We focused on being thankful (there's lots of turkey and pilgrim crafts out there but it seemed to me thankfulness was a better emphasis). I used the verse from Psalm 100 (which we've memorized in Circle Time) that says, "Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name" as our "theme" and had the kids draw some pictures of what they were thankful for.
Even though Judah's not officially preschool age yet, he and little Theia enjoy participating here and there.
The first thing Moses wrote was "BIBLE". I was so proud!! Then he wrote MOVIES (he asked me how to spell it of course) and then TOYS. Okay, well one out of three ain't bad.
Judah just scribbled on his, but Olivia and David had fun with princesses, Hercules the family dog, and monster trucks. All important things to be thankful for!
Mr. Mo Man surveying his work
I made each of the kids a little linen napkin. Since I procrastinate horribly in preparing for this co-op, I was not able to follow these instructions for hemming the edges and making mitered corners as I initially planned. Instead I just sewed a 1/2 inch around the edge of the napkins, threw them in the wash and dryer, and cleaned up the frayed edges a little for a more "rustic" (read "lazy sewer") look.
Then we traced each child's hand on the napkin with fabric markers (thanks to Mrs. P!) and let the kids decorate with their own drawings. This was pretty fun and something that I'm sure both moms will want to hang on to for a long time. =]
Mr. David working on his linen napkin.
Hard at work
We read some books about Thanksgiving that I had gotten from the library, and Moses and David especially were very interested in the story of the Pilgrims. Sailing on the boat, making friends with the Indians, and planting a fish with each corn seed were all details they remembered well.
Unfortunately I found it somewhat difficult to find good books about Thanksgiving! Having not previewed all the books before co-op started (refer to above comment about my procrastination), I eagerly began reading several books to the kids only to find them to be full of CRAZY stuff and then having to discard them. One book talked about the "tradition" of Thanksgiving coming from many different cultures, starting with the Greeks and Romans, and from African and Native American spiritualism... really?? I mean, I know other cultures have ways to show and celebrate thankfulness, but THANKSGIVING is a holiday directly and soley coming from the Christian Pilgrims of North America!! (And I believe Squanto and Samoset were Christians too, were they not?)
Anyway, I was disappointed (but not terribly surprised) to find several books that just talked about Thanksgiving as a time to be thankful in a very general and unspecific way and didn't really mention the role of the Christian faith in the story of the First Thanksgiving.
But there are a couple gems out there! We super duper love this book:
Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness
This book is the true story of three siblings- Mary, Remember and Bartholomew Allerton- who actually made the journey on the Mayflower with their parents, and the story is told from their perspective. It is chock-full of information about the Mayflower and all the people who sailed to the New World on her. This makes it very interesting for older kids, but the story is simple enough to engage small children too. There certainly are some sad parts (the children's mother and infant sibling die), but that is a true part of the Pilgrims' story! And the faith these amazing people had in God is clearly portrayed. All around awesome book. We own this one.
This was a cool book as well because it uses photos of a real replica of the Mayflower and people dressed in accurate costumes. Although we didn't read every word on every page, the kids really loved the pictures.
A good one for older kids:
The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh
And two fun ones for young ones:
This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story by Laura Krauss Melmed
The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene