Pre-K & Preschool theme ideas for Thanksgiving
Check here for a complete list of Books about Thanksgiving!
Native American Thanksgiving Rhyme
(If you are in a non-religious school, you can eliminate the first and last lines.)
Thank you, God the Father (Fold hands in prayer)
Thank you, for the sunshine (Stretch arms overhead in circle)
Thank you, for the rain (Move fingers down)
Thank you, for things that grow (Move hands up)
Thank you, for good food to eat (Make circle around tummy)
Thank you, for families that love us. (Cross arms over chest)
Thank you, God the Father. (Same as first)
- Thanksgiving Songs at Preschool Education
- Thanks A Lot, by Raffi (Download on iTunes)
Look for the Turkey Grid Games on the Grid Games page for math.
Look for the Turkey Bingo game on the Bingo Games page.
Cherry Pie Play Dough Mat
Turkey Shape Paper: Use in the writing center or to make shape books.
Turkey Letter Sound Match
Have children cut out pictures of their favorite foods and glue them on a paper plate. Grocery store sale papers from the newspaper can be used for pictures (or print out clipart).
Coffee Filter Turkeys
Cut a coffee filter in half and have children paint it with watercolors. Cut out a turkey’s body from brown paper (a sort of gourd shape) and let the children glue it on. Have them draw eyes and a beak.
Pie Pan Art
Cut paper circles the same size to fit in a disposable pie pan. Place marbles in tempera paint. Have the children place the marbles in the pie pan (one at a time) and roll it around to paint the paper.
Cut fabric into squares of about 12×12 inches using pinking shears. You can buy inexpensive fabric from the clearance area or ask parents to donate scraps. Have the children paint foam craft stamps with fabric paint and stamp it on the fabric. They can also paint designs directly onto the fabric. These can be used in a classroom Thanksgiving celebration or at home for Thanksgiving dinner.
Giving Thanks Class Book
Ask children to think of things they are thankful for, and illustrate it on a sheet of paper. Each child’s page would read: “_____ is thankful for _____.” Example: “Nash is thankful for friends.” To make our class books, I use “presentation book covers” from an office supply store or Walmart. It has a sturdy plastic cover with a clear insert, and the pages are also clear inserts. I just slip in a page for the front cover, and slip in the children’s pages inside. These can be reused.
Pie Pan Writing
Place orange tempera paint or fingerpaint in a disposable pie pan. Use enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Have the children use their finger to practice writing letters in the paint. You can also use pudding instead of paint (color vanilla pudding orange to look like pumpkin pie).
This is an activity that goes with any theme. Choose a book that goes with the theme, and have the children retell the story.
Read the blog post here for details: story retelling
Number Flip Book
To make a flip book, fold a piece of paper over hotdog style, cut four flaps (cut four slits into one side of the paper), and write numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 on the flaps. Children put the correct number of Thanksgiving stickers under each flap.
Use the play food from your House Center. Write numbers on disposable plates. Have the children identify the numeral and count out that amount of foods to place on the plate.
Gourd Science Center
Read the blog post here: Gourd Science
Ingredients for one serving:
Mini graham cracker crust
3 spoonfuls of vanilla pudding
1 spoonful of canned pumpkin
1 spoonful of whipped topping
Directions: Stir the vanilla pudding and canned pumpkin together. Spoon the mixture into the mini pie crust. Top with whipped topping.
(I also have this cooking activity listed with the Halloween/Pumpkin theme. Depending on the year, I may do this activity in either theme, but not both.)
One year, we made our Pumpkin Pies during Halloween, and made Apple Pies at Thanksgiving. To see how to make these, read the blog post on making apple pie.
Turkey Flat Bread Roll Up
Spreadable cheese (Cheese Whiz, Velveeta, or spreadable cream cheese)
Deli turkey slices
Spread the cheese on a small piece of flat bread, place a slice of deli turkey on top, and roll it up. Popsicle sticks can be used for spreaders.
In the House Center, add a Thanksgiving tablecloth, Thanksgiving placemats, and a vase of autumn flowers.
Sensory Table: Pie Crust Dough
At Large Group time, mix different consistencies of flour and water mixtures (similar to pie crust dough). Make 3-4 bowls using varying amounts of flour and water. Place the bowls in the sensory table, and allow children to explore and feel the difference of the consistencies. Another idea is to place a cup of flour, cup of water, bowl, and spoon in the sensory table, and let the children choose how much of each substance to add to their bowl and stir.
Play Dough Thanksgiving Dinner
Place plates, bowls, pie pans, cookie sheets, and similar items in the play dough area for children to pretend to make a Thanksgiving dinner using play dough to make their pretend foods.
Packets Available on “Teachers Pay Teachers”