Beyond The “Turkey Handprint” – Weave A Story With The Family

The perennial kindergarten and grammar school project of tracing one’s hand, cutting it out and coloring it to resemble a Turkey is still a standard Thanksgiving art activity. Yes, its quick and undoubtedly fun, but I think we should and must be able to come up with some more imaginative ways to use the Arts to celebrate Turkey Day.

Here is an idea to try…Over the past weekend I watched the movie, The Magic of Belle Isle with Morgan Freeman and a wonderful young actress Emma Fuhrmann. The STORY – In an effort to tap into his original talent, a wheelchair-bound author moves to a rural town, where he befriends a single mother and her three kids, who help reignite his passion for writing. The PG rated movie is great fun and there are some really funny parts but the nuggets of wisdom appropriate to this discussion are about using one’s imagination to weave a story. Young Finnegan (Emma Fuhrmann) challenges the struggling award-winning author Monte Wildhorn (Freeman) to teach her how to write a story. Through his mentoring, he teaches her to see with her mind and in the process recovers his own ability to write.

Here is an example of an exercise similar to the one posed (to Finnegan) the movie.  Look at the image, what do you see? Yes, an empty street…but what don’t you see?   What is behind the doors and windows? What is around the corner? Where is this? What time period? Why are the streets so narrow and worn? What are the sounds? the smells? the temperature?

By thinking and using your imagination you can weave a story.  This would be a fun activity for the whole family to do during the lethargic hours after the turkey meal.

You can look for other images on the internet to make up all kinds of stories. When you start to get really good – create your own stories from images that just sprout from your head.

Why not just try it and let the fun begin. You could even make a progressive group story with each family member adding a new thread to the story.

In conclusion, here are a couple of Thanksgiving poems in honor of the day. Enjoy and have a safe, happy and art-filled holiday.