I love a focus in Morning Time and it seems like November is the one month of the year we are consistent in this. This year, I really want to focus on gratitude and that’s why I was so excited to guest post on How to Homeschool. It gave me a chance to brainstorm 25 activities for us to do at Morning Time.
These activities are fun and low prep and cover a variety of ages from littles to middle school or beyond. I think all ages can enjoy great picture books! Let’s have some fun and remember to be thankful this month.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever. I Chronicles 16:34 (NIV)
Day 1 – Thankful Turkeys
In this craft, we’re going to list five things we’re thankful for in our lives. This is a way to expand on the five-finger prayer model. It’s also a way to reset yours (or your kids’) thinking quickly. If we can think of five things to thank God for, we can’t focus on our problems so closely. Here’s how to make the Turkey Thankfulness Handprints:
- Trace your child’s hand. Have your child color the fingers or “feathers” a different color. We’re going to use watercolors.
- Paint or color the palm of the turkey brown. Glue an orange triangle (cut out of construction paper) and a red teardrop (cut out of construction paper) for the beak and waddle. Glue two googly eyes to above the beak to finish the face.
- Write, “We thank God for…” across the top of the palm.
- Help your kids write five things they are thankful for on each finger. Then use this as your prayer model for the month of November.
Day 2 – Read a real-life missionary story and thank God for the work they do.
We’re using the kids’ prayer guide from Oak Seed Ministries to pray for a missionary’s work this month. I love this mission because they send support to 20 missions around the world and they offer kids’ prayer guides each month. We’re reading the story and using their prayer guide as our template.
Day 3 – Read The Thank You Book by Mo Willems
Gratitude is such an important character trait. And we love some Mo Willems in our house! We’re going to read this book as an introduction to our weeklong Morning Time project of thanking people who make our lives better.
Day 4-7 – Thank you notes to those who make our lives better.
We’re going to spend a few days thanking people who serve others by making cards for them. Here’s our list:
- Daddy for the living he provides
- Grandparents for the love and support they provide
- Pastors at our church for the leadership they provide
- Sunday School teachers for diligently teaching the Word
- Our lovely babysitter for the help she provides
- Firefighters and police officers for the safety they provide
- Our mail lady who brings our frequent packages to the front door and plays with our dog
I’m simply providing some cardstock and markers and assistance with this project. We’ll deliver them to the local helpers when we are out and about. We’ll take a field trip to the 1920s post office on our town square to buy stamps and mail the cards to grandparents who live out of town.
Day 8 – Pack & pray for Operation Christmas Child.
This is one of our favorite November activities. Each child shops for their child ahead of time and then we pack our box and pray for the person who will receive the box and the Gospel message. I print out the tracking labels and we’ll look later at where it’s going on a map.
Day 9 – Read God Gave Us Love by Lisa T. Bergren
We LOVE the God Gave Us series. We’re going to read the book about love on Day 9 and then use the story as a jumping off point for Day 10’s project. I want my kids to understand the love that God gives them in siblings – friends for life.
Day 10 – Fill a bucket of love for a sibling.
One of the blessings of homeschooling is really knowing your classmates (siblings). And it’s easy to take the other kids for granted. So, we’re going to get some little tin pails at Dollar Tree and fill each other’s buckets. We’re going to write down things that we admire or love about another sibling on post-its and “fill their bucket.” It’s a great way to connect and remember why God gives us siblings.
Day 11 – Thankful Mad-Libs
This is one of my favorite ways to bring a little light and laughter to our Morning Time. We’ll probably do this a time or two more, but it’s fun to explore language with your kids in a non-textbooky way.
Day 12 – Prepositional Thankfulness
We’re learning our prepositions in Classical Conversations this year. And one of the ways to practice these is to use them! We’re going to play a little game with them called Prepositional Thankfulness. I’ll put a group of our prepositions on my dry-erase die that I got at Dollar Tree and each child will roll to get their preposition. We’ll see how we can use that preposition in a sentence with a “thankful” statement and write them down.
Day 12-14 Read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World Plus We’ll Make a Pie
It’s apple season and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with real pie! We’ll spend a few Morning Times on this activity Reading the book and looking at the world map, discussing why we should be thankful for our food, and making a real apple pie!
