Thursday, November 20, 2008


Book Ideas:

Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes
"At Thanksgiving time, children express their gratitude for the people and things in their lives."

My Book of Thanks by B.G.Hennessy
"A gentle prayer expressing thanks - and asking for help in passing life’s blessings along."

Songs and Rhymes:

Let's be Thankful
Sung to: "Twinkle, twinkle little star"

Let’s be thankful for this day
For our friends and for our play
Let’s be thankful; lets be glad
For the food and things we have
Let’s give thanks for you and me
And our home and family

If your thankful and you know it...
Sung to: "If You're Happy & You Know It"

If you're thankful and you know it clap your hands
If you're thankful and you know it clap your hands
If you're thankful and you know it
Then your face will surely show it
If you're thankful and you know it clap your hands!

I Thank Thee, Dear Father
(LDS Church Primary Song Book pg.7)

I thank thee, dear Father in heaven above,
For thy goodness and mercy, thy kindness and love.
I thank thee for home, friends, and parents so dear,
And for ev'ry blessing that I enjoy here.

Thanks to Our Father
(LDS Church Primary Song Book pg. 20)

Thanks to our Father we will bring,
For he gives us ev'rything.
Verse 2:
Eyes and ears and hands and feet,
Clothes to wear, and food to eat;
Verse 3:
Father, mother, baby small,
Heavenly Father gives us all.
Verse 4:
Thanks to our Father we will bring,
For he gives us ev'rything.

Activity Ideas:

Idea#1: Make Gratitude Books

Cut computer paper into four (you'll need 6 pages) and staple together. You can do this a couple of ways.

Version A: Write "My Gratitude Book" on the first page and then have your child tell you five things he/she is thankful for and draw and label each on the blank pages.

Version B: Cut and staple the pages together and make a gratitude coloring book for your child to color. (This might be a good option for younger preschoolers). For this kind of book I used the lyrics to the song "Thanks to our Father". Here is what you would write on each page:

Page 1- "My Gratitude Book"
Page 2- "Thanks to our Father we will bring, for he gives us everything.
(draw or print a child praying)
Page 3- "Eyes and ears and hands and feet," (draw or print each body part mentioned)
Page 4- "Clothes to wear," (draw or print picture of clothes)
Page 5- "and food to eat;" (draw or print picture of food)
Page 6- "Father, Mother, baby small, Heavenly Father gives us all." (draw or glue in a photo of your family)

Version C: Cut and staple paper into a book and label each page with the words to the poem, as mentioned in version B, but have your child draw the pictures to go along with the words.

Idea#2: Make Thank you Cards

If you don't already have the family tradition of choosing someone to specifically write and thank at thanksgiving time, then start this year. The hand print turkey in the photo above is a fun way for the kids to decorate their cards. If you want you can even add this poem below the hand print:

This isn't just a turkey
As anyone can see.
I made it with my hands
Which are a part of me!
It comes with lots of love
Especially to say----
I hope you have a very
Happy Thanksgiving Day!

***Add to the fun by making some cute Thanksgiving cookies to go with the thankyou cards and deliver them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Book Ideas: Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Pilkey
"School children on a field trip to Mack Nugget's farm save the lives of eight turkeys in this poem based on 'The Night Before Christmas'."

Run, Turkey Run! by Diane Mayr
"With Thanksgiving only one day away, can Turkey find a place to hide from the farmer who's looking for a plump bird for his family feast?Maybe he can hide with the pigs . . . or the ducks . . . or the horses . . .Uh-oh! Here comes the farmer!Run, Turkey, run!"

A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting
"Mr. and Mrs. Moose invite all their animal friends for Thanksgiving dinner and the only one missing is Turkey. When they set out to find him, Turkey is quaking with fear because he doesn't realize that his hosts want him at their table, not on it."

Songs and Rhymes:

I'm A Little Turkey(tune of I'm a little Teapot)

I'm a little turkey; I like to play,
I'm very hungry; I eat all day.
When I see the hunter with his gun,
Then I know it's time to run.

Turkey in the Barnyard
Turkey in the barnyard, what does he say?
Gobble, gobble, gobble all day.(flap your elbows like turkey wings)
Turkey on the table, what do you say?
Yummy, yummy, yummy all day.(rub your tummy in a circle)
Turkey in my tummy, what do I say?
I ate too much turkey on Thanksgiving Day!(hold your hand on your belly and make a pained face)

Run Fast Little Turkey
The brave little Pilgrim
Went out in the wood
Looking for a meal
That would taste really good.
First she/he picked cranberries
Out in the bog.
Then she saw a turkey
Hiding in a log.
Run fast little turkey.
Run fast as you may.
Or you will come to dinner
On Thanksgiving Day!

