November is flooded with turkey crafts and activities, and I love them all, but I felt a non-turkey Thanksgiving craft might be appropriate in teaching my preschoolers about the Thanksgiving holiday. But beyond a corn craft, it is also a number identification and counting activity, as well as a fine motor activity.
When I was a kid, my family of ten lived in a 1,800 square foot house on a acre of land. Most of that acre was dedicated to a garden, because as you can imagine, it was really expensive to feed eight children.
You see, I have five brothers. And they ate a lot. They still eat a lot!
Every Saturday my dad would wake each of us up at 7:30 in the morning and we had to have ourselves dressed and fed and outside ready to work by 8am. For the next four hours, we worked in the garden. We gardened the staples and the fillers. Potatoes, green beans, tomatoes and corn, as well as other goodies like eggplant, melons, and cucumbers. But what I remember the most were the vegetables we preserved for the winter.
Corn was one of those vegetables.
I remember about a quarter of the acre we lived on was a corn field. Some years, my grandfather would plant a equal sized plot of corn in his property.
But that was never enough for our large family. My dad would almost always have to buy a truck bed full of corn from a local farmer. He would let the tailgate down and the ears of corn would spill out onto the grass in the backyard.
One Saturday each fall, we cancelled all other plans we might have. My older brothers had to take a day off from their part time jobs; my younger brother and I could not go play at a friend’s house. We had to stay home because one Saturday a year my family would work together to prepare all that corn for freezing.
Everyone in the family had a special and specific job. Some of my siblings were tasked with husking all those ears of corn. My dad always promised the person who husked the most ears of corn a milkshake, and we worked out tails off for that milkshake, even though everyone was rewarded with one at the end of the day! My mother and grandmother typically were in charge of blanching the corn, while my dad and grandfather cut the corn off the cob. I remember my grandfather sneaking me chunks of cut corn in rows that hadn’t fallen apart into individual pieces. My younger brother and I would usually have to scoop the corn into freezer baggies, wash the sticky, starchy juices off the outside the bags, dry them and arrange them into neat rows in the deep freeze.
Our work was always rewarded on Sunday meals with my grandparents and holidays when we got to enjoy some of that sweet corn we had worked so hard to preserve. Each Thanksgiving, my dad would make fried sweet corn, using the bags of corn we had frozen earlier that fall, alongside the traditional mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, rolls and turkey.
Corn was a large part of the first Thanksgiving, just as it still is. In fact, there’s much to my story above that it similar to the first Thanksgiving.
So, while I do adore all those little turkey crafts, (I’ve shared many myself), I definitely appreciate a craft that represents other parts of Thanksgiving. So here’s to a non-turkey Thanksgiving craft.
But don’t forget, it is also a counting activity, a number identification activity and a fine motor activity!
- yellow tissue paper cut into one or two inch squares
- heavy cardstock, cut into the shape of an ear of corn
- liquid school glue
- green construction paper with leaf shape traced on
- ten frame for counting (optional)
Kernel Counting Activity
Begin by inviting your preschooler to join you in crumpling up the pieces of tissue paper to make “corn kernels.” You don’t want to crumple them too small, or you will need a TON of tissue paper, but if you crumple them too loosely, they will loose the corn kernel look. Somewhere in the middle is best.
This is one of the fine motor pieces to this non-turkey Thanksgiving craft.
Next, load up your ears of corn with liquid glue from about an inch from the bottom all the way to the top.
The counting activity comes in now. Invite your preschooler to roll the dice and count out the coordinating number of crumpled tissue paper corn kernels to add to their ear of corn. Another fine motor activity.
I had my preschoolers place their tissue paper corn pieces on a ten frame, to help them count the amount correctly each time.
Continue until the ear of corn is full. Set aside and allow to dry.
While the ear of corn is drying cut out the leaves. I just drew the most basic leaf shape. Fold each leaf in half lengthwise, and glue to the bottom of the ear of corn.
In preschool, I try to spend as much time as possible teaching my students about the story of the Thanksgiving holiday and why we celebrate each year. Turkey crafts are cute and festive, but I love a good non-turkey thanksgiving craft, too. And, of course, this one hits close to home for me, because of the memories I have from my childhood of growing and preserving corn.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.