Make a fun scarecrow to serve as a visual reminder of how praising God “scares” away ungrateful attitudes. The scarecrow has a large “thankful heart” to remind kids to thank God in all circumstances.
Short on time? Print a picture of a scarecrow from the Internet instead, then go straight to the questions for discussion and key concepts.
A thankful scarecrow
You will need the following supplies to create your scarecrow:
cardboard tubes from paper towels, wrapping paper etc.
straw, yarn or string
a cereal box or a similar cardboard box
paper plates or circular pieces of cardboard
a hole punch or object for piercing holes
scissors to cut shapes for eyes, nose and mouth
glue or tape
paint for handprints and footprints, or a pencil for tracing
coloured paper and any additional items for decorating (e.g. fabric, wallpaper, felt to make clothes)
extra little hearts or sticky notes (optional)
- Check the questions for discussion and key concepts sections below for points to discuss with your children while you build your scarecrow together.
- Begin constructing your scarecrow by making the hands and feet. Place a sheet of thick white paper or cardstock on the table (for hands) or on the floor (for feet). Paint your child’s hands and make handprints and do the same with their feet. (This can be messy and challenging to coordinate, but it will personalize the scarecrow. If you prefer, simply trace your child’s hands and feet.)
- Cut a circle of cardboard or use a paper plate for the scarecrow’s head. Let your child draw on the face, or design it from the pre-cut shapes for the eyes, nose and mouth. If you prefer, you can print a photo of your child’s face. Next, select yarn, ribbon, grass or straw for the hair and secure it with staples or a glue gun. As an alternative, thread yarn or ribbon through holes punched in the paper plate.
- Punch a hole at the top of the scarecrow’s head and tie a loop of yarn to serve as a hanger. Punch another hole below the chin so the head can be attached to the body.
- Use a small- to medium-size cereal box for the body, or cut a piece of cardboard measuring 18 x 27 cm (7 x 10.5″). Punch a hole on either side of the body at shoulder height and punch two more holes at the bottom. (These holes will serve to tie on arms and legs.) Punch a hole at the top of the cereal-box body and use yarn to tie the head to the body.
- Now your child can “dress” the scarecrow in “clothing” by cutting shapes from wallpaper, coloured paper, craft foam, felt or fabric. You can even use old clothes.
- For the arms and legs, use cardboard tubes or make some tubes yourself by rolling up thick paper and taping it so it stays rolled. Punch a hole close to the ends of these tubes and tie them to the appropriate places on the body.
- Secure the handprints and footprints at the end of the tubes that serve as arms and legs.
- Cut a large heart from paper or fabric and attach it to your scarecrow.
- Make a sign displaying your memory verse for the scarecrow to hold.
Throughout your study on thanksgiving, when your children forget to be thankful, go to the scarecrow together, review the memory verse and ask God to help everyone have grateful hearts. When your kids do express thankfulness, you can also visit the scarecrow, review your verse and thank God for the joy that accompanies a grateful heart. To affirm your child’s thankful attitude, give your child extra little hearts to further decorate their scarecrow.
Questions for discussion
- What are some things you often thank God for?
- Why is it easy to praise God for these things?
- Is there anything you find it hard to thank God for?
- What do you think Jesus meant when He said, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15)?
- How can being ungrateful take the joy out of blessings? (For example, whining about not getting two scoops of ice cream can steal the joy of having any ice cream at all.)
Farmers use scarecrows to scare away birds that might want to “steal” the farmer’s harvest. Satan is like those birds: he wants to steal joy from our lives by making us ungrateful for all that we have. He wants us to think about what we don’t have, instead of being thankful for what we do have. Instead of showing gratitude, Satan wants us to have a “sad-itude” (John 10:10).
Our scarecrow is a reminder that thanking God “scares” away an ungrateful attitude (a “sad-itude”). The best way to scare away sad-itudes is to have a thankful heart and to praise God for everything He gives us. That’s why we pinned a large “grateful heart” on our scarecrow: it’s a reminder to thank God in all circumstances.
Luke 12:14-15 “
Jesus replied, ‘Man, who appointed Me a judge or an arbiter between you?’ Then He said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’ ”
John 10:10 “
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”