Have you ever seen a turkey?
(Sing to the tune of "The more we get together")
Have you ever seen a turkey, a turkey, a turkey?
Have you ever seen a turkey with feathers so bright?
There's red ones and brown ones, and yellow ones and orange ones
Have you ever seen a turkey with feathers so bright?

Fat Turkey's Song
(to the tune of "The more we get together")
Oh, gobble, gobble, gobble,
Fat turkeys, fat turkeys.
Oh, gobble, gobble, gobble,
Fat turkeys are we.
We walk very proudly and gobble so loudly.
Oh, gobble, gobble, gobble.
Fat turkeys are we.

Activity Ideas:

Idea #1: "Where is Mr. Turkey?" Game

Read one of the Turkey books and then play the "Where is Mr. Turkey Game?" (similar to the game hot and cold). Have child leave the room and then hide the turkey (the turkey can be a small printout on paper, or it could be a small stuffed animal turkey, or turkey figurine etc...--use whatever you have) When the child returns to the room, give clues by gobbling softly when he/she is far away from the turkey and gobbling loudly when close. Once the turkey is found, let your child take a turn hiding Mr. Turkey, while you leave the room.

Idea #2: "A Turkey for Thanksgiving" Comprehension Activity

Print off the animal images (see list and links below)

You may want to copy and paste the images into a word document to make them smaller, so you can fit four on a page. Read "A Turkey For Thanksgiving" by Eve Bunting. Lay the animal pictures on the floor or table and have your child pick out the animals that were at the Thanksgiving feast in the story. Refer back to the pages in the book if you need to.
Animal images:

Idea#3:Edible Turkeys

Read a book together and then make a yummy turkey snack, using an apple for the body, 8 toothpicks (1 for the neck and 4 for the feathers, and 3 for the base so the apple is balanced), 1 Large Marshmallow for the head, a candy corn for the beak and two small candies or chocolate chips, or raisins for the eyes. You'll also need some finger food for the feathers. Here are some ideas: grapes, cheese cubes, banana slices, cheerios, fruit loops, raisins, mini Marshmallows or any other finger food that can be stacked or pierced through a toothpick easily. You can also use gumdrops if you want a candy version.

Set out the finger food items in small bowls or on a plate, ready to go, before hand. It is safer to have the toothpicks already poked into the apple, ready to decorate, before calling your child over to the table. ***Make sure that you are extremely attentive during this activity so that no one gets hurt with the toothpicks. When putting the eyes and beak on, it helps to pinch out and remove a little piece of the large marshmallow, so the candy can be pushed into the marshmallow and stay in place.

Idea #4: Turkey Wobble

Read one of the books mentioned above and then put on some music of your choice and move like:
BIG turkeys
Little turkeys
Tired turkeys
Happy turkeys
Scared turkeys Etc.

Idea #5: Feather Fun

Read one of the book titles above and make your own turkey. I like this activity because even though it is a little more product oriented, the kids can still show their own creativity decorating the feathers.
Cut out six feathers, each of a different color paper.For the body, head, and feet you will need some brown, yellow, and red construction paper, and some googly eyes. Using brown paper, cut out a pear shaped head and a large circle for the body (I traced a pot lid). Cut out a triangle beak and some bird feet out of the yellow paper, and a turkey wattle out of the red. Do all of this in advance. Set out a variety of art supplies (crayons, markers, glue, glitter, sequins, buttons, scrapes of paper, tissue paper, ribbon, paint, scissors).

Encourage your child to make each feather unique and different from the others. I had my kids choose one feather at a time to work on. With younger children you will have to help guide them through each feather and the choices they have for materials to use. If using glitter, set the feather on top of a paper plate to catch the stray glitter. After decorating all five feathers, set aside to dry.
Have your child assemble their turkey body, gluing the head, legs, beak, wattle, and eyes.
When feathers are dry(or mostly dry), tape feathers on the back of the turkey body.

Idea #6: Turkey Sponge Painting

Read one of the turkey stories and then have fun making mini turkeys. This activity is also a little more product oriented. The focus should be on the process of stamping and painting with a sponge. If your child wants to help assemble the turkey later, great. Here are the supplies you'll need: 1 large craft stick, 1 popsicle stick cut in half, 1 sponge, 1 paper plate cut in half, Tempera Paint (orange, red, yellow, green, and brown), googly eyes, tiny scrapes of felt or colored paper (colors:red, yellow, and black), glue and scissors.

