Thanksgiving for kids

FYI, I am not a crafting blog. There aren't step by step instructions to anything I do. I am not a photographer, so the pictures are not top quality. But I am a gal who tries to engage her kids in the creative process, instill good values of reduce, reuse, recycle, and respect God's created, his earth and each other. I just try to share little lessons I learn along the way.

So I realized last year how much I allow Christmas to creep in on Thanksgiving. It stood out to me last year and I didn't like it.

I love holiday prep, and I found I would listen to Christmas music while preparing for Thanksgiving. Some may say there is nothing wrong with that, to others I have truly committed a crime. It doesn't matter, because the truth is, I wasn't allowing Thanksgiving to sink it. I wasn't letting it be what it is, a day of giving thanks, not something to skim over to get to Christmas.

No more this year. This year, Thanksgiving stands in the spot light and Christmas will have to wait.

Also new this year is my children's ability to truly make their own projects and have an opinion about it. In years previous, I would research great crafts and we would "do them together" meaning they would eventually get bored and I got to finish the project. That usually meant that it still looked Martha Stewartish with a little kid twist.

Not this year. It is all kid imagined and kid created, which means lots of construction paper, personal drawings that have nothing to do with Thanksgiving and lots of glue. I found myself wanting to direct them. Wanting to in a small way manipulate the project so it would look better or resemble at least a little of my idea.

And then I remembered. This is how they contribute. This is how we nurture their good ideas and praise them for their creativity. This is where original happens. Those things are the real things I want.

So, Paul was gone this weekend. It was just me and the kids and the house was a total disaster all weekend. The kids slept in a fort in the living room and I allowed all the toys to stay out for the weekend. We ate plain rice, a can of corn, bowls of cereal and sweet potato chips for meals. It was beautiful and easy and they were happy. The dining table was covered in paper, glue, feathers, markers, crayons, tape, pipe cleaners, and pom poms for two days straight. We just put our plates on top or laid a blanket in the kitchen and had a picnic. It was great.

I asked the kids what we could do to make celebrating Thanksgiving special. They suggested placemats, like they did at school. I loved it. So I asked the boys what verse in the Bible they wanted to put on the mats and they decided they liked our Thanksgiving verse, so I typed Col. 2:6-7. I let Big pick the font, I showed them how to multiply the verse to get more on one page and not waste our supplies. I let Middle print the verses, and both boys cut out the verses and glued them to the placemats. They picked the colors of the mats and I taught them how to make turkeys out of their hands. (They really thought I was the smartest person on the planet. It was great.) We made a list of everyone coming for Thanksgiving and they were able to recreate their names on the mats. They drew, colored and glued. We worked on math, colors, and art.

And the whole time instead of listening to Christmas music, we listened to praise and worship instead. It created the perfect atmosphere to prepare our hearts for Thanksgiving. While the kids created, I tried my hand at pumpkin scones to capitalize on our fall day while the snow fell outside. What I love about my kids is that they knew this was a new recipe and it was a Thanksgiving training day in the kitchen so they gave me tips on how to make it better, but not before thanking me for a good try.

"It needs more Cinnamon, maybe a touch of honey or maple syrup to add sweetness." Oh my, what have I created in them!

Here are our placemats.

Now I will admit that they couldn't stick to the task for very long. They would cut and then go play. They would come back and glue and then go play. They would color a little and then play some more. It was a very laid back art project.

After the placemats were done, I brought out our remaining foam balls and feathers.

I need you to know that this year, it is our goal to make as many of our Christmas projects and presents as possible with supplies we have here at the house or at a reuse center or thrift store. We are trying to honor God and our family with not only our resources, but with our time and money. So I went to the craft bin to see what we had left over from years previous to decide what we would make our center pieces out of.

This was going to be perfect!

The boys made turkey's to add to our already homemade scrap fabric pumpkins that sit as our centerpiece. Now the pumpkins will be guarded by the two turkeys.

This is Big's. He colored the foam balls and only choose small feathers to make a baby turkey.

This is Middle's. This turkey is confused, but he's made with love. He started out as a snowman and then decided he was a turkey. He was probably confused because it was snowing outside.

So here is our homemade Thanksgiving decorations. I'll be honest, it felt really good to keep Christmas at bay. Listening to fun worship music kept our hearts full of remembering God's goodness and all we have to be thankful for.