Day 15 – Have a toy gratitude tea party
It’s time to start thinking about Christmas soon and we’re going to need to clean out our toys for a couple of reasons – we usually receive new toys for Christmas and it’s a blessing to give away toys we have outgrown. We’ll celebrate our toys’ new commission and the kids who will get a gift of someone to cuddle. I plan to talk about the program where police give stuffed animals to kids in crisis situations with my older daughter.
Day 16 – Read Psalm 100 & Make Instruments!
God is great and we need to thank Him for that! Our lovely piano teacher pointed out that our praise is often in the form of music. She reads a psalm at every lesson. So, we’re going to review Biblical praise instruments and make a few of our own (think paper plate tambourines and coffee can shakers).
Day 17 – Character Sketch – Dorothy Returns from Oz
We listened to TheWizard of Oz narrated by Ann Hathaway this year and we just adored the book. The musical came to our local performing arts this past month. And I thought we could do a little character sketch of the scene where Dorothy returns to Kansas. She’s spent a long time learning why “home” matters so much on her journey to Oz. We’ll read that scene and discuss why she is thankful to be home.Day 18 – Read Thanksgiving Day by Lydia Marie Child
This poem is a lovely example of the anticipation of a day celebrating our blessings. We typically travel to see family for Thanksgiving and make it a point to visit cousins and friends when we travel anywhere. We’ll read the poem and discuss our favorite trips and memories from “cousin” weekends.
Day 19 – Read The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh
This is a classic story about the Pilgrim’s side of the Thanksgiving story. We’ll read this and track the voyage the Pilgrims took from Plymouth to America. We’ll discuss what’s like to be in an unknown place and how to ask for help and show gratitude.
Day 20 – Read Squanto’s Journey by Joseph Bruchac
This is a different perspective on the Thanksgiving story from the Native American. I think it’s important to read both accounts because it gives our children a more vivid picture of what truly happened. All history is as complex as the people it is about and it’s important to share the good and not so good with our children. I also love the Gospel message of this book. We’ll talk about that in our discussion time.
Day 21 – Read Psalm 136 & Make “Give Thanks” Napkins
This is a psalm worth reading during a thankful Morning Time block. It outlines the magnitude of gratitude. We’ll read the psalm and use our ABC stamps to make “Give thanks to the Lord” napkins for Thanksgiving dinner. We have the Melissa and Doug ABC stamp collection and we use inkpads from the scrapbooking section at Walmart. We’ll use nice paper napkins for this activity.
Day 22 – Read Thankful by Eileen Spinelli
This is a great follow-up to Psalm 136. It gives us everyday reminders of the blessings in our lives. We’ll simply read and discuss this one.
Day 23 – Read The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks by Jan Berenstain
This is another classic picture book that teaches great lessons on our topic of gratitude. It’s also another take on the Thanksgiving story.
Day 24 – Read The Very Rich Lady and Her One Hundred Dogs by Chinlun Lee
Thankful math was a tough one until I came across this book. It’s about a rich lady and her 100 adopted dogs. She names each one and cares for each one. It’s a sneaky way to get in a math concept and to illustrate “counting your blessings.”
Day 25 – Hymn Study – The Doxology
I can’t think of a better song to examine gratitude than the Doxology. It’s actually the end of a song called “Morning Hymn” written by Thomas Ken. He wrote the songs to be used as prayers for students at Winchester College. The end of the hymn is now a regular part of many, many church services and a lovely piece of memory work to round out our Thankful Morning Time activities.
Amanda is offering a printable calendar with all 25 activities for you. We will send that printable to you when you fill in your name & email below.
Amanda Brandon is freelance writer and homeschooling mother who writes about professional motherhood and the work God is doing in hers and others’ lives at www.aworkofgod.com. She is wife to Warren and a mom to three awesome kids Reagan Leigh (10), Logan (5), and Anna Cat (4), Pepper the dog, and Oscar the grouchy cat. She and her family live near Oxford, Miss. Follow her on Instagram at aworkofgod
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