Paint the craft stick and popsicle stick in advance so your child can just assemble later.
Cut out a tiny hat, beak, and wattle out of your felt or colored paper.Cut a sponge into small pieces,so they are easier to hold and so you can have one for each color paint.
Using green, brown, orange, and red paint, let your child dip the sponge pieces into the paint and stamp their paper plate.
Once they have covered the paper plate with a neat sponge texture of colors, set aside to let dry.
Once dry, cut the edge of the plate to resemble a fan of feathers.

Tape the popsicle stick legs to the back of the feathers. Attach the turkey face, hat and stick body to the paper plate feathers using glue.

Let Dry!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thanksgiving Harvest/Food

Book Ideas:

Countdown to Thanksgiving by Jodi Huelin
"A family's Thanksgiving festivities are described using the numbers from ten to one."

Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ by Spanelli
"When calamity stalks every step of the preparations for the Tappletons' Thanksgiving dinner, they realize that there is more to Thanksgiving than turkey and trimmings."

Corn Is Maize: The Gift of the Indians by Aliki
"A simple description of how corn was discovered and used by the Indians and how it came to be an important food throughout the world."

One little, two little, three little Pilgrims by B.G. Henessy
"Ten little Pilgrims and ten little Wampanoag boys and girls are getting ready for the harvest feast. The simple, rhythmic text and autumn-colored illustrations are just right for sharing the history and fun of Thanksgiving with young children."

Thanksgiving Is by Gail Gibbons
"In a simple text of two or three lines per page, Gibbons presents clear and concise explanations of the American Thanksgiving."

Songs and Rhymes:

Cooking the Feast
("The Wheels on the Bus")
Oh, what will we cook this Thanksgiving Day,
Thanksgiving day, Thanksgiving Day?
Oh, what will cook this Thanksgiving Day
For our feast?
We'll roast a turkey and mash potatoes,
Mash potatoes, mash potatoes,
We'll roast a turkey and mash potatoes
For our feast.
***Additional verses:
We'll bake stuffing and pumpkin pie;
We'll boil corn and sweet potatoes;
We'll all sit down and eat it up

Thanksgiving Day
(Sung to: "Twinkle, Twinkle")

Pick the corn and pick the beans,
Pick the squash and other greens
It is harvest time you see
Come and share a feast with me.
Bring your family out to play,
We'll call this Thanksgiving Day

Activity Ideas:

Idea#1: Paper Plate "Thanksgiving Dinner"

Read one of the book titles above and talk about some of the foods your family eats for Thanksgiving. Working together, look through the grocery store ads in the newspaper or the weekly coupon books for photos of food items that your family usually eats on Thanksgiving. Help them cut the photos out. It's okay if they want to cut out other things that you don't normally eat for Thanksgiving (Example: my daughter cut out donuts, chips, soda pop etc...)--it adds to the fun of the project. Then have them glue their items on a paper plate for a pretend Thanksgiving dinner. If you have an older child and want to extend the activity further, print off the food guide pyramid and discuss what food groups the items on their plate belong to. Talk about how we should eat foods from all the food groups and discuss what happens when we eat too much from only one food group.

Idea #2: Indian Corn

Read one of the book titles and discuss the importance of corn to the Native Indians and to the Pilgrims. Have fun making your own Indian Corn. There are two ways to do this activity. Either using paint and q-tips(version A) or using paper hole punch circles and glue(version B). My kids had fun doing it both ways.

Version A

Print off the corn outline (I copied and pasted it into a word document so I could make it a little bigger). Squeeze 3 colors of tempra paint (brown, redish-orange, and yellow) on a paper plate.
Using q-tips dot the kernels of corn with the various colors of paint.

Remember, especially with the little ones, it is more about the process of exploring with different manipulatives etc.. than about the final product. She was enjoying the process of dotting the page with the q-tip, more than finishing filling in all her kernels.

Version B

Print off the corn outline, as mentioned in version A. Using 3 colors of different construction paper (I used white, yellow, and brown) make a bunch of tiny hole punch circles using a hole puncher. Let your child squeeze some glue onto the corn printout and spread it around using a q-tip to cover all the kernels of the corn. Then let them sprinkle the hole punch circles over the glue. Shake off the loose dots.

Idea #3: Thanksgiving Writing Activity
(appropriate for ages 3 and up)

It is important to encourage prewriting skills for preschoolers. They can do this by drawing pictures and letting you label what is going on in their picture stories. For this activity you will need a piece of paper and some crayons. Title the paper, "How to make ______"(I did mine on the computer, but it is not necessary). Read one of the book titles and discuss what your child's favorite food to eat is on Thanksgiving. Ask them to draw a picture of this food item on their paper and then dictate to you how to make it, as you write the steps. This can be very amusing. Probe them to give you details on what you do first, second, third.
Ask them how long to cook it for etc...Usually there sense of time is totally off.
This activity is more appropriate for age 3 and up.

