Introducing Michelangelo to Kids

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**This post may contain affiliate links.  Please read my disclosure page. **

Leading the Child

Our weekend was filled with exploration! 

It started with an announcement: “We are going to learn about the famous artist Michelangelo.”  

And then the questions:  “Michelangelo??”  “Ninja Turtles??”

I saw those questions coming.  Frankly, they were great opportunities to introduce key vocabulary like

  • Renaissance
  • sculptor
  • artists

 

We spent the morning watching kid friendly you tube videos about Michelangelo. I found some great biographies!

Letting the Child Lead

We also veered a tad to answer questions about the Renaissance period itself.  Christopher Columbus was mentioned. PJ has a wonderful pop-up book about Christopher Columbus that I read to him.  “The Voyage of Columbus In His Own Words” has quotes from the journal of Columbus.  It allowed PJ to see how people dressed and spoke during the period Michelangelo lived.


We searched for Michelangelo’s art work.  I focused on the works that most interested PJ.

  • Sistine Chapel
  • Pieta
  • David

Looking at various artwork by Michelangelo was extremely helpful in teaching PJ to recognize the famous artists artwork!!  This upcoming week we will most likely ‘play’ with pictures of Michelangelo’s artwork in a sensory bin, investigate pictures with a looking glass, or discover a tray filled with pictures of art…or maybe all three depending on how interested PJ is.

First, we talked about the various biblical paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  

On day two, we discussed the material (marble) the statue David was made of and how very difficult it was to carve out.  Day two was a Sunday so we recovered one of his favorite stories from the bible “David and Goliath” by pulling out his sticker book.

I told PJ how long it took Michelangelo to finish these three pieces.  PJ was very interested!

Since we are learning biblical stories for lent, I thought it would be a good idea to invite PJ to paint his own pretend chapel.

We learned that Michelangelo actually painted the Sistine Chapel standing up rather than lying on down.

To make a pretend Chapel, I used wrapping paper taped to our porch corner.  I made two walls and a ceiling for him to be under.  You could see the pattern right through the underside of the paper but he loved it!!

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I also made this paint easel out of heavy card stock for him to authenticate the experience of what it must of been like to be Michelangelo!

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Then I invited him to paint like Michelangelo!  

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PJ painted the ceiling of his chapel with acrylic paints.  He painted clouds (heaven) and the sun.

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He was experiencing what it must of felt like for Michelangelo to paint above his head.  After 20 minutes  PJ started to paint the walls of his pretend chapel.

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PJ surprised me by painting stories of the bible like Michelangelo did without my leading him to!  He painted the crucifixion,  Jesus walking on water, and the birth of Jesus.  Now I know what to focus on during lent.

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Although PJ will be doing extensions of homework and working on academic goals after school,  I’m thinking of ways to include Michelangelo.  

  • Formulating and writing complete sentences – Facts about Michelangelo
  • Addition/Subtraction math facts- using a printable the has fun art graphics
  • Speech- matching and labeling artworks, 
  • Fashioning a puzzle from magazine clippings of Michelangelos work
  • Making a time line of  Michelangelo’s life
  • Using the fore mentioned ideas- Montessori artist tray, a sensory bin, ect.

 

Im very proud of my son!  He has already learned the definition of  many new vocabulary words like sculptor and artist. Though he can’t pronounce “Michelangelo” or “sculptor” well he does a great job of describing both!!  In just one weekend he has asked dozens of questions like “Does this look like God?”  and “Michelangelo wear shoes?”

Are you covering Michelangelo this month?  Let us know how in the comments below!

 

Thank you for reading,

Crystal 🙂

 

 

 

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Money Math Activity for Presidents Day: Shake to Make 10

 

Money Math for Presidence Day

 

 

 

 

Shake To Make 10! A FUN Money math learning activity…

We are days away from celebrating Presidents Day, Feb. 20.  I thought I’d share a very cool way to tackle math facts for those kids that are also going to be learning about money this upcoming week!

This fun activity was another extension of my sons homework.  One afternoon he was sent home with a math worksheet – you know, one of those worksheets that have a child practice a variety of skills on a single page like mad minutes?

Inside a box on the worksheet he was to add coins and make their sum equal ten cents.

 PJ has struggled with addition math facts this year.  He also can not identify or add sums of money WELL.  We have worked on Math Make Ten math facts and other fun money activities but we haven’t put the two together until this activity.

This is totally FUN!!

What you will need..

  • unruled paper
  • 10 pennies
  • a marker, a pencil , and crayon for rubbing

You will need to make a DIY worksheet.  I simply drew a “T” in the middle of blank paper forming 2 columns in which to write math facts.  I used marker because this was not a plan ahead printable.

