Recently, fifth and sixth graders took this craft to share with kids whose families migrated from Mexico to a community near the preteens. Homework was difficult for many of the kids as they fit into the culture, so university students had initiated an evening class to help the kids and their parents navigate the homework.
Before homework began, the preteens talked one-on-one with each of the Mexican kids to create a Pumpkin Full of Thanks, helping them spell what they were thankful for and giving them assistance to complete the craft. Preteens were able to share their thankfulness for God and how he created many of the things we are thankful for.
In order to take a small step into the Mexican culture, preteens learned from their Mexican friends how to say, “May I please have candy?” When the preteens were able to say that phrase in Spanish for the leaders, they received a piece of candy for themselves and for their Mexican friends they were helping. Smiles indicated they were all thankful for the candy as well.
Consider using this project with your kids during the Thanksgiving season. It opens so many doors of friendship and conversation while helping everyone focus on gratitude to God. Perhaps this can be an opportunity for your kids to become familiar with someone from a different culture or life situation—someone who is physically challenged, a senior citizen, a child who is seriously ill, or a family from a different country. Give them confidence in approaching and working with other people with kindness and compassion. They will most likely have a great deal of fun while doing it!
Materials needed: 2 sheets orange paper (cardstock works best), 1 small piece of green paper, 1 chenille wire, paper punch, 2 paper fasteners (brads), marker pens
Create ten 7” strips from orange paper (cardstock works best). With a paper punch, punch a hole centered at each end of the strip.
- On green paper, draw two leaves hooked together, with ¾” blank space holding them together where you will also punch a hole.
- With a marker, write on at least 5 of the paper strips something for which you are thankful.
- Stack the paper strips, lining up the holes. Place the leaves over the top hole punch of the strips. Push paper fastener through all holes (leaves and strips), then open the tips of the fastener to hold all in place.
- Place the strips face down on a table, fanning the strips out so they are evenly spaced. Begin bending the strips in opposite positions, lining up the holes at the bottom of the strip. This will create the pumpkin shape. Be sure all writing is facing outward.
- Push one more paper fastener through the lined up holes at the bottom of the pumpkin. Adjust strips so they form a well-rounded pumpkin.
- Spiral one chenille wire around the marking pen. Remove it, fold it in half then wrap it around the paper fastener on top of the pumpkin to create the tendrils at the stem.