Thanksgiving! What are we thankful for?

For the week before and the couple of days leading up to the Thanksgiving Holiday we will focus on all things Thanksgiving. We will talk about what it means to be thankful, what we are thankful for, the first Thanksgiving, and all the usual symbols of Thanksgiving.

COLOR - Brown

LETTER - T for Turkey and Thanksgiving

Alphabet Letter T Turkey Poster and Coloring Page

STORY - What does it mean to be Thankful?

Being thankful can be a difficult concept to grasp as a young child.  Being thankful means to be happy that you have someone or something in your life. You could be thankful for your Mom and Dad. You could be thankful that your new friend moved closer to your house. You could be thankful that you get to visit your Grandparents. Talk about things that they are thankful for.

Read the story "The Thankful Book" which can be printed HERE. 

You can also read "Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks!" It has awesome illustrations and focuses on giving thanks and the spirit of the holiday. Find it on Amazon:

CRAFT - Thankful Placemats

Materials Needed:

Lots of pictures from magazines or printed from Internet                         
Brown construction paper

Spread the pictures out on the table. Give the children their piece of brown paper. Tell them they are going to pick pictures of the things they are thankful for. Show them a picture and talk about it. Lets say it is a picture of a cat. If you have a cat and you are thankful for your cat, glue it to your paper. Make sure to have lots of different pictures so as to appeal to the many different children! It is a lot of fun to see what kinds of things the children pick.

Once they have completed their placemat, have each child talk about the things the chose. See if other children are thankful for similar things. These placemats can be laminated and actually used for Thanksgiving dinner!

HISTORY -  The First Thanksgiving                              

It is important to understand why we celebrate Thanksgiving here in America. It is not just about a big dinner and yummy desserts. The short story, "The First Thanksgiving" will help young children understand the true meaning behind this holiday.

You can also print out a book HERE that is a simple version for your kids. This book can also be colored!

It is helpful to really put emphasis on what these people were thankful for and why. Ask the children some questions after you have read the story. Who were the Pilgrims? Who were the Indians? What did the Pilgrims have to give up for a chance for a new and better life? What kinds of things did they want that would make their lives better? Once they arrived in the new world, were they scared?  Why? When the Indians came to help them, were they happy? How did the Indians help them? What kinds of things were the Pilgrims thankful for?

ART - Make an Indian Headress

Materials Needed:

Construction Paper
Craft feathers, beads, pom poms, etc
Colors or markers

This can be done in many ways. The simplest version is to cut out feathers from different colored construction paper and allow the children to color and decorate the feathers. Also cut out a head band and allow them to decorate this as well. Once they are decorated to their liking, tape or glue it all together.

A more elaborate version is to allow the children to decorate the headband with beads, pom poms, colors, etc and then attach real craft feather to the band. Either way, this is a fun activity.

ART & SHAPES - Pilgrim Shape Craft


I found this great idea at 2TeachingMommies blog. 

Materials Needed:

Construction paper in various colors

 Cut out the shapes in the colors that you want. It is a great idea to go ahead a put one together before doing the craft with the children. Show them what it should look like. Talk about the different shapes and how they make up this pilgrim's body. This is a fun way to talk about many different shapes. It looks good hanging up in the classroom the week of Thanksgiving too!

Color the Cornucopia Worksheet  VOCABULARY & COLORING - What is a Cornucopia?

A Cornucopia is a horn shaped container. It is filled with a bunch of fruits and vegetables which are harvested (or picked) from the plants in the fall. These include pumpkins, corn, squash, grapes, apples, etc. It is also called the Horn of Plenty. It is a popular symbol of Fall and the Harvest around Thanksgiving.

Find the Cornucopia coloring page HERE!  Talk about the different colors of the many foods found in this Cornucopia.

COOKING - Thanksgiving Snack Mix
Make the snack mix and put it into sugar cones to symbolize the cornucopia. Then they can eat their creation for snack one day! Talk about each item as they add it to the bowl. (In order to make it easy for each child to participate, put portions of each ingredient into small cups. Allow the children to take turns adding ingredients)
  • Bugles, horn shaped snacks
  • Pretzels (that symbolize arms folded in thanks and pray)
  • Candy corn (see the gratitude tradition further on)
  • Circle shaped cereal (circle of unity)
  • Dried fruits (represent fruits available at harvest time)
  • Seeds or Peanuts (represent planting new crops)
  • Goldfish Crackers (fish was available and part of the first thanksgiving dinner)
Mix all together and portion out into sugar cones. Wrap in plastic wrap. If you are going to send them home with these, it is a good idea to print out a card that explains what each item symbolizes and attach to the treat so their parents can participate.

Gratitude Tradition
A great Thanksgiving idea for kids is to start a gratitude tradition. Did you know that when the pilgrims first came to America they had very little to eat that first winter? They were allotted 5 kernels of corn per day because food was so scarce. A wonderful tradition to start is handing out 5 candy corns to each person around the dinner table and each person has to think of 5 things they are grateful for. It is a great reminder that we are all blessed with lots of food and many wonderful things to be grateful for.

BIBLE - Thanksgiving Prayer
Here is a simple but effective prayer about being thankful:

Thank you God for all that grows,
thank you for the sky’s rainbows,
thank you for the stars that shine,
thank you for these friends of mine,
thank you for the moon and sun,
thank you God for all you’ve done!

COUNTING/MATH - Turkey Feather Counting

Print and cut out the Turkey Template for each child. Write a large number 5 on the turkey's tummy. You can either use the feather template and cut them out or use craft feathers.

Have the children count out 5 feathers. Have them glue the feathers to the turkey in the appropriate places. Talk about the number 5.

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