Our Thanksgiving Lapbook – LINKS LINKS LINKS!

Well, I guess you could say I’m a lapbooking convert.

We did our first lap book back in October and I loved the way it neatly tied our lessons together, so we are working on another now. What better subject to study in November than the first Thanksgiving?

I confess, up until this point, I hadn’t tried to communicate much of our nation’s history to Noodle. Last Thanksgiving she was a young three, so we kept it simple with “today is a day we say thank you to God.” But this year I’m going to give it a real go to teach her a little more about the origins of the holiday.

I didn’t really know where to begin with someone who had absolutely no context for history and very little idea of geography, so we started out by reading The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern. Noodle was very interested to learn about how the Pilgrims lived, and asked over and over how they made their own soap. And THIS is why I love homeschool, people! I took myself to Hobby Lobby and bought a Something Fabulous Soap Making Kit for $12 (after 40% off coupon frequently found on Hobby Lobby’s website). Did the Pilgrims use melt and pour soap? No sirree they did not. But Noodle got to do something fun and we did make a lesson of how the Pilgrims would have done it, and about our modern conveniences. Plus, now we have some yummy, peppermint, candy-cane striped soap for Christmas time! Too bad we didn’t make enough to give as gifts.

We also picked up Squanto and the First Thanksgiving by Joyce K. Kessel at the library. I really would have preferred Metaxas’ Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving as God’s sovereignty is more emphasized in that telling, but it wasn’t available, so I had to do the lesson on how God saved Squanto for a purpose by myself. Not a big deal. Noodle enjoyed the story and I’m pretty sure she got the point.

Anyway, back to lapbooking. After my success with the simplicity of our first lapbook, I searched all over for a preschool-appropriate Thanksgiving lapbook kit. You know what? I couldn’t find a free one! So I decided to get ambitious and plan my own using free resources I could find from all over the internet. Noodle will reap the benefits of this for sure, but since I went to the trouble of finding all this stuff, I figured I might as well share it with you, too! If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out this post at 1+1+1equals1, which is also a culmination of links I found really helpful in planning my own page.

For the lapbook’s cover, we used this cute coloring page I found on a google search. On the left flap will be a TBD Native American coloring page and few sentences about Squanto. On the right flap will be a Thanksgiving Maze and a pocket for Pilgrim and Indian popsicle puppets we will make out of these coloring pages. (Noodle really has a thing for puppet theater these days.)

On top of the middle flap will be a “thankful turkey” on whose feathers Noodle can list the things for which she is thankful this year. Below that will (I hope) be a pocket for Thanksgiving Bingo cards and a baggie full of Indian corn kernels to use as the markers for the Bingo game. (As of right now the links at the blog for the Bingo game are down… Hoping they get those back up but if not, we will paste corn kernels onto something or other.) Hubbo picked up three “mini” ears of Indian corn at Smith’s (our Kroger store) for $1.99, and we tweezed the corn kernels off for a fine motor activity after discussing…

The colors of salvation Indian corn activity, which will go on the back of the top flap to be seen when it opens. Below that will be a copywork page of Noodle’s Thanksgiving memory verse from Awana, Psalm 118:29 – “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (By the way, if you want to make your own copywork pages, I hope you’ve discovered this amazing tool! Noodle is in trouble now that I’ve found this…)

And finally, underneath the middle flap, we will be assembling our own paper Mayflower! Can you tell I’m pretty excited to get going on this project? Mama loves history!


God is Creator Science Unit

Noodle and Cubbie Bear

Noodle and Cubbie Bear

Noodle is finishing up her first unit in the Awana Cubbies Appleseed handbook – God is Creator. Enter me, trying to find a way to add a bit of science to our homeschool routine, and presto! It makes perfect sense that our first ever science unit would begin at the beginning.

This morning we did one of the suggested activities from her Cubbies handbook and made play-doh suns together. Noodle is the crafty type and never passes up a play-doh activity.This one gave us a great opportunity to talk about how making the sun wasn’t hard for God, and he didn’t make any mistakes, and how he didn’t need any resources to make it – he just spoke and there it was!

To go along with her lessons on the days of creation, I found this great free Days of Creation lapbook set from LapbookLessons.com. This is our first ever lapbook and I am actually rather surprised to say I am loving it! I have always been interested in doing unit studies but the idea of lapbooking scared me, mostly because I wasn’t sure how to assemble all the pieces together. When I discovered that I wasn’t actually responsible for finding the individual pieces myself and there were free sets available for download, well, cue the hallelujah chorus! It helps that the verse included for copy work (Genesis 1:1) is the same verse she is memorizing for Awana this week.

I also love the variety of activities included in lapbooking. All kids are different, as they say, and although my girl is already reading at age four, she has a lot of trouble with her handwriting and scissor skills. This project gives her practice with everything; and while she is copying, cutting, or coloring, I can sit and read the creation story to her straight from the Bible (if Squirt will allow it).

Noodle is really enjoying lapbooking, too. I was worried at first that she would be impatient with a project that took so long – she is usually in a hurry to see a finished product (what 4-year-old isn’t?). But so far each individual product she finishes seems to satisfy her until we do the next one, and she is always excited to add to her book. The minibook has been her favorite activity so far. She has understood the story of creation but has trouble remembering what happened when. She loves reading me the story from her own book, and I think it’s going to be a great memory tool for her.

One other great resource we’ve used for this unit is the book And God Created Squash by Martha Whitmore Hickman. Noodle received this as a Christmas gift a few years ago and it has been a favorite read-aloud ever since. It tells the creation story in order in a very accessible way without taking, I think, too many liberties with God’s character.

So – first lapbook, check! First unit study, check! First year of experimenting with this homeschool thing almost at an end. And I’m finally feeling like I’m getting it!