Thursday, September 14, 2006

Homespun Harvest

Continuing our theme of planning a Harvest Gathering, we look today at activities and games!

I tried to think of things that felt old-fashioned or were meaningful. I also tried to think of things that could be a blessing to others as we share the spirit of the season: abundance and thankfulness.

So, here are some ideas I came up with:

* Count the Corn: fill a canning jar with candy corn - count them before filling the jar! Set out small pieces of paper and pencil with a jar for guesses. Winner is announced during the picnic lunch and gets to take the jar home!

* Bob for Apples: fill a galvanized tub with water and apples. Have towels nearby for obvious reasons! I thought this would make a great snack-stop as well with supplies handy to cut the apples and maybe even yummy things like carmel, peanut butter, etc... to dip the slices into.

* Clothespin Drop: provide a pail and clothespins to be dropped into it! Make a line that they must stand behind or have a chair they must stand on to increase the difficulty. Another way to make this harder is to use a jar of something with a smaller opening to drop the clothespins into.

* Craft: Cones of Thanks. I saw this idea in Country Living October 2005. Create a cone that looks like candy corn from white, orange, and yellow paper. Punch holes in the sides and thread a ribbon through. I added the thankfulness part which is this: each child makes one and takes it home to hang on the door knob of their room or some other location. Then throughout the month before Thanksgiving, family members drop one-word or phrase notes into the cone mentioning why they are thankful for that family member. On Thanksgiving, you can take turns going around and reading the things that others are thankful about for you!

A second craft that will be available at my gathering is to provide small brown kraft bags (I found them in the Wal-Mart craft dept.) as take-home bags for the things they make throughout the morning. I plan to provide craft supplies for each child to decorate their bag - and, it must include their name to prevent confusion on whose is whose!

* Cupcake Decorating: (recipe to follow in the food theme week) make Pumpkin Chocolate Cupcakes and provide icing and sprinkles. To make this more meaningful and create an attitude of giving in children try this: let each child decorate two cupcakes - one for their dessert after lunch and one to give away to someone they are thankful for. Clear cellophane bags (from a craft supply store), ribbon, and little cards to write notes on will complete the gift. It would probably be a good idea to provide a hand-washing station near this since all our activities will be outside and the potential for getting dirty is high! I also thought these little toothpicks would be great for labeling names on cupcakes. Then we can keep a big tray ready for serving the cupcakes after lunch! To make these - use small cookie cutters to trace pumpkins and leaves onto orange cardstock. Cut out shapes and use strong clear tape to adhere to a colored toothpick.

*Bean-Bag Toss: make bean bags out of scraps of fabric you already have - stitch almost all the way around leaving an opening. Fill with beans and hand-stitch closed. Provide various containers to toss the bean-bags into!

* Marigold Tic-Tac-Toe: I saw this adorable idea in a recent issue of Better Homes & Gardens. Make the tic-tac-toe board out of sticks and provide marigold blossoms to be used for the x's and o's!

* Pumpkin Patch: since I do not know of any local pumpkin patch - I thought how fun to create your own! So, I'm planning to purchase pumpkins and place them in an open space in our back yard. Since some families may not want to do pumpkin carving - I'll include this devotional for the parents to take home and decide what is best for their family instead of carving at the party. Here's the general idea of what I'll send home with each family:

Choose your pumpkin: This reminds us of when God chooses us and brings us into His family, washing off all the dirt that we got from being outside and around the other pumpkins.

Cut off the top: Just like when God reaches into our hearts and cleans out all of the yucky stuff inside - all the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc... we can clear out the inside of the pumpkin.

Carve: as when God carves a new smiling face in each of us. II Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone the new has come!"

Light: allow His light inside us to shine so that others can see Him!

* ABC's of Thanksgiving: another idea that my Mom started as a tradition when we were growing up is to post a list of the ABC's - then during the month of November, family members write things in next to the letter that we are thankful for beginning with that letter. We used to always make them by hand, but I have created one in Word that I can e-mail to anyone who is interested in using it.

So, how do these ideas sound? Would your little ones have fun doing these activities? Do you have other ideas to add/share? Please let me know!

Previously: Goals, Planning & Invitations
Next time: Food and Drink


Jenn said...

Thank you so much for sharing your ideas!!! WE will not be doing the "typical" October festivities and i want to be sure my children are not angry or deprived over it, this will be a help to us, too!


The Frugal Shrink said...

I truly am amazed at your creativity. Every time I read your blog I think "How does she come up with all these clever ideas?!?". I've been making my own greeting cards like you posted a while back and I love it! Keep the good ideas coming!


Wendi said...

Hope you don't mind if I borrow a few of your ideas. I am always looking for new things to do with my nieces. You are so creative!

Monica Wilkinson said...

Thank you for your sweet comments - as Anne says in Anne of Avonlea, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!"

Thank you -

Paula said...

What wonderful ideas! I especially liked the "Cone of Thanks."

I plan to use several of these ideas for my own children, as well as for my Sunday school kids.

Mrs. C

*carrie* said...


Just looked up this post to be reminded about the ABC thankful list. If you still have a Word doc, can you email me? Thanks!