Thanksgiving Curriculum Ideas

I go to the local feed store and buy a 50-pound bag of corn feed to put in our water/sand table for our 2 & 3 year olds. They love the different texture and smell of the corn.

My class does a Thanksgiving booklet entitled “I am Thankful for All These Things” The children are the illustrators of the book. First page- My Family, children glue a picture of their family and sponge print a heart near it. Second page- My Home, children connect the dots I have made of a triangle and square to make a house, then they color it in. third page-My Senses, children glue features on a face( wiggly eyes, cotton ball, yarn, macaroni) Fourth page- My Trees and Flowers, children glue a tree trunk out of construction paper to page and glue tissue paper for the leaves and then draw flower stem and either tissue paper the petals or draw them. (pom poms can be used also) Fifth page-My Food, children cut their favorite foods out of magazines and glue that to the page. Sixth page- My Friends, children cut out a traced paper chain of two children holding hands and glue that to page. (make it simple, just head hands and legs) not only does this booklet reinforce basic motor skills but teaches children about things they are thankful for. Also you can tie this into a theme about Authors and Illustrators. I know my children were really excited to be called illustrators after this activity.

This summer we planted a few mini pumpkin plants in our garden. The kids were fascinated watching them grow daily, and they are very hardy and easy to grow. We used them for a variety of things for 3 different themes: Fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. We’ve painted them, did stamping, played games, counted sorted by size the possibilities have been endless!

This year we are doing something new for Thanksgiving. During the week of Thanksgiving we will be having a friendly feast. It will take place during lunch hour since parents these days have such a hard time finding time I realized they all had an hour at lunch! invitations will be sent out and each parent will join us for a lunch( probably chicken ) and each child will bring something from home to contribute. During the lunch the children will be performing some fall songs and a Thanksgiving poem.

We built an Indian Tee Pee in our dramatic play area this year for exploration of how the Indians who feasted with the Pilgrims actually lived. Using 5 seven foot poles (an inch and 1/2 around) held together at the top with thin rope and duct tape, we wrapped the shell in old white blankets. The structure is sturdy, with about 23 square feet inside. (Next year we’ll use 8 feet poles for an even larger Teepee. Then the fun really began. I filled baskets with Indian Corn, gourds and feathers and placed them inside and around the tent. I made a little pumpkin patch with mini pumpkins off to one side. With blocks, we made a campfire area and filled it with rolled newspapers painted orange, red and yellow. We painted the outside of the Teepee together. Activities that we enjoy with this theme; making Indian jewelry with fall colored pasta, making Indian clothes with tea stained T-shirts that the kids get to paint, playing with clay and shaping quick dry play dough into bowls and platters, filling the sensory table with ears of corn to touch and handle while we learn about how important corn was to the Indians. They get to clean it and we cook it for lunch! Of course we make headbands, painting with with Indian corn, mini pumpkins and feathers. We pop popcorn and glue it to paper corn cobs of various colors. The blank spots make it look more like Indian corn. We pop Indian corn in the microwave-place in brown paper bag, and include a small bowl of water to keep the bag moist. It really pops! We did Indian face painting, planted popcorn seeds with fish fertilizer to honor Squanto, and made acorn totem poles. The list goes on and on. And the kids have no shortage of ideas for their own child directed play. This is a big, big hit!

I wanted to do something to celebrate Thanksgiving but I realized that all the cute craft projects did not follow the High/Scope approach so I decided to let my kids create a Tee-Pee. First we taped two long sections of brown bulletin board paper together. Then we put this down on the floor in the art area. We supplied the children with patterned paint rollers, brushes, sponges and tempera paint. I had previously read a Thanksgiving story to them and we had discussed the pilgrims and the Indians etc. Once the children were through painting their Indian mural we set it aside to dry. The next day I set up the frame that my husband created for me out of pvc pipe and we wrapped the painted paper around it. We then cut a whole for the door and moved it over to the block area. The children are having a blast pretending to be Indians. We have also added some pottery type dishes and some Indian costumes.

Share an idea you have used in your classroom or at home that pertains to this theme.