It’s TURKEY TIME! Thanksgiving is filled with family, friends, food and traditions. What do all these things have in common? Socialization! Thanksgiving Day and the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving provide us with wonderful natural language and social learning opportunities. We want to start helping you prepare your child for Thanksgiving now. The more familiar they are with Thanksgiving and the people that they will see, the more likely they will want to participate and interact with others on the actual day. The more they participate and interact with others on the actual day, the more they will create positive memories and associations with Thanksgiving, which will help them be excited and prepared for next year and also for other special events. This will lead to more friendships, meaningful relationships, a sense of belonging and prideful traditions. Here are a few simple ideas to start next week:
Start reading Thanksgiving related books with your child.
Preschoolers: Some preschoolers may not be ready for a true story book....it may be difficult for them to sit and/or attend to a book. So when you are reading the books, focus on describing the pictures in the book rather than reading the story word for word. If your child is ready for the story, then make it very simple. Focus on 1 to 3 words when reading/talking about the book. The goal is to familiarize them with Thanksgiving related vocabulary such as: turkeys, family members, different foods, etc. Here are a few fun books to read for preschoolers:
“The First Thanksgiving” by Nancy Davis
“Five Silly Turkeys” by Salina Yoon
“Happy Thanksgiving, Biscuit” by Alyssa Capucilli
“Corduroy’s Thanksgiving” by Lisa McCue
Kindergarten through second grade: For these kids you want to look for books that describe the sequencing of events on actual Thanksgiving Day as well as the orientation and history of Thanksgiving (books that describe pilgrims and Indians). Here are a few good books to read:
“The Night Before Thanksgiving” by Natasha Wing
“What Is Thanksgiving?” by Harriet Ziefert
“Thanksgiving is Here!” by Diane Goode
“The First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story” by Laura Krauss Melmed
“Thanksgiving Day” by Anne Rockwell
Third grade and up: With this group of children you may want to focus on finding chapter books about Thanksgiving. A good idea is to read a chapter a night and then have them do an activity related to the chapter like: drawing a picture, writing a summary, creating their own story, creating their own chapter to what they think will happen next, etc. Here are a couple good books to read:
“Thanksgiving on Thursday (Magic Tree House Series #27) by Mary Osborne
“Pilgrims: A Nonfiction Companion to Thanksgiving on Thursday (Magic Tree House Research Guide Series) by Mary Osborne
“Thanksgiving Turkey Trouble” (Ready, Freddy! Series #15) by Abby Klein
“Nate the Great Talks Turkey” (Nate the Great Series) by Marjorie Sharmat
“Thanksgiving Thief” (Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew Series #16 (by Carolyn Keene)
Preschoolers: A great way to increase your child’s understanding about Thanksgiving is through art. You can find tons of free printable pages at the following websites:
Print off coloring pages and spend the week coloring, painting and more. When you are done with your artwork, your child can make a book about Thanksgiving or you can tape their art around the house. This will create another social language opportunity for when you walk through the hallway: “Turkey!” “Look a Turkey!” etc.
Kindergarten through second grade: Thanksgiving related worksheets! You can find a variety of crossword puzzles, math worksheets, mazes, word searches, word scrambles and much more at:
These worksheets are a fun way to work on academics and celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time. Aim for one fun Thanksgiving worksheet a day.
Third grade and up: In addition to worksheets, the following website has some fun interactive games (word searches, crosswords puzzles) and ideas for Thanksgiving related writing activities and reading comprehension activities that your child can do alone or with a family member or friend. They are broken down by difficulty level:
Start preparing your child for Thanksgiving now and they will get the most successful and positive experience on November 25 and during all the fun events leading up to the big day! Enjoy!
~Amanda & Laura