This Thanksgiving themed storytime consists of a storytime buddy chat with stuffed turkey, four books, two songs with movements, and an adorable paper plate turkey craft.
Storytime Buddies: Mr. & Mrs. Turkey
Before we began, I asked the kids if they knew any special days that may be coming up (of course they did, though they were a bit more excited about Christmas). We discussed what we do on Thanksgiving then I asked them if they've seen any turkeys running around. That's when I brought out our storytime buddies, Mr. and Mrs. Turkey. We talked about some of their physical features that made them different from chickens. This helped us when choosing pieces for our craft later.
Thanksgiving Reading Suggestion
Turkey Trouble (Wendi Silvano)
It's time for Thanksgiving, but Turkey has a problem. To avoid being the main course this Thanksgiving, Turkey tries out a number of disguises before he finds one that is just right.
'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving (Dav Pilkey)
This story follows the same rhyme and rhythm as the classic 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. A group of kids take a field trip to a turkey farm, where they meet Farmer Mack Nugget (I call him Chicken McNugget to make the kids laugh) and eight friendly turkeys. There is a bit of a scary part where they find an ax and the farmer tells them that the turkeys will be chopped up for Thanksgiving feast, but the kids then comically save the turkeys by stuffing them in their shirts. This one is very fun to read.
Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving (Kimberly & James Dean)
Teaching about the first Thanksgiving always makes me feel a bit hesitant, but this Pete the Cat story gives just the right amount of facts while keeping things appropriate for children. We get to see Pete starring in a Thanksgiving play, where he delivers different facts about the pilgrimage to North America. the difficulties faced by the pilgrims, and how the Native Americans helped them through these hard times.
The Firefighters' Thanksgiving (Maribeth Boelts)
This is a serious book, but the children's reaction was so heartwarming. It's Thanksgiving but the firefighters have to work, so they try to put together a feast at the station. They keep getting interrupted by calls and one of the firefighters gets injured. Worried about their friend in the hospital, the firefighters are unable to fix their feast, so the community steps in and brings them warm food. They celebrate by bringing the feast to the hospital.
The kids were leaning in and asking questions throughout the story. When it was over, they wanted to read it again. They were surprised that some people still have to work on Thanksgiving and they showed genuine concern for the injured firefighter. We talked about how a small gesture like bringing warm food made a huge impact on their day. If your kids can handle a story that's a bit emotional, I recommend this one 110%.
Thanksgiving Songs & Dances
The Turkey Pokey
(Tune: Hokey Pokey)
You put your right wing in,
You put your right wing out,
You put your right wing in,
And you shake it all about,
You do the Turkey Pokey
and you turn yourself around,
That's what it's all about!
Additional Verses: Left wing, Drumstick (leg), Waddle (neck), Stuffing (tummy)
If You're Thankful & You Know It
(Tune: If You're Happy & You Know It)
If you're thankful & you know it clap your hands! (x2)
If you're thankful & you know it, then you really ought to show it,
If you're thankful & you know it clap your hands!
Additional Verses: Stomp your feet, Shout hooray!
Craft: Candy Corn Paper Plate Turkeys
The pieces for these adorable turkeys came in a ready-made peel-and-stick pack from Oriental Trading!
Of course you can make your own version, but this can be time consuming. I loved that we didn't need any glue!
I had the kids take out all the pieces in their baggies and we put our turkeys together one piece at the time. They all held their piece in the air, we peeled the sticker, then I demonstrated how to place them. They loved the finished product and couldn't wait to show their parents!