Thanksgiving Activity Ideas For Preschool
We do a Friendship Soup at Thanksgiving time as we talk about how the Pilgrims and Indians worked together to celebrate their first year together. Each family in our class sign up for one thing to put in the soup (ie. potatoes, carrots, beans, barley). In the morning during group time, we put all of the ingredients in the crockpot and cook the soup while the children play and at snack time we eat the Friendship Soup that everyone helped make.
We have also made it a school project by getting all of the classes involved: Toddlers make butter, one class makes bread to put the butter on and another class makes the soup. Then we sit down together to eat our meal.
You can easily turn it into a family event and invite the parents at noon and have the tables decorated with the children’s artwork.
Cut out a turkey body. Cut out a feather shape for each child large enough to write a message on. Let the child write what they are thankful for on the feather and then attach the feathers to the back of the turkey. This makes a very nice bulletin board decoration. When Thanksgiving is over the children can take the feathers home.
Have children bring a photo of each member of their family. The child can glue the photos on orange, yellow or brown construction paper. Also, add turkey stickers, or other Thanksgiving-related stickers. Then cover the paper with Contact paper and the child has their own Thanksgiving Placement.
I put a cornucopia and several pieces of real fruits and vegetables in a tub with magnifying lenses. The children can play with the cornucopia by filling it with the foods. They can examine the foods with the lenses. We talk about the colors, textures, smells.
Paper Plates and Food cut out from magazines
Let children glue food onto paper plates. Any food items from magazines are appropriate because not everyone has turkey!
While working on my E.C.E. degree, the four-year-old class and I worked on this wonderful Thanksgiving turkey centerpiece for our Thanksgiving feast. You will need brown paint, paper plates, various colors of construction paper, and empty paper towel tubes. Paint the paper plates brown. While they are drying, cut 6 feathers from the different color pieces of construction paper. Cut out the turkeys head from brown paper and the “waddle” from red paper. Once the turkey’s body has dried, glue the feathers onto the inside of one of the plates. Glue or staple the paper plates together. Take and cut about a 2-inch piece of the paper towel tube to make a holder. ( You can either paint this brown or paste brown paper around it. ) Take and cut a slit down 2 sides of the tube about 1/2 inch long. Insert the bottom of the turkey into the slits. These made great centerpieces for the kids to take home with them for their Thanksgiving table.
Thanksgiving is a holiday in which many stereotypes of Native Americans are unconsciously perpetuated…There are times throughout the year in which Native Americans can be talked about, and the contributions can be emphasized. A book called GIVING THANKS written by native authors is wonderful.
Give each child a lunch bag (brown), paper plate, green construction paper, hole puncher, orange construction paper, pre-cut turkey legs and brown yarn. Have the children stuff their brown paper lunch bag with crumpled newspaper. Tie with yarn. Hole punch green construction paper for peas, tear or cut orange construction paper for carrots. Glue turkey legs on side of brown paper bag. Glue bag, peas, and carrots on the paper plate.
One event that we hold each year is a Thanksgiving day feast. The children make invitations to take home to their family to attend the feast. The children also make homemade noodles for the chicken noodle soup that we serve the parents. We offer the feast around noon so that a lot of parents are on their lunch break at work and can attend the feast. The children make place settings for the parents and help serve the food. It brings everyone together and is really an enjoyable event. It has become a tradition at our center and everyone always looks forward to the feast.
Have different types of nuts (in shells) in a pile in front of you. Ask several children come to the pile and find all of the nuts that look the same. Sort them into pie pans. Once all of the nuts are sorted, have the children carry the pie pans to the water table for further sorting fun!
Thanksgiving Foods: Before and After
Find pictures in magazines of foods before and after they are prepared. For example fresh cranberries and cranberry sauce, raw carrots and cooked carrots, raw potatoes and mashed potatoes, raw yams and candied yams. Glue each picture to a piece of felt. Show the children all of the pictures. Place one of the ‘before’ foods up on your flannel board. Have someone find that food ‘after’ if has been prepared. Have the child place it up on the flannel board Continue matching the before and after foods.