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Feel free to copy this template:). I will add a printable in later.

 

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We collected 10 pennies and labeled the pennies verbally.  “A Penny equals one cent.”  He already knew heads from tails so, “Abraham Lincoln is on the front of a penny.”

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Then, he gathered ten pennies and shook them to let them fall!  How fun!!  

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For the math of this, he sorted the pennies by heads and tails. 

 

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Sorting ten pennies gave him a math fact whose sum equaled ten cent! (7+3=10)

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I added extra coin identification practice (he remembers better with hands on visuals) by asking him to create a crayon rubbing of the head and tail math facts.  He used the rubbings as guides to help him know where to write each number since I hadnt made a printable.  This could be a whole other activity to do with all types of coins later!
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PJ counted all the heads and wrote the total for that category.  He did the same for tail pennies then added the numbers to reach a sum of ten.

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He kept going until he had all the different math facts that equaled ten cent.  After so many times of writing the same math facts he blew on the pennies for good luck at his missing math facts:).  I love this picture of him blowing for good luck!

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Are your children learning about money this Presidents Day?  Please let us know if you give this activity a try!:)

Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂

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How To Support A Special Needs Family

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This past few weeks have been stinky for us.  Some days it seemed like the very people I thought would be understanding of my sons differences- have not.  

Most days like these I just laugh and ignore it.  Yes, i laugh: I refuse to cry.  This is one way to deal with it. Plus, there are so many more important things to concentrate on.  So, many more good things to let fill my head about my beautiful son than the judgement of others.

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But the past few weeks have unfolded several comments, looks, incidences all unkind and all concerning our little family.  It was enough to send me on a search to my favorite blogs post about special needs parenting.  

I read other parents points of view about this topic.  It helps me remember I’m not alone.  

As I read I began a list in my head of all the things that Parents of special needs kids wished for from family to strangers for their child.

  • Understanding
  • Patience
  • An extra helping hand
  • An ear to listen 
  • LOVE

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All the great posts, letters, and articles I read were basically about specific times a parent felt like their child(ren) were not accepted by another person for the BEAUTIFUL souls they are.

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I realize now more than ever I can talk about how the numbers of autism are rising, what the criteria for Sensory Processing Disorder is, how Auditory Processing effects the ability to follow directions,  or explain why PJ has trouble doing x,y,z…. til the cows come home.  Am I rambling??

The sad and maddening truth for me is Awareness is not enough!  My little Buddy needs to be ACCEPTED for the smiling, fun, active, HARD working kid he is. (.)

 

The majority of the time people do show acceptance towards him and me as his mother.  

But then there are those days like the days of the last few weeks.

We’ve both been met with judgement and ridicule. And I will leave it at that so as not to have to explain my parenting him or my sons difficulties in detail…one more time.

I’m not going to give up on humanity, though.

I’m bent on being proactive for his sake.  

  These last few weeks I had to believe people truly have had good intentions towards us.  And that they are only trying to help. If you are interested in making a difference on a special needs family’s life – I wrote this with my own experiences in mind.

 

 

Ways to Show a Special Needs Family ACCEPTANCE

1). Dont assume: There is nothing worse to a special needs parent OR a special needs child than to be expected to act a certain way when it is not possible.  When behavior isn’t possible but is pushed on or expected of the child,  the child can have a traumatic experience.  Sounds simple, right??  I can not tell you how many times others have assumed that since my son can talk and follow directions, that he can process or understand the meaning of any verbal direction. Wrong.  Many children with special needs have trouble processing direction for one reason or another.  It may be a problem with the exact wording of the direction,  the number of syllables in the wording, your tone of voice, over stimulation of their environment, processing time, physical handicap that you cant see, an experience that happened before you gave a direction, ect.  My point is that the possibilities are too numerous for even an “experienced” person to know and so one should NEVER assume.  

2).  Ask Questions:  Lately Ive read that moms would welcome your questions about their child. Asking questions is a the best way to get to know their child.  It shows you are truly interested in understanding.  Besides,  many moms would love the chance to chat.  It’s been hard for me to “stay in the loop” with friends and family.  In the past my loop has mostly consisted of Therapists, doctors, teachers, and support groups for parents just like me.   There was hardly time to talk on the phone with loved ones or go out for coffee with a friend.  Yes, ask questions.

3).  Loose the Judgement:  Again this sounds simple.  If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all, right?

I can say that being a special needs parent has its ups and downs just like being a parent of a typical kid.  (I should know, I’m both.)  So before you think to yourself a judgemental thought please remember this:  Our typical… is not your typical….

