Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I took advantage of the doting attention of my parents two weekends before Thanksgiving and prepared a bevy of Thanksgiving crafts to do with Zaxxon.  I wanted him to learn the basic story behind the holiday as well as having fun and doing turkey stuff.

First we made a turkey out of his hands and feet.  I got the idea here.  He likes smacking crafts with the palm of his hand to make sure the glue sticks.
Attaching the eyes.

Zaxxon had already thrown two five-minute-long fits just before we did this craft, first when he realized he'd left his pumpkin sticker at the credit union and the second when he noticed his snowman stamp was rubbing off his hand--not to mention I knew he had a cough and a runny nose, and had gone to bed late the previous night, so I figured we'd be lucky to get through one project on this day.  However, to my surprise he wanted more, so we moved on to a Thankful Turkey.
We started by reading this book, Count Your Blessings by Patricia Reeder Eubank.  We've had this book for a while.  It's a nice little lesson:  Cuddlebear wants to know what Thanksgiving means, and his Mama tells him it means "thank you."  She then helps him realize that he has much more than presents to be thankful for.
Next we glued together the body of a turkey and I asked Zaxxon to name things he was thankful for.  I wrote them on turkey feathers and then we taped them to the turkey (meaning he got bored and wanted me to attach most of them).
He named pretty much every family member, and then came up with a few more things as I reminded him of what Cuddlebear was thankful for.

I liked the hand and foot turkey so much, I thought it would be a fun one to keep as a Thanksgiving decoration.  I thought doing it every year might be fun too, in order to keep track of the boys' growth.  So I made one for Kal'El too.

After the turkeys, I taught him the story of the first Thanksgiving.  After coloring and cutting-out, we did this craft in the hallway.  As I told him the story, I gave him the picture corresponding to what I was talking about and had him tape it to a big map of the United States (with the exception of the Mayflower, which I had him put in the water.)  I think he liked moving into the hallway--it was different at any rate.

I've seen my sister-in-law look wistfully at our craft wall from time to time.  I know she wants to do this sort of thing with her own kids, with the only problem being that they don't exist yet.  I can't give her children, but I can loan her mine from time to time. 
On this particular day I knew she was coming over and asked Zaxxon if he wanted to do a craft with his aunt.  He was so excited he wanted to do it right away (even though he hadn't eaten breakfast yet--not to mention the fact that his aunt hadn't even arrived either!) 
She helped him make a pilgrim hat and Indian headband.  Now he's ready for the feast!

I'd been thinking that the autumn leaves would make good turkey feathers, and were even the right colors.  So the next thing we did was to trim some leaves off one of our bushes, and Zaxxon glued them to a turkey as feathers (he was helping it get warm.) 
After it was done, we ironed it between layers of waxed paper so hopefully the leaves will remain yellow and red.  (I forgot to put a dish towel down first--and I'd wondered why the iron was smoking!)

Last year at around this time, we started attending storytime at our local library.  During the Thanksgiving session, the librarian broke out a felt board activity where each child helped put a feather on the turkey.  Zaxxon immediately joined in, despite the fact that he wasn't used to the librarian or crowds of children.  It was this library activity that made me realize he was ready to start doing crafts.  Here he is with the very first crafts he completed (he was so little!!!)

This year, the librarian did the same activity.  Zaxxon was capable of listening for his feather color this year, and he really enjoyed it again.  So I brought it home with us.  It involves a song (sung to the tune of Frere Jacques)
Turkey feathers, turkey feathers
Brightly colored, brightly colored
Who has a (fill in the color) one?  Who has a ___ one?
Bring it now, bring it now
The children (who had been handed a different colored felt feather before it began) were supposed to wait until their color was called and then put the feather on the turkey. 

At home, I modified it slightly.  I "hid" feathers around our living room, and then sang "Can you find the ___ ones, bring them now."  His eyes really lit up when we started this activity, and he loved running around the room looking for the feathers.  Then, once again, he helped the turkey get warm by gluing the feathers on.
He's so much bigger this year!

Lastly, we colored and stapled together a book called "Pilgrim, Pilgrim, what do you see?"  I found it online here.  He wasn't particularly interested in coloring much, but he liked making a book, and the finished product.

With all this preparation, along with some library books and a few other songs, I think Zaxxon was well prepared for Thanksgiving.  This was a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to Christmas.

Tot School

I'm linking up with Tot School again.  Check them out for great ideas for little kids (I'm sure there will be lots of holiday ideas this week.)


CNHolmberg said...

How cute!

I laughed at the airplanes feather...

Eileen Rhoadarmer said...

:) He's a boy all right!