Monday, November 14, 2011

The Importance of Crafts and a Fun Thanksgiving Craft That Even I Can Do!!

Why Crafts are Important for Little Kids

As most of you saw in my last post, I'm very challened in the craft department.  However, I'm scrappy and determined that I'm going to figure this out.  I have enlisted the help of Susan Case, who is a fellow blogger and has her Masters in Family and Child Development.  She is the author of a wonderful book called Kindergarten: Tattle-tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs, and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents and taught Kindergarten for many years and I'm so thrilled to have her help!  We did a quick interview:

“Susan, why are crafts so important?  Do my kids really need to do crafts since I'm not creative and struggle to come up with ideas?”

             "Research supports the fact that children develop their learning        
              capabilities in the first five years of life. The more neuron
              connections formed, the better a child’s ability to learn new
              information will be in the future. Making crafts together is part of
              play and fosters many skills such as:

  • Creativity and imagination
  • Sensory integration: Children love learning using the five senses
  • Fine Motor by picking up objects, cutting, pasting
  • Self-Esteem: Earning praise for accomplishments
  • Self-Confidence—harder tasks in future will be tried and        accomplished
  • Thinking/Cognitive skills
  • Language: Express what you are doing and encourage children to  talk about the experience and their feelings
  • Following directions in sequence develops math skills
  • Reading skills: Read what is printed on craft containers as you run your finger under the words going left to right
  • Writing: Let children see you write a list of supplies needed
  • Reading/Writing Connection: Children can cross words off list when   supplies are acquired
  • Bonding: Spending quality time with your children instills trust that  they are important to you and loved."


“Okay, but I don't even know where to begin.  If a mom is intimidated like I am, what are some standard items they need to get from the craft store?”


"Basic Craft Supplies:
  • Glue gun —only to be used by an adult. Remember to unplug it         when not using and to glue over newspaper. Glue is hot but can be peeled off surface when dry.
  • Glue—liquid and sticks of glue
  • Paints –washable
  • Brushes—inexpensive and various sizes
  • Markers –washable
  • Crayons– inexpensive is fine because children like to  break them
  • String or yarn
  • Colored and Manila paper—can be purchased at the best prices        right before school starts
  • Fiskar scissors are a good brand —fit children’s hands and are not   sharp but will cut paper
  • Adult scissors
  • Craft sticks—“tongue depressors” come in different sizes and colors  or buy plain and let children paint or an adult can spray paint
  • Fuzzy sticks (used to be called “pipe cleaners”)
  • Cheap plastic tablecloth to protect table or use old newspapers

"Okay, Susan, give me something easy to try first.  Do you have anything related to Thanksgiving that we could do to start?"


 A Thanksgiving Tradition: The Thankful Turkey

 Let your children help you decorate a container to put notes 
 or drawings in of Thankful Things:

 This jar is a plastic nut container. You can use paper or 
 cardboard for the lid if you don’t want to cut a hole into a plastic
 lid. The children can glue eyes, beak, and feathers on the jar to
 make a look like a turkey. You can cut feathers out of colored
 paper if you don’t have real feathers.

 Help your children write or draw pictures of things they are
 thankful for then help them read the notes on Thanksgiving Day.
 Encourage the whole family to participate.

 Linking Learning to Crafts:

·         Creativity
·         Promoting the reading/writing connection
·         Expressing gratitude
·         Creating a family tradition

 My Thanksgiving Challenge—Be Thankful for Books
 My challenge to moms is to read a book a month for yourself. We
 are fortunate to live in a world of technology and it is tempting to
 spend hours blogging, tweeting, texting, and surfing. I love
 meeting friends and learning by connecting to people all over the
 world with similar interests. But children follow your example. Do
 they see you reading books? Or do they see you reading the
 printed word on Kindles and Nooks? Do you read books to your
 children every night?

