This seems like a timely post, considering it's Thanksgiving Day 2013. Happy Thanksgiving! For what are you thankful?
This year, I decided the best way to spread out the Halloween candy and avoid stomachaches was to ration the goods. I borrowed an idea from my friend, S, and created a Family Thankfulness Jar.
I put all of our Halloween candy in a large cookie jar. Next to it, I placed small cards (index cards cut in half) and pens in a little, fall-themed bucket. In order to choose a treat from the jar, the chooser (nice word, huh?) had to write something on the card for which they were thankful. Write something down, choose a treat, repeat.
The kids learned a lot from this activity:
1. They saw other people (and adults) writing things down to grab a treat.
2. Writing it down makes you think about it more.
3. We were able to use the time leading up to Thanksgiving to really think about the blessings in our lives.
4. They were encouraged to write something different each time, instead of writing "family" over and over.
5. Friends, extended family, Girl Scout troop members, homeschool activity participants...everyone that came to our house was invited to participate in the thankful jar activity. What a fun way to get to know our friends!
Now what are we going to do with all of those slips of paper?
My friend's family reads through them prior to enjoying their Thanksgiving meal. I think that is a fantastic idea and offers a dose of perspective on a day that is pretty synonymous with gluttony. However, that idea wouldn't really work as well when we had 20 people at our Thanksgiving table, half of them young (and HUNGRY) children. ;)
Our family will be reading through these thankful papers between now and Christmas. Every evening, when we read a segment of the Christmas story as part of our daily Advent activities, we will also read a couple of slips of thankfulness. I feel like this will remind our kiddos to continue to give thanks past the calendar day of Thanksgiving, and will also remind them to be thankful for what they have as we lead up to a day where receiving gifts too often becomes the focus.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the full jar of candy or the setup, but I do have a photo of the full basket of thankful slips next to our Advent Tree.