We’ve been having a lot of fun doing several different Thanksgiving themed activities the last few weeks. Here’s all the fun we’ve been having with our latest theme!
Our book for our Thanksgiving theme was one we’ve had in our collection now for a few years. Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes is a very sweet book that does a great job at giving little ones an idea of things to be thankful for, whether they are little or big things. The book even includes a page in the back perfect to write down thankful thoughts as a family. It’s beautifully illustrated as well, and there are numerous counting opportunities and things to point out while reading along.
We enjoyed listening to several songs related to Thanksgiving and gratefulness for this theme, as well as an Elmo’s World clip via YouTube. Grace’s favorites by far were the Kiboomers’ Turkey Hokey Pokey and Sesame Street’s Do the Turkey Gobble Wobble, both of which made for great Thanksgiving movement and dance breaks! Most days when we were in the car, we would listen to our Thanksgiving playlist and sing along. You can view this playlist by clicking the photo above to enjoy with your family, too.
Starting November 1st, we started a new Thanksgiving tradition in our home. Everyday through the month of November we planned to add a new leaf from our Thankful Tree Activity to a string of garland. Originally I had started placing them on fall garland on the mantle in our living room, but ended up moving them to a simple strand hanging on our china cabinet in our dining room, so they could all be viewed on Thanksgiving Day.
Each day, we write something that we are thankful for on the back of a laminated leaf with a dry erase pen, then clip it with a clothespin to our garland. By Thanksgiving Day, we will be able to see our many blessings displayed via the leaves. What a wonderful visual in a world that’s so easy to get caught up in all the negativity. It’s a reminder to literally count our blessings.
We started off our activities for our Thanksgiving theme with what was supposed to be a simple counting practice activity. However, it turned into something more. I cut out and pasted together a simple turkey body shape, and hot glued feathers to 10 clothespins. Clothespins are a wonderful simple tool for strengthening those fine motor skills. I placed the clothespin feathers in a basket next to the turkey’s body, and using our Number Flash Cards, Grace was supposed to clip the amount of feathers to the turkey that matched the number shown.
However, instead of going in order from 1 to 10, I decided on a whim to mix it up, and show Grace the numbered flash cards out of numerical order. And, instead of Grace removing each feather for each new number, she either had to add or take away feathers to match the number on the flash card. Our simple counting practice turned into our first foray into addition and subtraction. While somewhat hesitant at first, Grace did an amazing job at adding feathers to make a new number. She was a little more confused when it came to taking away feathers, and at first started removing all of them before starting over. But after a few turns with taking away feathers, Grace caught on pretty quickly that she didn’t have to take every feather away. When she wasn’t sure of how many she needed to remove, Grace would count the feathers, sometimes multiple times to figure out how many she had already clipped. Although this activity made her pause a few times, Grace really enjoyed adding and taking away feathers from the turkey. And because it was a new skill for us, we played with this turkey multiple times throughout our Thanksgiving theme.
We worked on shape recognition for our next activity, inspired by an activity we found via Pinterest and the Headbanz game. I made 6 pilgrim hats out of craft paper. For the buckles, I cut out different shapes, and folded them in half to cut out the middle section. I pasted everything together, now having different shaped buckles on each hat.
Grace and I sat down at her picnic table outside, and I placed the hats face down on the table in front of me. I explained to her that I was going to take a hat, and with out turning it around, place it on my forehead. I told her she couldn’t tell me what shape the buckle was, but I was going to ask her questions to try and figure out what shaped buckle was on my hat. I asked questions like:
- Does my shape have sides?
- Is my shape round?
- Is there a point at the top of my shape?
- Does my shape have long and short sides?
- Does my shape have 3 sides?
- Does my shape have 4 sides?
For the most part, Grace would give me a yes or no answer. Occasionally, she would add more clues than what I needed, all the while giggling at me trying to figure out what shaped buckle was on my hat. After we went through all 6 hats, Grace wanted a turn as well. So we went through the hats again with her trying to guess what shaped buckle was on each of the pilgrim hats. This go around didn’t quite go as planned. Grace decided it was more fun to be sneaky and peek at each buckle, and lots of laughter ensued. Just like our previous turkey math activity, this activity was played multiple times throughout our Thanksgiving theme.
We worked on those early handwriting skills with our next activity. Using a small tray, I placed popcorn kernels so they would cover the bottom. I grabbed a set of textured alphabet flash cards, and instructed Grace to make each letter in the corn with her finger. While a super simple activity, not only was she working those fine motor skills, Grace was getting letter recognition practice, and exercising those early handwriting skills.
Grace went through the entire alphabet tracing each upper case letter in the corn. I did ask her to name each letter as we went through, so I could keep track of the letters she wasn’t able to name by sight. I kept those cards separate after she traced them so I could plan some other activities with those specific letters to help her identify them going forward.
If you are interested in another activity using the corn kernels after tracing, we’ve done a pretty neat kitchen science experiment for a previous theme called Dancing Corn. We detailed the process in this post, if you want to try to make corn dance with your little one(s).
Pumpkin Pie anyone? We worked on those early math skills again with this adorable subitizing activity from My Happy Place. While we have been doing roll and cover activities for awhile now, this Roll-a-Pie activity required Grace to roll for two separate parts at one time, the pie pieces and the whipped cream, adding in a tad more difficulty. Additionally, Grace had to use tweezers to place the cotton balls (whipped cream) once she rolled a complete pie, exercising those fine motor skills.
Game play was straightforward. First, she had to roll a six sided die, count the dots, then place that amount of pie pieces on the table. She continued rolling until she completed the pie. Once the pie was complete, she rolled the die again to see how many dollops of whipped cream (cotton balls) she could add to her pie with tweezers. Once each slice had whipped cream, she was finished. This game was played multiple times per day, that’s how much Grace enjoyed this activity. We even added in a little bit of pretend play. Once Grace completed her pie, she would serve up a slice to her Daddy and I as well, and we would eat the entire pie so she could make a new pumpkin pie all over again.
Grace made turkey tracks for our next Thanksgiving activity. Using a pipe cleaner, I made a Turkey foot by folding the pipe cleaner into 3 U shapes and pressing them together. I attached a second pipe cleaner to the foot and threaded it through a straw, wrapping it around the top to make the turkey’s leg, and to make a sturdy handle for Grace to hold. I set out a plate of orange paint, and using the turkey foot, Grace stamped tracks onto a piece of card stock.
This activity didn’t take long to do, but was fun never the less, and anything with paint, Grace adores.
Our last Thanksgiving activity involved play dough, googly eyes, and LOTS of feathers. I put together a simple play dough tray using a party tray I picked up at a local dollar store several years ago. I filled it with feathers, googly eyes, and of course play dough. I even put an example of a turkey made from the parts in the center for Grace to view. And let me tell you, she got busy.
Grace’s turkey creations were nothing like the example I gave her. To my surprise she made all sorts of different turkeys from the supplies in the tray. Some with feet, some with arms, and even one with a belly button. Play dough is always a huge hit with Grace, and I especially love the creativity and imagination play dough sparks.
We gobbled till we wobbled through this entire theme! You may have noticed, this post published before Thanksgiving 2021. We got a head start on all of the fun so we could focus on spending time together, and with family & friends. If you want to see how our Thankful Tree Activity turns out on Thanksgiving Day, we will be posting to our socials (links below). Look for a Christmas theme coming the first part of December!