John and I had served our turn of the month in children’s church Sunday. Since it was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we wanted to do something with the kids that would focus them on that special day. We made and talked about/used our “I-spy something I’m thankful for” jars. The point is to find an item in the jar and tell what it reminds you to be thankful for. For the parents, we included a little tag with a list of the 45 items and the reason for the jar and some examples of how it works. The jars aren’t anything new, there’s lots of versions and tutorials out there. The concept applying it to Thankfulness is what I wanted to share here. I’m sure you could make one to pass around the dinner table with your family/dinner guests on Thanksgiving day, too. The responses to why you’re reminded to be thankful by a given item can be very personalized.
The items to make these were mostly around the house (at least around a crafter/carpenter/gardener/scrounger/packrat house). There are 10 or so that are a bit of a cheat and use little things punched out of card stock. The snowflake was a ribbon that I cut into pieces, as was the rainbow and the red, white and blue ribbon. I cut crosses out of brown felt and shirts out of some T-shirt scraps (they don’t fray). I made bitty books out of scrap paper- stapled the insides and then glued on a colorful cover. A few items were beads. Most everything else came from small found items around the house or outside. The birthday candle, pencil, and crayon where cut in half or in small stubby pieces. Obviously, use what you have and can find that will fit the category of things to be thankful for (most anything!) I used clear spice jars (the ones from Aldi’s have easy to remove labels) and I swapped some lids from other jars that fit, but didn’t have the little flip tops (=less glueing to secure everything). The tops were glued on at the end to prevent any untimely messes. I used poly beads to fill most of mine (I had some on hand), but ran out when I made up the rest at home and used rice to finish. Some people use bird seed for a filler.
Some logistics: I put my items into egg cartons- 2 in each hole- so it only took 2 egg cartons to carry all the items to go inside the jars. Unfortunately, I didn’t put anything over my items to keep them from shifting all over to the other spaces in the carton. It happens no matter how careful you are not to tip them. (I tested it on the way home. They didn’t spill on the way there just because John carried the bag to the car- shouldn’t have blamed him for the mess!) So, I recommend putting a napkin, tissue, paper towel, washcloth,or something else over your items in the spaces before transporting. It will save you a lot of fumbling, time, and exposure of all those little goodies (not good in a room of busy little ones)! I handed items to the kids and let them put each thing in their own jars (Except the busiest two year old who wasn’t interested). I put the filler beads in. You might be able to let kids help with this if you have a nice flat container of beads/rice, a scoop and a funnel. I put a bead of hot glue around the inside of the lid and screwed it on quickly. (Putting it on the jar itself didn’t work). Tags I had made up and put on a rubber band for simple attachment to the jars. I just printed on card stock, cut them out, and “laminated” with clear wide tape. The tag is the first thing to be removed and crumpled, but at least it starts out with the jar, gives parents the idea, and can go back on easily. I brought a sharpie marker to write names on jars and tags.
Here’s the info I included on the tag. I made it fit in two columns on a page of cardstock, 4 in a column (so you could get 8 per page). I used a size 6 font to make it fit, so it’s pretty small.
I spy… something I’m thankful for!
Spy something in the jar. Tell what it reminds you to be thankful for. There may be more than one reason!
Examples:A feather could remind you to be thankful for birds, chickens (and eggs), or for a comfortable bed. A bobby pin might remind you to be thankful for your grandma (or someone else who wears them), or to be thankful that you have hair. A candle may remind you to be thankful for birthdays, celebrations, or light. A piece of rainbow ribbon might remind you of God’s promises or the beautiful colors around us.
There are 45 items. Here’s a list of what to look for.
pencil candle button bell paperclip
fish toothpick teddybear penny girl
apple rubber band house/castle car flower
butterfly rock train shell nail
screw crayon bobby pin kidney bean kernel of corn
star raisin feather cross smiley face
snowflake marble shirt book twig
safety pin google eye heart tack boy
pumpkin seed piece of electric wire piece of rainbow ribbon
piece of red, white, and blue ribbon water drop (blue drop bead)
We only had 4 kids in class (two were ours) but it was a busy day! I love how they turned out. I especially like that they are so compact- a nice small size to fit in a bag or purse without much hassle, but still plenty to keep a little one occupied. They will be joining the busy bags for our trip to NC this Christmas.
What ideas do you have for developing thankfulness in the hearts of your children?