Themed unit studies play an essential role in our homeschooling curriculum since they emphasize on a particular area of study, allowing us to engulf in it fully. Unit studies (also called thematic units or integrated studies) use a hands-on approach to effective learning as children learn by experiencing and discovering first-hand through different activities. For us, unit studies are a way to bring a subject to life by exploring the theme from many different dimensions: through fresh shelfie set up, books that come to life, sensorial bins, language, and math activities with a twist and so much more. Holiday-themed unit studies are particularly favorite since they add a new twist to an otherwise familiar material, and the happy anticipation of the holiday brings with it enthusiasm and excitement.
🦃Thanksgiving Holiday is especially treasured since we can spend more time together, reflect on what are we are grateful and thankful for, what makes us happy and what we appreciate in others. For us, this time of the year is a great time to instill gratitude and encourage my children to count all the blessing they are so fortunate with. By instilling gratitude and appreciation, I hope to ensure that my children will meet life with a mindset of abundance, appreciation, and joy; with a powerful attitude of "having enough" and with a lifelong appreciation for what they have, rather than what they do not.
"Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse." - Henry Van Dyke.
Below are some of the 🦃Thanksgiving Inspired activities/books we have done/read during the month of November. (All activities are arranged by the area of study.)
- Awesome Autumn: All Kinds of Fall Facts and Fun Hardcover (buy here);
- Look What I Did with a Leaf! Naturecraft (buy here);
- 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving, National Geographic (buy here);
- Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage, National Geographic (buy here);
- Pilgrims of Plymouth (buy here);
- Fall, First Step Nonfiction (buy here);
- The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving (buy here);
- The Very First Americans (buy here);
- Thanksgiving, Rookie Read-About Holidays (buy here);
- The First Thanksgiving, Step-Into-Reading, Step 3, (perfect for Julia - 8 yo) buy here.
DIY 🦃ABC Turkey Plate
This DIY turkey recycled paper plate craft is a fun way to practice upper to lower case letter recognition. To make this DIY, I simply cut out a circle from brown felt and hot-glued it to the paper plate ~ add googly eyes and some details and your turkey is ready. Julia colored the "feathers" with tempera paints, and I wrote uppercase letters with a black Sharpie. I then primed wooden clothespins with clear nail polish (just the part where I would write on, so that the color would not bleed) and using red and blue Sharpies wrote vowels in blue and consonants in red (consistent with a Montessori Language curriculum). I thereafter offered Adrian to match upper to lower case letters, naming each letter and emphasizing on the sound it makes. He also got to practice his fine and gross motor skills while pinching the pegs. (p.s. I should have written the lower case letters on the pegs upside down so that once matched, they would face the child.)
Fall Inspired Letter 🍂🍁Stamping
With this fun 🙌🏻 hands-on 🔡 Language activity, 👦🏼Adrian gets to express his creativity while learning proper letter-tracing. We are using Thankful Woodblock Stamp Set (buy here) & Rainbow Finger Inkpad (buy here). For more on Letter Series read here our "🔠 Letter Series (Montessori Language)."
Paper 🦃Turkey ✂️Craft ➕Addition
Making math activities concrete and hands-on is at the core of Montessori curriculum. Learning numeral to quantity association starts as early as at two years old, when the child carries the numbers rods or is first exposed to golden beads. I also like to create themed activities and since Thanksgiving is approaching, I made this paper turkey craft to practice simple addition. Adrian would punch the exact number of addends holes, then count the sum and write the answer in red Sharpie on a turkey's tail. This activity also promotes fine and gross motor control as the little hands use a hole-puncher.
🍁Leaves Numbers & Counters
See here 🍁Fall-Inspired Odd and Even (Numbers & Counters)
🌽DIY Simple ➖Subtraction
See here 🦃Thanksgiving 🌽Inspired DIY Simple ➖ Subtraction Math Lesson
🦃 Thankful 🕯Candles 🎁Gifts 2017
We received a pack of Diwali candles as a gift from a dear friend, and we wanted to make a craft from some. So, inspired by amazing LittleTinyLeaner we are turning these candles into a Thankful Turkey handprint keepsake.
Asking children what they are thankful for, brings the attention within, making them focus on the positive, and trying to think of others rather than just self. During this process of reflection, we made these turkey Thankful 🕯candles to give to teachers, friends, and family, expressing what we are grateful for. To make them, we painted each finger with a washable finger paint (use a separate brush for each color) and then imprinted the hand on the paper. Once dried, children wrote what they are thankful for. We also made a few for teachers, where we wrote on each of five fingers:s "I Am Thankful For You."
We also kept one as a keepsake where Adrian exercised his handwriting skills by writing independently what he was grateful for: "play, family, love, 👦🏼me, toys". It is so nice to see how as years progress, the hand-print gets bigger and the writings change. What is your family thankful for?
Paper Mache 🦃Turkey
See here ✂️DIY Pipe Cleaners ♻️Paper Mache 🦃Turkey• Thanksgiving Inspired Craft
🌾Scarecrow DIY Craft
See here 🍂Fall Harvest Inspired 🍡Popsicles 🌾Scarecrow DIY Craft
See here Adrian's 🙏Thankful 🌳Tree🍂 • 🦃Thanksgiving Inspired ✂️Craft•
•Thankful Tree on our Thanksgiving Inspired shelf•
🐇🐿 Forest Animals Sensory Bin
See here "🦃Thanksgiving Inspired 🐇🐿 Forest Animals 🙌 Sensory Bin."
🦃Thanksgiving ♻️Green Doll 🏡 House
Read here "🍂Fall-Inspired SMALL WORLD PLAY ♻️ Green Doll 🏡 House" post, where I wrote in details about the developmental benefits of SMALL WORLD pretend play.
See here 🎄Christmas Tree from Montessori Number Rods and Knobless Cylinders
☮️Mind Glitter Calming Jar
Before we can be thankful, we need to be mindful. See here a 🎥 video of how we made this ☮️ Mind ✨Glitter Calming Jar.
PRACTICAL LIFE ACTIVITIES
See here Making 🎃Pumpkin 🍪Cookies
Home Made Play Dough
See the recipe of our homemade play dough here
OUR LEARNING SPACE
"The child has a different relation to his environment from ours... the child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear." (Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p.56.) So, I try to set up a carefully prepared environment with materials and activities which are tailored to my children's developmental needs in real, practical, and everyday life. Holidays are always a favorite time and our shelves reflect the spirit.
"Thanksgiving is a time to give, a time to love, and a time to reflect on the things that matter most in life."- Danielle Duckery.
"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." - Melody Beattie.
For more on Autumn-themed activities, read here a roundup of all the activities we have done during the month of 🍂September and 🎃October arranged by the area of study in a post "🍂Fall & 🎃Halloween Inspired Homeschooling 101 Unit Study."
Also, you can read about our 🦃Thanksgiving last year here in a post "🦃Thanksgiving Inspired Homeschooling Activities for Children (2016)."
Happy 🦃 Thanksgiving Everyone! Wishing you a blessed, bountiful and happy Holiday Season.