It’s Time for An Attitude of Gratitude For Kids

No matter what your calendar says for today, Thanksgiving or not, it’s time for an attitude of gratitude for kids and adults. With just a month to Christmas, it seems fitting that the holiday season starts with the action of being grateful. In the midst of family and friends and all the excitement of the day, we sometimes lose sight of the message, to be thankful.

attitude of gratitude for kids

Saying thank you is one of the easiest things we can do. It costs us nothing and, at the same time, creates powerful bonds between people. It is much more than words, it is an action. It shows we recognize some one else’s efforts on our behalf.

Are there ways we can help children say thank you? Certainly, and one of the best ways is with our own example. Kids need to see and hear us saying thank you to others. Later, we can explain to them why we did so. As parents, teachers, and caregivers, we don’t want to sound like a broken record, prompting kids to remember the magic words. We’d rather they remembered to do so themselves. Instead of us telling them, we can get creative with objects at hand. For instance, be the voice of the fork on the table and thank the cook for a yummy meal. A stuffie on the bed can say thank you for reading a story and giving a cuddle. Kids often respond to this by echoing the thank you.

signing thank you
(Saying Thank You using sign language)

Recognizing children’s efforts when they do say thank you reinforces the behavior. This time we might  say, “I heard you say thank you to your sister for reaching your toy for you. I bet she felt appreciated.” Or, “I noticed you said thank you when the store helper gave you a balloon. I could tell that person felt happier when I saw the smile.”

Kids often bring adults back from the drama of everyday life to what’s most simple and basic: food, shelter, security, and family. For these we give thanks.

attitude of gratitude

For all of us, an attitude of gratitude makes a positive difference in our own lives. And to you, the readers and supporters of 1 2 3 Kindergarten, a very heartfelt Thank You!

Autumn Traditions for Kids – What Are Yours? Fall Activities #8

Autumn Holidays and Celebrations

Harvesting and gathering are two major activities at this time of year so it’s appropriate they are part of autumn traditions for kids. North America, with Columbus Day in the U.S. and Thanksgiving in Canada, isn’t the only place that has holidays at this time of year. The dates may not be the same but some of the celebrations are similar.

autumn traditions for kids

Columbus Day is not celebrated in all the States. In some places though, families will have an extra day to spend time with each other and enjoy the autumn season. In Canada, Thanksgiving is a major holiday and families gather together. Meals are centered around the bounty of the harvest with turkey and pumpkin pies. Thanksgiving happens in November in the U.S. where winter doesn’t arrive quite so soon.

Although the Moon Festival was earlier in September this year, it sometimes falls in October. This is also a celebration to give thanks for the harvest and for family reunions. The moon is at its brightest and roundest in the fall. This is a major holiday in China and Vietnam and areas where there is a large population of Chinese people. The video below is based on the book, Thanking The Moon, by Grace Lin.

Traditions certainly connect families. More than that, as  Anisa Raoof at Kidoinfo writes, “Traditions connect our children with our personal and cultural history and form the memories they will later share with their friends and families.” These ones also connect us with Nature. In places where we’re not actively involved with harvesting our own food, it’s easy to forget Nature’s central role.

For a play-of-the-day, is there a nature activity your family can enjoy? Maybe it will be visiting a pumpkin patch or a corn maze. It could be raking leaves in the yard and jumping in the piles, followed by mugs of hot chocolate. This might be the last camping trip of the season or a hike in the woods to see the fall leaves. Whatever the activity,  can your family be creating new autumn traditions and memories?

Button Bead Fall Twig Tree – Autumn Activities for Kids #7

This button bead fall twig tree is as much fun for adult hands as it is for kid ones. Plus, it’s bright and colorful for a holiday centerpiece.

Our weather has turned cold, wet, windy, and grey so we didn’t spend very much time outside. Only long enough to gather a few twigs. Sticks were too thick for what we wanted—small enough for buttons and beads—but a bush had some about the right size. We snapped off a few dried ends and carried them home.

play with buttons

First, we sorted thru the button box to find some that were red, orange, and yellow like the autumn leaves that are blowing around. Little Sister loves to run her fingers in the buttons and squeeze handfuls. This is quite sensory because the buttons feel smooth and make lots of noise. We also scrounged some fall colors of beads. Next time, I’ll look for more variety of colors instead of so many pink. Note to self: Pony beads would have a much larger hole and could be threaded onto thin sticks from trees.

Next, we stuck the twigs into a lump of play dough. Plasticine would be stiffer and wouldn’t dry out so that’s another thing we learned. Sometimes, knowing how to change and adapt an idea is as valuable as the idea itself.

fall twig button bead tree

When the twigs were tucked into the play dough, both Big and Little Sisters threaded the buttons and beads onto the twigs. A few ends were too thin to support much weight so we snipped them off. Since our twigs were pretty small, the kids didn’t use all the beads. These got stuck into the play dough to be ones that had fallen on the ground.

The photo is our button bead fall twig tree all done. We were all pleased at how colorful and bright it looks. We can use it on the Thanksgiving table but the kids will probably want to play with it and do it again a few times. There are several versions of these projects on-line. Instead of sticks and twigs, twist together 3 or 4 pipe cleaners at the bottom. Bend the  tops out to make branches. As mentioned before, pony beads would be easier to slide onto pipe cleaners. Sticks and twigs add a little bit of nature.

button bead fall twig tree

This is a super activity for fine-motor skills, nature, art, and science all combined. Count the buttons and beads for some math. There was lots of discussion about what beads and buttons to put on what branches and a few fall words too. When the time comes to use it on the table, the kids will be proud of what they’ve created. So much learning and fun in one activity. Do you think your child would like to try this button bead fall twig tree?

Dinosaur and Turkey Fruit Snacks for Kids

Giving kids something to do in the kitchen while adults are preparing a meal helps them feel included and can keep them safely occupied. If you are busy today, here is an idea for a nutritious fruit snack that can be either a dinosaur or a turkey, or you can make one of each. After all, … Continue reading Dinosaur and Turkey Fruit Snacks for Kids

Are Turkeys and Dinosaurs Cousins? Easy Craft for Both

This same craft idea can be used for either a turkey or a dinosaur, which is quite appropriate because it turns out turkeys and dinosaurs are related. After yesterday’s blog post about dinosaurs, manners, magic words, and the holiday of Thanksgiving, a quick on-line search showed there’s evidence of a link between dinosaurs and turkeys. … Continue reading Are Turkeys and Dinosaurs Cousins? Easy Craft for Both

Kindergarten Readiness and Ways to Say Thank You

Thanksgiving is a reminder for something that we can do, with others and by ourselves, anytime. Just this week, I was at a presentation on Brain Wellness, with speaker and author Gary Anaka. One of the best activities for brain health, for anyone of any age, is an attitude of gratitude. Saying thank you supports … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness and Ways to Say Thank You

Kindergarten Readiness: Fall – Thanksgiving Wreath Craft

This craft works for a wonderful fall or Thanksgiving decoration and not only is it fun for kids, but there’s learning for kindergarten readiness too. Thank you to Happy Hooligans for the inspiration. First, we used a stiff piece of paper and traced around a pie plate to make the outside circle. Little hands can … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Fall – Thanksgiving Wreath Craft