Thanksgiving is right around the corner! I love taking the month of November to enjoy fall, family, and food. We’re so lucky this year to be close enough to a few of Brent’s siblings that we are able to all get together for Thanksgiving. Since our kids will have a cousin and some other friends to play with, I thought I’d organize a little activity to help them get in the mood for their turkey dinner. I’ve collected some Thanksgiving poems as well as a couple books and a craft to keep them busy while they wait for dinner to begin.
When we lived in Utah I volunteered at the Orem Library as a story time teller for the youngest age group. Since it was for babies and young toddlers, it was called laptime. I loved learning how to incorporate rhymes, books and songs into a 20 minute experience that brought the joy of language and reading to little ones and their caregivers. I still use these skills when I plan playdates or community programs, or holiday gatherings. That’s why there’s a mix of Thanksgiving poems, songs, books and a hands-on craft in our Thanksgiving plans. Combining all of them together builds on the learning for each child as it’s easier to make connections from new information to already known stuff.
Our (hopefully) 20 Minute Plan
Start with the hands-on craft. Starting with the Feather Letter Turkey from Jodie at Growing Book by Book, the kids have something active to do while they transition into learning the Thanksgiving poems and songs. There are lots of ways to start a story time, but I’m choosing the craft this time because I think it will be something fun for them to use while we sing the Thanksgiving songs and learn the Thanksgiving poems.
Introduce the Thanksgiving poems and songs. While I’m crafting with my kids, (or cooking with them, or folding laundry with them) I often sing whatever song I know that our craft brings to mind. I find my kids are really willing to join in with me in reciting poems or singing songs during craft time. So while the kids are cutting feathers and coloring their turkey, I’m going to introduce the songs and poems. Here are the five I’m using next week.
Thanksgiving Poems and Songs
Mr. Turkey (sung to Are You Sleeping)
If You’re Thankful and You Know It (play on If You’re Happy and You Know It)
Hello, Mr. Turkey (also sung to If You’re Happy and You Know It)
Thanksgiving Day (4 line poem)
Turkey Poem (4 line poem)
Once everyone has their turkey finished, we will recite and sing the Thanksgiving poems and songs. Kids love repetition! Especially if they like something, they want to do it again and again. They are hardwired this way to facilitate learning. Once we’ve gone through all the poems and songs, I usually ask which is the favorite and we’ll do that one again. If there are multiple favorites, then we’ll do each one. I know it sounds like a lot, but it takes about a minute to recite the Thanksgiving poems and only a couple minutes for the longest song.
Once the wiggles are out, we’ll cozy up with our turkeys and read two books. Both of these books have great rhythm and rhyming so make for fun read alouds. We’ve had Gobble-Gobble Crash for a few years and have loved it. Though this year Scott is particularly fond of it. He requests it at lunch time frequently. Thanks for Thanksgiving is new to us this year and and I’m excited to add it to our collection of Fall/Thanksgiving books that I look forward to pulling out each year.
And that’s it! I’ll leave the kids with the books and their turkeys and run off to help with anything else that needs doing.
In keeping with the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m so thankful for the time I was able to volunteer at the Orem Library. It changed my life and has continued to shape who I am and how I spend my time with my kids. I’m also very thankful that we have four kids who ALL love books. Sammi has started to disappear and I’ll find her in her room totally engrossed in a book. I love that!
What are you thankful for this year?