I love counting down the days to special holidays. This month we are trying to do a Thanksgiving themed activity every day (we've only been successful some days so far). We are using my "Countdown to Thanksgiving" advent calendar to help us out.
Today we made a simple "thankful chain."
Materials Needed: strips of colored paper, markers, stickers, and a stapler.
1. Cut up colored cardstock/colored paper into strips.
2. Work together to brainstorm things that you are thankful for... and write one idea on each strip of paper.
3. Gather lots of stickers and decorate the strips with your favorite stickers.
4. Staple the strips together with the words/pictures facing outward to make the strips into a big long chain. Since we made ours today... instead of on November 1st, we only had 18 strips to staple together until Thanksgiving.
5. Hang up your chain somewhere so that you'll remember to pull off one "Thankful strip" each day until Thanksgiving!
This whole activity fosters a lot of vocabulary development and discussion of categories as well as practicing expanding sentences/phrases.
We started by giving our little guy the phrase, "I'm thankful for..." and then had him finish the sentence. Once he completed the sentence with an answer, we had him repeat his entire sentence all by himself ("I'm thankful for my mom and dad."). It was fun to watch him expand the sentences on his own as he got comfortable with the pattern.
When we were generating ideas, we would sometimes prompt him by giving him a category. For example, "Is there a favorite food you are thankful for?" "What are you thankful for in our house?" Our simple prompts helped him generate tons and tons of ideas.... we had much more than 18 ideas.
For younger kids who have difficulty generating ideas, you can walk around the house with them and have them try and find objects/pictures of things that they are thankful for... and then you can write those ideas down together.
For older kids, they can write their own strips and draw pictures showing their ideas. Younger kids who can't write can also draw their own pictures first and then have an adult transcribe what they want written onto their strip.
The Most Thankful Thing by Lisa Mccourt is a fun book to read along with this activity.