Cranberry Relish

Because sensory play is integral to our little ones’ cognitive development, we decided to make our very own cranberry relish!
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We utilized potato mashers to crush the cranberries, added sugar, and then cooked them!
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This activity encouraged sensory development, vocabulary, collaboration, and self-help skills!
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The Common House

The first house that Pilgrims built in America was called a Common House. It was used to store food and provisions.

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During the first winter in America, it also served as a hospital. The construction of this building was simple. The Pilgrims first used logs and then sticks to make the walls.

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Sand, clay, water and straw were then mixed together to cover the walls, and the roof was made of reeds and wild grasses.

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Within a year after landing in America, the Pilgrims had built seven houses and four other buildings.  For this activity, your little one created this exciting structure using a variety of materials.

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They were then given some pilgrims they used to recreate the story of its construction.

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Young children love to create stories and scenarios that apply recently acquired knowledge. Their imaginative brains are constantly conceiving plots and characters for even the simplest of things. This tendency for creative story building can be incorporated into any curriculum.

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Turkey Baster Water Transfer

Using turkey basters, plastic bowls, a plastic turkey, and colored water, we practiced moving water from one container to another!

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This activity incorporated several developmental tasks.

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It enabled your little one to formulate ideas based on quantity and space.

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It also helped your little one improve coordination.

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Lastly, by transferring the liquid among the different compartments, your little one was given the opportunity to estimate how much should be poured into each compartment so that the amounts were equal.

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This was a two part activity.

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Following the transfer of water into another container, each student then saturated a plastic turkey with water!

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Flint Kernel Counting

Flint corn, or Indian corn, is one of the oldest varieties of corn, a type that Native Americans taught the early colonists how to cultivate. Its kernels, which come in a range of colors including white, blue and red, have “hard as flint” shells, giving this type of corn its name.

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Flint corn kernels contain a small amount of soft starch surrounded completely by a larger amount of hard starch, which means the kernels shrink uniformly when drying and are dent-free and less prone to spoiling (and therefore ideal for autumnal décor). Despite its tough exterior, this type of corn can be consumed by livestock and humans, and is used in such dishes as hominy and polenta.

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Using flint corn kernels, tweezers, and ice cube trays, we continued to hone our fine motor skills! For this activity, students grasped kernels and counted them as they placed them into the correct compartment. Using tweezers helps your little ones continue their mastery of the pincer grasp, and placing the kernels into the trays encourages concentration, and hand eye coordination. Young children often have difficulty in manipulating a variety of utensils required for fine motor control, but providing them with this variety helps improve awareness of their hand.

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Mayflower Building

Hands-on learning is an integral component in early childhood education.

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The manipulation and experimenting of materials provide a reference of learned concepts, and enables young children to construct meaningful experiences that aid their ability to commit new information to memory.

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For this activity, your little one learned about shipbuilding in colonial America. To tie this in to our Thanksgiving theme, we discussed how the pilgrims sailed to the United States on a boat called the Mayflower.

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They also learned that they were at sea for sixty-six days and landed at Plymouth Rock in the year 1620.

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Using styrofoam blocks, blocks, small boxes, and “sails”, we created our own version of the Mayflower!

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We then added small people as our pilgrims to supplement our play.

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Cornucopia

We have all come to recognize the cornucopia as a symbol of Thanksgiving or the fall harvest and many of us use one to decorate our  dining room tables as the centerpiece to our traditional feast. There is more, however, to this horn-shaped figure than meets the eye. Its name, entered into the English dictionary in 1508, originates from two Latin words; Cornu meaning “horn” and Copia meaning “plenty”. Hence the nickname Horn of Plenty, which in most cases today refers to an abundance of something.
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In ancient times and in cases associated with Thanksgiving, it refers to a horn-shaped basket or hallowed out gourd filled with fruits and vegetables gathered from a good harvest and sometimes may contain flowers for added beauty.
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To incorporate the cornucopia into our Thanksgiving curriculum, we used magnets. We did this by attaching magnetic food to the inside of magnetic cornucopias.
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By placing the food inside a fixed space (a cone-shaped cornucopia), your children practiced representation (making mathematical ideas real by using objects – the magnets), spatial sense (practicing position, size, and space), and estimation (how many magnets will fit inside?).
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Thanksgiving Dinner Dramatic Play

Using play food, REAL cornucopias, plates, and utensils, we made our very own Thanksgiving Feast!
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We wore Pilgrim hats, and used our words to talk about all things Thanksgiving!
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This gave your little ones one a chance to act out and mimic the things we have been reading about all week!
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Our dramatic play also encouraged cooperation with each other, perception of meaning, and increased language skills.
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