 I guarantee that reading to your child is one of the most
 important developmental advantages you can give children.
 Snuggling while reading provides security, consistency in bedtime
 routine, bonding, and learning about our fascinating world. Your
 children will grow up quickly. What do you want them to remember
 about the time they spent with you? What feelings do you want
 them to have about reading?

 Yes, continue with crafts! Creativity will be lost if we don’t pull
 children away from technological gadgets, but please remember to
 be thankful for books.

Thanks Susan!!!  Okay, back to me.  First things first.  Of course we had to play with the feathers right after we got them out of the bag:

craft supplies for kids
"Hold still Little Buddy...tickle tickle," Munchkin Girl instructed.

Then we got down to business.  Yes, the kids are in their pajamas and Munchkin Girl is wearing a stocking hat.  It's her latest obsession.  She wears it everywhere, including her bed.  

Susan advised me to use a clear jar, but I didn't have one so I looked around my house for something else to use.  I selected an empty coffee jar from Trader Joes.  I covered it in brown construction paper, using tape.

Most people would probably do this project at the table.  Not us!  We chose the floor because Little Buddy likes to plop down in my lap and I think it's fun to have him there.  See his little feet?  I'm sitting cross-legged and he's in my lap.  Anyway, I laid out a strip of blue contstruction paper with glue and let them glue on the feathers. 

preschooler and toddler doing a thanksgiving turkey craft

Then we glued on the eyes and beak.  Munchkin Girl held the eyes on until the glue dried:

We did two strips with feathers and voila!!  We had a finished turkey!!

It ain't pretty but we had a lot of fun!  And like Susan said, I truly am thankful for books.  Real books that make me think and get me out of Mom and work mode for a short period.  I read every night before bed, so in the spirit of being a good role model with real books, I will start posting what I'm currently reading.  I'm in a Book Club so we read a lot. 

Thanks so much to Susan for her help and encouragement on this project.  I'm looking forward to more fun things.

PS...Don't forget, Susan's book about Kindergarten Basics might make a great Christmas present to Moms or even better, for grade-school teachers!

You can also visit Susan at her blog at Kindergarten for Teachers and Parents.
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  1. Returning the follow! Great post, I think it's always good for children to do arts and crafts. It's a good way to help children express their creativity!

  2. I forgot to tell you, I love the title of your blog! LOL

  3. I love how you supported this with another experienced mother and the science behind it is as well. Way to go!

    Glad I found you on the blog hop today.

  4. Thanks for the follow! Following back from

  5. This looked like fun, my little one will be ready for crafts like this soon. Thanks for the follow, now following you back,
    Amy from
    Humble Pie & Mimi's Musings

  6. Hi, I am now following you through GFC from please come by and follow me back.

    Thank you

  7. What a great list of why crafts are important!! I think sometimes we forget that they are more than just fun =-) Welcome to TGIF Linky Party -glad you linked up. Just a reminder to grab the TGIF button and put it in your post or sidebar so others can find the party & link up too. Thanks! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and we'll see you next week,
    Beth =)

  8. great article. I am reading Susan's book & enjoying it immensely.

    great article to show that crafts are more than just boredom busters, re also learning & developing

    Thanks for sharing on the sunday showcase & hope to see you this week,

  9. I'm so happy Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas is enjoying my book. I love her blog! Crafts are great. Creativity needs to be fostered - too many technological gadgets are pulling kids away from thinking and developing their own ideas.

  10. Great list of reasons to do crafts with kids. I love that they are learning without me purposely teaching them. What is learned seems to stick better that way anyhow. Thanks for sharing this and your cute turkeys on Monday Madness. Hope to see you next week.

  11. i definately agree with you about reading with kids. Thanks for linking up in Today at Play Link up. Please drop back in sometime and link up any play ideas, as, believe it or not, it goes all year.

  12. Lots of great information in this post! I totally agree with Susan and need to get her book too :)

    Love the simple craft as well. Thanks for sharing!