Family Home Evening on Thanksgiving

This activity was imported from my old blog.  This was the first activity that I planned and carried out!

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November 19, 2012

Just under 3 weeks ago, I was called to be the Activity Day leader for our ward.  If you don’t know what that is, I serve in our Church for free, helping the girls ages 8-11 reach various goals as they get ready for the youth program in our Church.  They get to do a lot of fun activities, learn sewing, crafting, and learn how to be teachers and leaders.

I have a great group of girls…all of which, I’m still learning their names.  That’s the half the battle!

The activity for this past Wednesday was planned by the previous leader only by title.  So, it was up to me to come up with the activity behind it.  Originally, the idea was to do a Family Home Evening (FHE) lesson, that the girls can repeat for their families.  Then they get to sign off one of their goal requirements in their Faith in God booklets.

The original idea behind the FHE lesson was to teach the First Vision.  The problem?  Well, I was stumped.  It is a great topic to cover, but I just felt like we needed to go in a different direction.  The only topic that kept coming to mind was Thanksgiving.  Its coming up, so the girls would have plenty of time to plan their lesson at home.  So, I prayed about it, and sat down at my desk without an idea even kind of thought of.  I thought I’d be there FOREVER!

I was scrolling through Pinterest, looking at all of the Thanksgiving decorations, crafts, and recipes.  Then it hit me.  I need to teach them about finding things they are thankful for!  But how can I take away something temporarily for them to understand?  The the light bulb switched on.

Here’s the activity:

Each girl draws a slip of paper from a bag.  Each paper says one of the following:
No Right Hand
No Left Arm
Cannot See
Cannot Speak

Anyone with “No Right Hand” had to wear a rubber glove with the fingers taped down.  Anyone with “No Left Arm” had their left arm tied to their side.  Anyone with “Cannot See” had to wear a blindfold, and lastly, anyone with “Cannot Speak” had to wear painter’s tape over their mouth.

The girls got very excited when they found out what I was up to.  One of them is quite the talker (okay, so a lot of them are talkers), so as I taped her mouth shut, I said, “——, this is very ironic that you picked to not be able to speak!”  Her last words were, “I know, right??”  She is a funny girl.

After each girl had received her “disability,” I ushered them over to a table where I had beads waiting for them.  They were to make a bracelet with their disability.  But not just any bracelet, they had to make a bracelet that goes with a poem on the First Thanksgiving.

I used pony beads… and here is the poem.

Thanksgiving Story Bracelet
Author Unknown
With this bracelet you will know
The first Thanksgiving that was long ago.
The Pilgrims set sail from far away
On the Mayflower with tall white sails.
They sailed many days across the ocean blue.
The seas were rough, but they ship came through.
At last they spotted land so green.
They were happy they cheered and screamed.
The first year was so hard and black.
Many died and wished they could go back.
But the Native Americans gave them a hand
And helped them survive in the strange new land.
They decided to celebrate in a special way
And that became the First Thanksgiving day.
They prepared a feast with turkeys brown
And red cranberries that they had found
Yellow corn that they had learned to grow
And orange pumpkin pies, don’t you know!
But before they ate the turkey and dressing.
They all held hands for a thankful blessing.
Each time a color was mentioned in the poem, they had to find that color of bead and thread it on to their bracelet.
Some of them struggled…especially those who only had one hand…or even one arm at that.  The girls who could not see struggled the most of course.  But they all seemed to enjoy the challenge.
After they had finished their bracelets, I asked them how they felt with their “disability.”  Every single one of them seemed to struggle in her own way for that 30 minutes.  I pointed about that there are many with those same disabilities who will have them for more than 30 minutes.  Then I asked them what they were thankful for.  To which, those who didn’t have their eyes, said that they were thankful for their eyes.  Those who didn’t have arms or hands were thankful for those…and those talkative little girls who could not speak, were thankful to have their voices back.
At the end, before closing the activity, I challenged each of the girls to go home and write down every single blessing that they can think of… big or small, then to thank our Father in Heaven in prayer for those things.  It was amazing to see some of those girls take a moment to acknowledge some of the blessings that they were thinking of.
We closed the activity with some caramel popcorn.  They loved it, and hardly left any for Hoss later!
Caramel Marshmallow Popcorn
Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
9-10 marshmallows
1/2 cup un-popped popcorn (popped-makes about 12-16 cups)
Directions:
Microwave brown sugar and butter for 2 minutes in microwave safe bowl.  Stir to combine.  Add marshmallows and microwave until melted, 1 1/2-2 minutes.  Stir well, then pour over popcorn in a large bowl with lid.  Shave vigorously until mixed completely.
Note:  Make sure you microwave safe bowl is large enough to accommodate the expanding marshmallows!  I didn’t, and made a mess!
That’s that!  My very first activity done!  A relative success!
I am thankful for a healthy family.  A body that functions properly, and being where I am today.
What are you thankful for?  I think I definitely need to think more deeply for my everyday blessings!
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