or you can attach them directly to a blank wall with sticky tack.

2. Thankful cards: Why not write thankful cards to each member of your family this year, and hand them out at the Thanksgiving table? You can tell each person what you enjoy about them and why you are thankful for having them in your life. These can be really meaningful.

3. Point out positive qualities about each person: Go around the room after Thanksgiving dinner, highlighting each person. Other people say good things that they appreciate about the highlighted person.

turkey-cake

There are lots of other activities that you can do for Thanksgiving that are whimsical, but they are meaningful because you are doing something fun with your kids, and that creates family bonding:

1. Turkey cake: Bake two cakes from a box, one rectangular one and one with two circles. One circle is the body of the turkey, and you can cut out the head of the turkey from the other circle cake, with a bowl. Make the feathers with the rectangle cake. Or if you prefer, you can use twinkies. Then tint frosting with autumn colors, and frost the cake. I kept a small amount of white frosting for the eyes, and put chocolate chips for the pupils of the eyes.

2. Live turkeys: Go look at some live turkeys, either at a farm or around your neighborhood. (You can even watch an educational video about this bird.) For several years now, we’ve had a whole family of turkeys parading down our street. I captured it on video:

3. Culinary arts: Teach your kids how to cook and bake while you prepare for your Thanksgiving dinner. After Thanksgiving, have the kids brainstorm new recipes for leftover turkey. One year we made little pies by using a muffin tin to place circles of pie dough filled with cherry pie filling, and criss-crossed strips across the top of each one to give them a lattice look.

This is also the perfect time to study the Pilgrims. For several years, we put up a Mayflower ship on our back deck using inexpensive PVC pipe and an old white sheet. The kids dressed up as Pilgrims, and we made candles and butter from scratch. We did a lot of other hands-on activities, which I show you in my Pilgrims Unit Study (that happens to be on sale right now for only $5).

I hope you have gleaned some ideas on how to make your Thanksgiving more meaningful. It really does make a difference when we focus on the good. May you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Autumn Scavenger Hunt (Printable)

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

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With the crisp air of the fall, why not take your kids out for a fun autumn scavenger hunt? Don’t you just love the beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges of nature at this time of year? From hayrides to apple picking to jumping into piles of leaves, there are so many ways to get outside and enjoy the season. Grab your camera and try to find each of the following autumn objects:

1. pine cone
2. squirrel
3. 3 colorful leaves
4. tree with no leaves left
5. pumpkin
6. seeds
7. thorns
8. dead grass
9. birds flying south
10. black-eyed Susans
11. dark clouds
12. spider
13. mushroom
14. moss on a twig
15. duck
16. berries on a bush
17. a moth
18. a stick
19. pine needles
20. dried weeds

Print out this fun scavenger hunt, and see how many items you can find:

Capture Your Autumn Scavenger Hunt on Film

If you want to capture autumn on video instead of with photographs, your kids can have a ball! Watch the following video to observe my family as we run through spectacular autumn scenery and throw leaves at each other. It’s a great bonding activity for any family!

Squash Creatures

Monday, November 11th, 2013

squash-creatures

Make some fun squash creatures with your kids instead of eating the squash. (Who actually wants to eat squash anyway, especially ornamental squash that looks like it’s been grown by aliens?)

Plug in your hot glue gun, take out your craft supplies, and decorate a squash to look like a creature. You can use google eyes, feathers, buttons, and bits of cloth. It takes less than 5 minutes to make this craft, so you can do this, even if you feel foggy and in need of sleep. As soon as you’ve made your squash creature, shout for your children to come running.

Listen to their squeals of joy as you show them your creature. Then let them get to work. One of my sons wanted the squash to have only one eye. Yes, since it’s all lumpy and looks like an alien anyway, why not go with it? You can turn the squash in any direction to make your creature.

I told my kids to use at least one feather, since I wanted to use these as Thanksgiving decorations, you know, to represent the Native American generosity to the Pilgrims. Enjoy your cute and easy-to-make squash creatures.

Autumn Table Decorations

Monday, November 4th, 2013

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What autumn table decorations do you have this year? Why not add some pizzaz by placing Christmas lights under them? This will give a warm, magical glow to your autumn table.

First you will probably want to put some sort of autumn table runner on your table. Mine has autumn leaves, but you can just throw some red or orange cloth down. Then place the Christmas lights on your table, and light them so that you can see if the lights are evenly dispersed. Plug the Christmas lights into the nearest electrical socket, and tape the cord to the side of the table with packing tape so that the lights don’t get pulled off the table by accident.

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Place a candle in the middle of the table and light it. Make sure it has autumn colors. Then sprinkle silk autumn leaves on top of the Christmas lights. Your autumn table decorations will now delight your family and guests!

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