Idea #4: Corn Prints
Cut uncooked corn on the cob into smaller chunks. Roll corn in a very thin amount of paint, coating all sides. Roll the corn across the paper to make a cool corn texture patterns. If you have some, use the little pronged corn handles to make it easier to dip and roll.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Book Ideas:

The Little Old Lady who was not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
"The little old lady's fearless attitude and her clever solution as to what to do with the lively shoes, pants, shirt and pumpkin head that are chasing her will enchant young audiences."

The Little Scarecrow Boy by Margaret Wise Brown
"Little scarecrow boy longs to accompany his father, old man scarecrow, to the cornfields to frighten the crows. Instead, he has to remain home to grow and to practice the terrible facial expressions his father teaches him. Convinced that he has mastered the six fierce faces, he slips out early one morning and confronts a big black crow in the field."

The Scarecrow’s Hat by Ken Brown
"Chicken thinks Scarecrow's hat will make a nice nest, but first she must swap with Badger, Crow, Sheep, Owl, and Donkey."

Songs and Rhymes:


Tune: I'm A Little Teapot

I'm a little scarecrow Stuffed with hay
Standing watch in my field all day.
When I see a crow I like to shout:
"Hey, Mr. Crow, you'd better get out!"


tune of: "Itsy Bitsy Spider"

The floppy, floppy scarecrow,
Stands in the field all day.
His job is to scare the birds away.
Up on a pole as high as he can be,
And away fly those black crows,1-2-3-.

The Scarecrow

The old scarecrow is such a funny man.
He flops in the wind as hard as he can.
He flops to the right.
He flops to the left.
He flops back and forth
Till he's most out of breath.
His arms swing out;
his legs swing, too.
He nods his head in a How-do-you-do?
See him flippity flop when the wind blows hard,
The funny scarecrow in our backyard.

I'm a Little Scarecrow
(sung to the tune of I'm a Little Teapot)

I’m a little scarecrow, (Point to self)
Raggedy and worn (Stand with arms out like a scarecrow)
I wear a hat, (touch top of head with one hand)
And my shirt is torn (touch shirt with other hand)
When the crows come, (flap arms)
I wave and shout, (wave arms)
Away from my Garden----Get on out! (make 'shooing' motions with hands)

The Floppy Scarecrow...

The Floppy, floppy scarecrow
Guards his fields all day.
He waves his floppy, floppy hands
To scare the crows away!

***Repeat poem, replace bold type with arms, toes, head, legs, etc.

Shiny Black Crows
(To the tune of 3 green and speckled frogs)

5 crows, all shiny black,
Sat on a scarecrow's back,
Eating the most delicious corn,
Scarecrow, he shouted BOO!
1 crow, away she flew,
Then there were 4 black shiny crows (just 4!)

***Repeat 4 crows, 3 crows, 2 crows, 1crow

Activity Ideas:

Idea #1:Story Sequence

To make the story sequence cards that go along with the book "The little old lady who was not afraid of anything", print off the basic scarecrow clothes (you will need two of each article of clothing). You will need two sets of gloves and two pumpkin heads too.
Cut-out and color the various articles of clothing (try and color the articles of clothing the same colors as seen in the book) and glue them on card stock cards (I cut the card stock paper into four pieces). Write the action on each card, as well.
I used the second set of clothes to make a complete scarecrow for the final card.

Read the story "The Little Old Lady who was not Afraid of Anything" and then have your child put the cards in the order that they were seen in the story. Ask your child which item followed the old lady first? Ask your child if they remember the action that went with each item as he or she puts the cards in order. This is a good reading comprehension activity. A younger child may have to refer back to the pages in the book. Help them look back to the story and see
what came first, second, etc... Lay the cards out in order together.

Idea #2: Mini Paper Scarecrows

Before you start the project, print off an assortment of paper doll clothes so that your child has a few choices of shoes, hats, gloves, pants choose from to create their very own scarecrow.

Print off the paper doll outline and then trace the basic outline, without the face, onto card stock.

Add a scarecrow face to the traced body outline.

Read one of the book titles and then have your child choose an outfit for their scarecrow, from the ones you have printed off. Then have them color each article of clothing and trim (if they can) and glue their clothes onto the body outline.

If you would like to put your scarecrow on a post, all you need is two craft sticks and some tape.

Idea #3: Clothes Sorting

Using the same paper doll clothes from the other activities. Sort clothes from various seasons into groups, talking about which ones you would wear in the summer, which ones you would wear in the winter, when it's hot, cold, etc...