Sharing Thanksgiving With Kindergartners
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
Thanksgiving seems so early this year. We have just finished with October activities and Halloween and now we are talking about Thanksgiving and the concept of expressing gratitude. Almost every grade seems to cover some part of the history behind Thanksgiving, and in kindergarten, I cover the basics.
Here are a few favorite read-aloud books I use to introduce the people who were a part of that first Thanksgiving that gave rise to the holiday we celebrate today.
- Thanksgiving (Rookie Read-About Holidays Series)
- The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving
- Thanks for Thanksgiving
- On the Mayflower
Projects and Activities
After my students have an understanding of the Thanksgiving feast and the Pilgrims and Native Americans who created it, I like to focus on a few activities. I want my students talking about their family traditions and sharing what it means to be thankful. Of course, I like to throw in a few fun activities such as poems, art projects, and silly read-alouds, too.
I am thankful for . . . is our writing prompt for November. We share aloud what we are thankful for and then write about it. I try to emphasize to my students that yes, they may be thankful for their video games and toys, but there are more important things such as family, food, and shelter. I ask my more capable students to write about why they are thankful. Their reasons for being thankful are so simple and heartfelt, they melt my heart.
My Favorite Poems for the Pocket Chart
Five Fat Turkeys: First, we learn to read the poem, making sure we look for all the sight words we know. Second, we make a tree and add our five fat turkeys and a copy of the poem.
Patterning: Using die cuts of turkeys and cornucopias, we make pattern strips. This year we will be making the ABB pattern.
More Patterning: This year I have a new math "craftivity" in mind. We will be making turkey headbands with feathers in an ABCD pattern. My advanced students will be able to write who or what they are thankful for on their feathers.
A Family Gift
This is a project we made last year with our 3rd grade reading buddies' class. It was such a fun idea, and many of the families said they used their leftover turkey to create the recipe. This is a turkey casserole in a bag that is very simple and fun to make!
- Sponge paint a small, brown paper bag red, brown, and orange, and cut off the top portion of the bag to make it into a square shape.
- Create feathers from the top portion of the bag—the part that was cut off—then fan-fold and staple the feathers to the back of the bag.
- Cut out the head and legs from construction paper, fan-folding the legs, and attach them to the bag with staples or tape.
- Draw the eyes with a marker, and tape on a small construction paper triangle for the beak.
- To finish Mr. Turkey, glue the recipe onto a larger square of construction paper, punch a hole at the top corner, run a piece of yarn or string through, and tie it around his neck.
Inside the bag is a smaller plastic bag with one cup of rice. The families supply the rest of the ingredients on the recipe card. This is a great project to make with older buddy helpers.
My Favorite Silly Read-Alouds
- Countdown to Thanksgiving
- Don’t Eat Too Much Turkey
- 10 Fat Turkeys
- 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving
- The Littlest Pilgrim
- T Is for Turkey
- A Plump and Perky Turkey
- Who Will Carve the Turkey This Thanksgiving?
I really enjoy sharing these books with my students during the holidays. I hope you have found a few new activities and books to share this Thanksgiving with your class.