On a given day I may be proud of my son for sitting on the floor of the store and reading a book.  Books help him regulate (calm down) in a number of situations.  It’s a self regulation skill and I for one am so glad he has learned to do this on his own.  He is not hurting anyone/thing by sitting on the floor and reading something from the store rack.  Still, I notice your judgement of the tall kid plopped on the floor in the store.  He notices ,too.

 

4).  Be supportive:  There are a number of things you can do for a special needs family but how do you know what to do?  Honestly, every family is unique in what they need.  It may be that one family would love for you to visit with a hot meal and another may shudder at the thought of how their child may handle a visitor.  (I’ve been in both positions here,too.)  In this case you could leave dinner on the steps.  When in question you can always ask how you can help.  

More ways to help a special needs family:

  • Offer to give them a ride to a therapy or doctors appointment.  -I would be so thankful to have company to talk with me about my sons doctors visit or be able to organize my thoughts with less stress before hand.
  • Offer to sit the kiddos. –  It maybe super helpful to a special needs parent to have this time to clean, nap, or prepare for a doctor visit.  It’s an even bigger plus if you can sit in their home so the parent isn’t worried about a their child handling a transition outside the familiar environment of home.
  • Donate used clothing-  now you may think this is great for a needy family but this is AWESOME to a special needs parent who avoids shopping for the kids sake!!

There is so much to be said about ACCEPTANCE.  I for one could write a series on the subject.  For now, I sincerely hope that my words have touch someone’s heart out..Possibly warmed a few.   

 

Thank you soo much for taking the time to read!

Crystal and PJ 🙂  

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Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy Book Craft

 

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy Book Craft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy Book Craft for the Monthly Crafting Book Club.

I’m very excited to be a part of this months Crafting Book Clubs book series choice Ladybug Girl! The Ladybug Girl book series is one of PJs favorite set of books that he owns!!

Have you heard of the Ladybug Girl books?

Let me introduce you to our favorites!

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Ladybug Girl is an adventurous character who is very active and great at using her imagination!  In this book Bingo, Ladybug Girls dog goes camping with Ladybug Girl and her family.  As she explores their campsite with Bingo, she casts a spell on an old tree wizard, rides a giant turtle rock, and sips tea in a secret garden.  In the mists of their play with mermaids and fairies Ladybug Girl is called into action after Bingo gets lost.  Then, she herself is lost.  How will they find their way out of the enchanted forest?  You will have to read to find out!

 

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Ladybug Girl and Bumble Bee Boy by David Soman and Jackie Davis is the book my son relates to best!  It’s a story about a visit to the park where Ladybug Girl meets up with a fellow classmate.  The two friends want to play together but can’t agree upon what to play .  A common super hero interest is discovered when Ladybug girl asks her friend if he wants to play Ladybug Girl.  Soon, the two are rescuing Bingo from a scary monster, stopping a mean robot from crushing the play ground and more! In this adventure there are 4 total super insect heroes each with their own imaginative powers!!

 

Monthly Crafting Book Craft

Now comes the fun part.  After reading Ladybug Girl and Bumble Bee Boy (Alot!),  PJ and I did this fun craft together.  

What you will need

  • Broken crayons (yellows, reds, blacks of sorts)
  • Aluminum foil covered baking sheet
  • Preheated oven set at 200 degrees

Thats all you need!

I wanted to build on one of the themes of the Ladybug Girl books and that is to Make the best of what you have.  I think it is important to lead children by example so we used supplies we already had at the house and a little imagination.  Just like Ladybug Girl!!

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We gathered all shades of yellow, black, and red crayons.  It’s ok if they are broken.  

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Peel the paper from the crayons.  This is great fine motor practice!

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I covered a baking sheet in aluminum foil.

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I helped PJ fold the foil into inch wide strips.  He made two of these strips.

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We turned the foil strips on their sides and formed a ladybug shape out of one strip.  We made a simple oval for the bumblebee shape.  We trimmed the strips length down a bit, too.

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We placed the insect shapes on the foil covered cooking sheet and filled them with shades of red or yellow.

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The different shades of each color made the final craft so much more beautiful!!  I placed the cookie sheet in the oven at 200 degrees for just a few minutes to melt the crayons.  

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We added gray stripes to the yellow bee and black dots to the ladybug last.  Then returned the crayon bits back to the oven to melt but not too long.  Otherwise the colors will run into to each other and not appear to be dots or stripes at all.

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It does not take the NEW crayons long to cool.  PJ wanted to peel the foil off.  His craft insects were warm and brightly colored!

 

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They are appealing to the senses..rough on one side from bubbling heat and smooth on the other.  Best of all they are so beautiful don’t you think!?

