Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Perfect Pumpkin Centerpiece

Looking for a wonderful fall project to do with your charge(s)?

Nanny Gael Ann has shared with us this great idea for a beautiful centerpiece that is fun and easy. It will look beautiful with your Thanksgiving decor and your kids can say "I did it myself" (Thanks Gael Ann!) Below are some finished centerpieces.

Just gather a few simple supplies and make this easy fall centerpiece.
What you need:
One pumpkin (ours was about 30 inches in diameter)
Golf tees approx. 20-25 (fall colored ones are nice but natural colored work well too)
Silk flowers and/or fall decoration(s) attached to a stick (We used a purchased scarecrow already on a stick but you could use any festive decoration attached to a thin wooden skewer. This year we are going to use craft foam sheets to make pilgrim and native American figures for a Thanksgiving centerpiece. The flower stems do not need to be very long so I just bought an inexpensive silk bouquet and used wire cutters to cut the individual flowers and leaves off with only 3-4 inch stems.)
Kid size hammer (a toy wooden one worked just as well as the child size metal one in photo)
Step 1: Simply get your charge(s) to hammer the golf tees into the pumpkin in a random pattern all around the top 1/3 to 1/2 of the pumpkin. Even a young charge will have no trouble doing this especially if you poke the golf tee in just a bit to help it stand up for the fun hammering part.
Step 2: Now have your charge(s) remove some of the golf tees and insert a flower stem or decoration into each hole. The remainder of the golf tee are left in.
Step 3: Adjust the height of the golf tees, flowers and other decorations for a pleasing effect.
I hope you give this very fun simple project a try! Ours lasted on the kitchen table for 4 weeks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Turkey Puppet

Turkey Puppet by Glenda Propst (Regarding Nannies Team)

This is a turkey puppet I made with my now almost 11 year old when she was 4. Back then she went to Pre School 2 days a week but Monday was always craft day for us and even now when we get together we love to be Creative.

This puppet is perfect to take an on airplane or in the car or just about anywhere and we enjoyed using it with lots of Thanksgiving finger plays and songs.

I bought cheap stretch gloves for $1 ( You can find these at most discount stores or Dollar Stores.) I made a simple feather pattern with card stock and then I just cut two sets of feathers out of felt and fringed the edges a little. I made the feathers just a little taller than the fingers on the gloves.
My gloves came with little cardboard inserts and I just covered them with aluminum foil and slid them back inside so that the fingers didn't get glued together. Aluminum foil is easy because it can be smashed but don't forget that it might get hot so use caution if you are using a glue gun around children.
Then we glued the feathers on. You might even be able to find felt that already has the sticky backing on it so all you have to do is stick them on but I used a hot glue gun. I am sure you could also use any kind of fabric glue. I used clothespin clips to hold the feathers in place until they were dry and then we flipped it over and did the same thing on the other side.
Don't forget a beak and a gobbler.
Then we drew on details and I let her use the glitter paint to decorate.

We finished with googly eyes. There is nothing like googly eyes to bring a project to life and put a smile on the face of a child.

Here is a finger play and a song to get you started. A google search for "Turkey Fingerplays" will give you lots more!"

I have a turkey, big and fat.(Make a fist with one hand-thumb Out for turkey's head)
He spreads his tail and walks like that.(Attach "tail" by spreading Out fingers of other hand and join together)
His daily corn he would not miss.(Poke with thumb at floor)
And when he talks, it sounds like this: Gobble Gobble Gobble

Here is my favorite Turkey song that I remember from my childhood:
A turkey sat on a barnyard fence and he sang this sad sad tune.
Thanksgiving day is coming gobble gobble gobble. I'm afraid I will be eaten soon.
Oh gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble gobble gobble. I would like to run away.
Gobble, gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble, I don't like Thanksgiving day!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thanksgiving Blessings Mix

I do this each year for Thanksgiving. I like to vary who I give them to. Sometimes it’s my friends, sometimes it’s my neighbors and if I do Thanksgiving in my home I give them to my guests. It often seems that Thanksgiving gets skipped because it comes after Halloween and before Hanukkah and Christmas, but I think it’s important to remember why we have Thanksgiving and this is a great reminder. (Plus it taste’s good!)
Children can easily help you with this by measuring and pouring and gently mixing the ingredients and putting them into the bags.

Thanksgiving Blessing Mix
2 cups Bugles brand corn snacks
2 cups small pretzels
1 cup candy corn
1 cup dried fruit bits or raisins
1 cup peanuts or sunflower seeds
1 cup M&Ms-brand chocolate candy
16 Hershey's-brand chocolate kisses

(You can also use Trail mix for the dried fruit, and nuts. Sam’s Club carries a large bag of Mountain Mix that even includes M&Ms which works really well. Try to buy your Candy Corn after Halloween and you might even get your Hershey’s kisses and M&Ms half price the day after Halloween if you plan ahead for this.)

In a large bowl, gently mix all ingredients except Hershey's Kisses.

Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup Thanksgiving Blessing Mix in small cellophane treat bags.
I like to use the clear ones with gold stars. Add one Hershey's Kiss to each bag.
Close bag with twist tie or ribbon.

You can go to this site where they have pre printed cards

Or if you email me at Regardingnannies(at)gmail(dot)com I will send you a pdf file of the design I have at the top of the page.
I print mine on Card Stock but you can also print it on regular paper.
Cut the cards apart, punch a hole in the corner, and tie them onto your bag with your ribbon.

Thanksgiving Blessing Mix

Bugles: Shaped like a cornucopia or Horn of Plenty, a symbol of our nation's abundance.

Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.

Candy corn: Sacrifices of the Pilgrims' first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on
just a few kernels of corn a day.

Nuts or seeds: Promise of a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.

Dried fruits: Harvest gifts of our bountiful land.

M&Ms: Memories of those who came before us to guide us to a blessed future.

Hershey's Kiss: The love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.
You can easily make these a couple weeks ahead of time as long as your bags are sealed.