Pre-K & Preschool theme ideas for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Book List
Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson
A celebration of friendship and family featuring Karma Wilson’s beloved bear character. If you’re not familiar with this series run, don’t walk to your nearest library or bookstore! Beautiful illustrations paired with rhyming text make this series the perfect read aloud for any preschool or kindergarten classroom.
Over the River by Derek Anderson
An amusing take on the classic song where turkeys take the place of humans. The vivid, eye-catching illustrations will capture the attention of your students and the hilarious antics will keep them engaged.
10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston
The silly rhyming text teaches children how to count backwards from ten. While it may be silly it can also be used as a tool to support the Common Core through the development of mathematical fluency. Children need to be able to fluently count forward and backward and know what numerals come before and after. Ten Fat Turkeys is the perfect book to support the concept of mathematical fluency.
Turkey Trouble by Wendi J. Silvano
A hilarious story about a turkey who disguises himself to avoid the inevitable on Thanksgiving Day. Turkey’s attempts at disguising himself will have your students giggling from start to finish. Click on the picture of the book cover and check out the preview on Amazon- too cute!
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie is one of my personal Thanksgiving read-aloud favorites. This book can be used as a tool for supporting sequencing and re-telling skills. I have also created some free printables to go along with this story; you can find them on the Thanksgiving page.
Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes
Simple rhyming text coupled with beautiful watercolor illustrations capture the true spirit of being thankful from the perspective of a child.
Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland
A simple book appropriate for young children that will help explain the concept of being thankful. This book features multicultural characters, and is perfect for young children who are second language learners.
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
From bestselling author Todd Parr, The Thankful Book celebrates all the little things children can give thanks for. Parr’s distinctive illustrations and relatable text make this a must have for all early childhood classrooms.
Over the River and Through the Woods by Lydia Maria Francis Child, illustrated by John Steven Gurnsey
While it is only available second-hand, this is one of my favorite Thanksgiving books. The full-page illustrations are very detailed and the text follows the classic song word for word. I love to read this book aloud and then introduce the children to the song. You can see an extensive preview on Amazon, but ignore the editorial reviews – they are for the wrong book.
Who Will Carve the Turkey This Thanksgiving? by Jerry Pallotta
I love this “Who will…?” series by Jerry Pallotta so much I just had to include it! Although it is only available as used it is well worth it. The illustrations are amazing and the funny premise has my students howling with laughter every time. After reading this book aloud, ask your class what other animals they can think of and then create your own class book.
Sung to: “Twinkle Twinkle ”
Little Pilgrim dressed in gray on that first Thanksgiving Day. Little Indian dressed in brown, Came to visit Plymouth Town, They both came to eat and pray on that first Thanksgiving Day.
I have a turkey, big and fat. (Make a fist with one hand-thumb Out for turkey’s head) He spreads his tail and walks like that. (Attach “tail” by spreading Out fingers of other hand and join together) His daily corn he would not miss. (Poke with thumb at floor) And when he talks, it sounds like this: Gobble Gobble Gobble
Did You Ever See A Turkey?
Sung to: “Did you ever see a Lassie” Did you ever see a turkey a turkey a turkey Did you ever see a turkey go this way and that Go this way and that way and this way and that way Did you ever see a turkey go this way and that?
Hello Mr. Turkey
Sung to: “If You’re Happy and You Know It” Hello, Mr. Turkey how are you? Hello, Mr. Turkey, how are you? His feet go wobble, wobble And his head goes Gobble, Gobble. Hello, Mr. Turkey, how are you?
Native American Thanksgiving Rhyme
(If you are in a non-religious school, you can eliminate the first and last lines.)
Thank you, God the Father (Fold hands in prayer)
Thank you, for the sunshine (Stretch arms overhead in circle)
Thank you, for the rain (Move fingers down)
Thank you, for things that grow (Move hands up)
Thank you, for good food to eat (Make circle around tummy)
Thank you, for families that love us. (Cross arms over chest)
Thank you, God the Father. (Same as first)
Have children cut out pictures of their favorite foods and glue them on a paper plate. Grocery store sale papers from the newspaper can be used for pictures (or print out clipart).
Coffee Filter Turkeys
Cut a coffee filter in half and have children paint it with watercolors. Cut out a turkey’s body from brown paper (a sort of gourd shape) and let the children glue it on. Have them draw eyes and a beak.
Giving Thanks Class Book
Ask children to think of things they are thankful for, and illustrate it on a sheet of paper. Each child’s page would read: “_____ is thankful for _____.” Example: “Nash is thankful for friends.” To make our class books, I use “presentation book covers” from an office supply store or Walmart. It has a sturdy plastic cover with a clear insert, and the pages are also clear inserts. I just slip in a page for the front cover, and slip in the children’s pages inside. These can be reused.
Number Flip Book
To make a flip book, fold a piece of paper over hotdog style, cut four flaps (cut four slits into one side of the paper), and write numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 on the flaps. Children put the correct number of Thanksgiving stickers under each flap.
Ingredients for one serving:
Mini graham cracker crust
3 spoonfuls of vanilla pudding
1 spoonful of canned pumpkin
1 spoonful of whipped topping
Directions: Stir the vanilla pudding and canned pumpkin together. Spoon the mixture into the mini pie crust. Top with whipped topping.
(I also have this cooking activity listed with the Halloween/Pumpkin theme. Depending on the year, I may do this activity in either theme, but not both.)
In the House Center, add a Thanksgiving tablecloth, Thanksgiving placemats, and a vase of autumn flowers.
Sensory Table: Pie Crust Dough
At Large Group time, mix different consistencies of flour and water mixtures (similar to pie crust dough). Make 3-4 bowls using varying amounts of flour and water. Place the bowls in the sensory table, and allow children to explore and feel the difference of the consistencies. Another idea is to place a cup of flour, cup of water, bowl, and spoon in the sensory table, and let the children choose how much of each substance to add to their bowl and stir.