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I REALLY hope we have inspired you to read a Ladybug Girl book soon!

Thank you for reading,

Crystal 🙂

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Practical Mom

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Christmas Tree Math Make Ten

 

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Christmas Tree Math Make Ten

 

**This post may contain affiliate links at no additional cost to you. Please see my disclosure page.  If you should chose to purchase from links I provide, my little family will greatly appreciate it!

  Mental math is a struggle for a lot of kids but memorizing math facts help children to process the calculation of math problems faster.

PJ and I have worked on memorizing facts that make 10 for weeks.  And I really needed to find a teaching tool that would make those facts STICK with him.

We repeatedly used worksheets that drill and I made flash cards, too.  We sang a song, watched a few math videos..He just wasn’t remembering it.

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You have seen this at some point in your child, I’m sure.  They aren’t interested or have already given up trying to learn something because its extra hard for them.  They stare at you with a blank face. No matter how many times you go over it, it just isn’t go to stick in their memory or they fail to understand.

Sometimes you have to dig to find something that will help them because you are just as puzzled as they are as to how to help them.  image

Well this is how I felt each time I’d quiz PJ on his Math Facts That make Ten.  I desperately wanted to help my struggling son!

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So, we pulled out his paints and worked on a fun craft he could be proud of in more ways than one!

 

Our SUPPLY LIST..

  • Paints 
  • Cardboard Toilet Paper Rolls
  • Paint Brush optional
  • Ruler
  • Pencil and Paper (we used white card stock)

 

PJ was failing to see the patterns in the math facts that make ten: They can be counted up and down. When kids have a mental picture of these math patterns they can draw from memory more easily.  Even if they don’t know a particular addend, they can count forward or backward using a math fact they already know until they have reached the math fact in question.

0 + 10 = 10

1 + 9 = 10

2 + 8 = 10

In PJs case he knew 5 + 5 = 10 every time I quizzed him.  

That math fact would be the math fact he could count up or down from to find the sum of other math facts to make 10 .

I asked PJ to make a Christmas picture using his paints and the TP rolls. (My idea was to write the math facts inside the painted TP roll circles of his picture.)  He wanted to make a Christmas tree! 

He asked me to help him draw a Christmas tree so I suggested he use a ruler to draw the outline of the tree.

Math Facts that make ten Christmas Tree

 

 

 

  

He drew an A shape tree without a bottom or trunk.

Math Facts That Make Ten Christmas Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PJ chose to paint the edges of the TP rolls with a paint brush rather than dipping them in paint.

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 I told him we were going to write the numbers of the math problems we had been practicing in the painted circles.  He stamped the outline of a Christmas tree with paint and the TP rolls. We let the picture dry.

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 Mental Math

I explained to PJ that he could remember other math problems that equal ten by starting at the one problem he already knew. “Let’s start with what you know, 5 + 5 = 10.”  We practice counting backwards and forwards from 5.  Then, we recited all the other math facts that make ten by starting with 5 + 5 = 10 going forward and backward.

Looking For Patterns In Math

PJ was ready to write all the math facts down and see  how the addends for each fact either increased or decreased by one.  He wrote 0 + 10= 10 in the very top circle.

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 Then, I asked him to write a number 1 in the left circle and number 9 in the right circle just under the first math fact.  He saw that 1+ 9 = 10

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PJ also saw that the numbers on each side of the Christmas Tree was either increasing or decreasing by one and both sides met at the doubles math fact, 5 + 5= 10.  He had created a picture pattern of his math facts to always remember!!

When I turned his picture over and asked him to tell me ALL the math facts that make 10, he recited them without a mistake for the first time!!  Happy Dance!

Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂

 

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FLASH SALE Insanely Cool Toys to help with Sensory Processing Disorder!

This sale has almost ended but not before I stumbled on 3 insanely cool toys that would be great for children with Sensory Processing Disorder!

Educents is extending their Black Friday Sale!  

For the next few hours you can get these 3 great toys at 15% Off ! Use CODE: GIVEJOY

 

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Have you heard of the Gogo Roller?  This is would bring  hours of fun!  And with cold weather coming on, you’ll NEED to find a great toy like this to supplement outdoor play.

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Sensory boxes are still a favorite in our home.  Your child will be engaged in tactile learning as you go over your Lady Bug Science lesson. Pull the Sensory Box out again and again for memory retention.   Educents has several: Chicken Life Cycle, Lady Bug Life Cycle, and a Farm Sensory Box!

Click this #LINK# for the Lady Bug Sensory Box and don’t forget to use CODE GIVE JOY for 15% off site wide!!

