Gratitude Pumpkin

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We’re gearing up for a cozy Thanksgiving just as our family of four, but that only has us thinking all the more about what we’re thankful for or missing this year. One neat idea is to write down all the ideas your family can brainstorm… on a pumpkin!

As the kids came up with ideas (and mommy, too!), I wrote down all their words in permanent marker. Travis named favorites like Star Wars, friends and play dates. Don’t discount a toddler’s ability to name the things they love; that counts as the first step toward feeling grateful.

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Veronika also wanted to scribble with markers as I wrote, which meant our final pumpkin wasn’t “perfect”. But I loved this touch of reality on it.

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The resulting gratitude list was so simple but beautiful, and will make the perfect centerpiece for a Thanksgiving table!

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Thankful Tree for Thanksgiving Gratitude

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This collaborative family project works either as a countdown to Thanksgiving day, or simply as a craft to put together all in one go as the holiday approaches. Ours was sort of a mix of the two!

To start, cut open a brown paper grocery bag and cut into the shape of a tree with a trunk at the bottom and a few branches near the top. Attach to a wall with masking tape.

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I next cut leaf shapes from red, brown, and orange construction paper, making enough so there would be one for each day of the month until Thanksgiving.

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If you’re using the tree like a countdown, ask your kids each morning to name something they’re thankful for as soon as November starts. The response might be prompted by the day itself; for example on the day we had bright sunshine, we were thankful for the sun (and another day, rain!).

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We didn’t start on the first of the month, so we also had a day with a big brainstorm session to catch up. There are no wrong answers when it comes to this tree, and it’s fun to include big sibling ideas (Root beer! Star Wars!) with little sibling favorites (Bicycles! Puppies!).

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Even the littlest siblings can help attach a leaf to a branch.

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By the end you’ll have a beautiful tree full of family thanks.

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Create-a-Turkey Tray

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This art project works well as a solo activity to keep preschoolers or elementary school kids busy while you prep a Thanksgiving day feast. And with a toddler, it becomes a fun craft to do side-by-side!

To set up the tray, I cut large circles from brown construction paper for turkey bodies and smaller brown circles for heads. I then added “feathers” cut from construction paper in multiple hues, and orange triangles for beaks. Finally, add piles of wiggle eyes, glue sticks, and additional sheets of paper to be the background.

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From here, big kids can assemble their own turkey!

I showed Veronika first how to choose a large brown circle (“What shape is it?” I asked her), and to rub the glue stick on the back so we could press it to one of our large squares of paper.

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Next we added a small circle for the head. As she glued this one down, I pointed out the size difference between the small and large!

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We then named the colors as we glued down each feather. She also proudly pointed out that the orange beak was a triangle shape!

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She loved the wiggle eyes on the tray, so I gave her a small cup that she could dump out and refill a few times. Don’t forget to glue two onto the turkey!

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You can let your toddler make a more free-form “turkey”, too, which is a great part of the art process. I love crafts like this where we end up with one that looks like its “supposed” to and another that is authentically Veronika’s.

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