Family Time Calendar: Get Smart - iVillage

Here's a project that is great for keeping excited kids busy before the big day, and will also keep everyone -- grown-ups and kids alike -- entertained at the table. It also teaches and encourages storytelling and imagination skills, helps older kids learn and practice nouns, verbs and adjectives, and strengthens younger kids' use of numbers and colors.

What you'll need:

  • Plain paper placemats, one for everyone who is coming to Thanksgiving dinner (if you don't want to buy paper mats, you can also cut rustic-looking paper mats from brown craft paper or construction paper)
  • Colored markers, seasonal stickers, crayons, etc.

What you'll do:

Help your kids create a Thanksgiving mad-lib (one of those stories where blanks are left to be filled with appropriate nouns, adjectives and verbs). You may have to review nouns (a person, place or thing); verbs (a word that describes action); and adjectives (a word that describes or qualifies another word). Make sure you create stories with blanks that kids of all ages can fill in. For older kids, include blanks that need nouns, verbs and adjectives, but be sure to create stories that have blanks for names, colors, numbers and animals so everyone can participate. Older kids can then copy them onto the placemats and younger kids can use crayons and stickers to decorate them. Alternatively, you can write it on a computer and print out copies and paste them to the placemats. Depending on how keen your kids are, you can create more than one story for the table. Younger kids can help out by contributing their ideas to the stories. At the table let everyone contribute answers to the stories and read out the wacky results.

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