Rememeber Sit n Spin?  This is the modern day version of how kids regulate themselves when they need to move!!  Only the Floor Surferr does so much more than spin!!  It moves forward, backwards, anyway a child wants it to!  Plus, children can work on CORE BODY STRETH, balancing, and coordination!!

Just click the name FLOOR SURFERR to bring you to this awesome sensory toy.  Use CODE GIVEJOY and enjoy 15% off too!

 

 

Happy Shopping!!

Crystal 🙂

10 Thankful Trees You Can Make Over Thanksgiving Break From School

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10 Thankful Tree Ideas for the Whole Family..

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This post may contain affiliate links at NO cost to you.  Please read my disclosure page. Should you decide to purchase from any of the links provided, my little family will greatly appreciate it!

www.educents.com

Welcome back to what has become a series about 7 Days of Gratitude and Resources to Teach Kids!

10 Thankful Trees for the Whole Family

Our little family is learning we have more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving than ever before.

Our area has been hit with wild fires.  The smoke in the air is has so badly polluted the mountains in NC that we are at a code red for air quality.  The surrounding counties have been ablaze and we are VERY GRATEFUL of all the fire fighters out there this Holiday keeping us safe in our homes!!

I thought it would be fun to try continuing learning about gratitude with a homemade Thankful Tree.  I’ve seen them shared at my favorite blogs and after getting an excited “Yes!” from PJ, the vote was in.

 

Day 2 The Good Talk About Feelings and Gratitude

The time we spent crafting our thankful tree collecting branches on a nature walk and writing thoughts of gratitude has really helped PJ obtain a deeper sense of what gratitude is all about.  I hope your family can find the value in making a thankful tree not to mention the beauty it brings to your living room!

What You Will Need

  • Branches from a tree or bush
  • Paint brush and White Paint
  • Sand, rocks, stones or pinecones to hold the branches in place
  • A coffee container or Vase to put the branches in
  • Scissors, a pen, and Free Leaf Writing Printable

We went on a nice walk skipping over rocks of our river to collect branches that were just right to put in our vase.  The conversation was more of about how we both feel when we appreciate what others say to us.  I thought it would be a good starting point to talk with PJ about friends who make a point to say hello to us no matter how busy they are. We were keeping it simple talking about compliments, patience, and emotions when we found the perfect tree branch.

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It’s leaves were almost too pretty to remove from the branch but PJ did that.  And we talked some more.  This time we talked about returning the feeling of gratitude to those PEOPLE who helped us feel grateful that they were simply our friends.  

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Picking the leaves off the big branch, trimming, and dividing the branch took 40 minutes.  It was enough time to talk about what feelings we feel when we are grateful for those special people in our lives.  There’s a lot of emotions that we can show to express a grateful attitude you know! We covered as many as we could think of and what each emotion may look like to people we wanted to thank.  In the mix of our conversation we talked about what we could say to express our gratitude.  

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To wrap up this day, we took turns acting out simple compliment, gestures, and facial expression “RETURNS” for those moments of gratitude.  The role play helped him connect good manners with others feelings.  Outwardly showing appreciation even when you don’t feel like it will give you an attitude of gratitude.  He was getting the idea that gratitude can be contagious!

That night we re-read the books about giving thanks for loved ones, simple things in life, and an attitude of gratitude from Day 1.

Day 3  A Tree That Blooms in Fall

PJ was READY for the really fun stuff the next morning!   He started Painting the branches white with a paint brush.  He tried hard to paint every tiny stem but the splotched effect turned out to be a masterpiece!

imageimageWhile we let the paint dry, we cut out the free leave writing printable.  Then, I asked to write on the leaves what he was thankful for.

This time his list include people, places, and everyday things (like his favorite flavored water and music).  Much different than Day 1!  

When the paint dried, sand from his sand box was added to a glass vase along with the painted branches.  You can be as creative as you want here.  I’ve seen cans, glass vases, tissue boxes,  and many beautiful fillings used to createThankful Trees.  And I’ll share a list at the end of this post.

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We punched a hole in each leaf and used string to hang it on the Thankful Tree.

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He was excited that his leaf would be at the tip top of the tree!

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Printable leaves that were used for our tree can be found at

Homeschool Den – http://www.homeschoolden.com/2016/11/20/I-am-thankful-writin-paper-and-other-thanksgiving-freebies/

The Thankful Tree is a family activity we plan on making tradition.  If you like this tree you may like these other Thankful Tree ideas.

More Thankful Tree Ideas From Awesome Bloggers

So sorry I had to type my links in and edit!  My site wasn’t allowing me to use links but I’m I’m top of it!!

 

Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

Crystal 

www.educents.com

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