Preschool Thanksgiving Theme

See also Turkey Theme

Basic Understandings

1. Thanksgiving is a celebration of the end of the harvest.
2. In the fall, some of the fruits and vegetables harvested include pumpkins, apples, and nuts.
3. Families celebrate the end of the harvest with a special Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner usually includes a roasted turkey and pumpkin pie.
4. In pioneer days, Native families and pioneer families sometimes celebrated together sharing food they harvested.

Book List

A Turkey For Thanksgiving - Eve Bunting
A Visit to Grandma's - Nancy Carlson
Albert's Thanksgiving - Leslie Tryon
Arthur's Thanksgiving - Marc Brown
Autumn Harvest - Alvin Tresselt
Barney's Thanksgiving - Stephen White
Bring In The Pumpkins - D. Ipcar
Clifford's Thanksgiving Visit - Norman Bridwell
Daisy's Crazy Thanksgiving - Margery Cuyler
Farmer Goff And His Turky Sam - Brian Schatell
Friendship's First Thanksgiving - William Accorsi
Granny And The Indians - Peggy Parish
Happy Thanksgiving, Biscuit! - Alyssa Satin Capucilli
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie - Alison Jackson
Little Bear's Thanksgiving - Janice
Oh What a Thanksgiving - Steven Kroll
One Tough Turkey: A Thanksgiving Story - Steven Kroll
Snapping Turtle's All Wrong Day - Peggy Parish
Sometimes It's Turkey, Sometimes It's Feathers
Squash Pie - W. Gage
Thanksgiving Day at Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young - Nancy White Carlstrom
Thanksgiving At Our House - Wendy Watson
Thanksgiving Cats - Jean Marzollo
Thanksgiving Day - Gail Gibbons
Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks - Margaret Sutherland
The Best Thanksgiving Ever - Nancy Inteli
The First Thanksgiving - Linda Hayward
The Story of Thanksgiving - Nancy J. Skarmeas
The Story of the First Thanksgiving - Elaine Raphael
The Story of the Pilgrims - Katherine K. Ross
The Thanksgiving Story - Alice Dalgliesh
The Turkey Who Came to Dinner - Kitty Richards
'Twas the Night before Thanksgiving - Dav Pilkey
What Is Thanksgiving - Harriet Ziefert

Songs & Fingerplays

Turkey Dinner - sung to "Are you sleeping?"

Turkey Dinner, Turkey Dinner
Gather Round, Gather Round
who will get the drumstick?
The Yummy yummy drumstick
all sit down, all sit down
Cornbread muffins, chestnut stuffing, puddin pie
One foot High
We were so much thinner
before we came to dinner
me oh my! me on my!

~Submitted by Lisa in MI

A Thanksgiving Poem - (based on a poem written by Craig Sathoff)

With each Thanksgiving dinner
There's a thought of yesterday
Of Indians helping Pilgrims
To get the feasting underway.

Of course, there's roast turkey
And baked sweet potatoes too,
Succotash from corn and beans
And cranberries sweetly stewed.

With each Thanksgiving dinner
Family and friends bow and pray,
Thankful for our America
Both now and yesterday.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Thank you, Thank you; This We Say - sung to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"

Thank you for the earth and sky.
(Form circle with fingertips; then point to sky)
Thank you for the bids that fly.
(Flap arms)
Thank you for the food we grow.
(Cup hands together; then slide one arm upward as if to grow)
Thank you for the streams that flow
(Flutter fingers as hands move to side)
Thanks you, thank you; this we say:
(Point to lips.)
Thanks for all we have today!
(Spread arms out wide.)

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Goodbye, Pumpkin Pie! by Howard D. Fencl
(Courtesy of

Year after year after year I go crazy!
Every Thanksgiving I sit with the babies!
It's the little kids' table - the table for tots,
Where my mom makes me sit if I like it or not.

The table for grown-ups is fit for a king,
With goblets and giblets and gold napkin rings;
And bread rolls and salad and dressing with drippings,
One glass just for drinking and one just for sipping!

But here all the kids drink from styrofoam cups,
We eat small turkey bits that our moms have cut up.
Our plates are red plastic and so are the spoons,
And we eat by ourselves in a small dining room.

I have dozens of cousins age one and age two,
Whose Thanksgiving feast is a greenish-brown goo.
They slop up their faces with vegetable mashes,
And after they drink they have milk mustaches.

They urp, and they burp, and they belch, and they gulp;
Oh, why can't I sit at the feast for adults?
All the mooshing and mashing and smooshing and gnashing!
I put down my fork and I thought about fasting!

I'd never eat turkey again in my life!
Never pick up a fork - never pick up a knife!
I'd fast like a mountain-top Indian swami,
I wouldn't touch mustard or bread or salami!

"I'll never eat mushrooms or green beans or squid!
And I NEVER will eat at the table for kids!"
What's wrong?" asked my mom - she was pouring some drinks;
"You haven't touched dinner... not one single thing!"

She straightened the napkin tucked under my chin,
She gave me a hug as she pushed my chair in;
She cut up my turkey bits two sizes smaller,
She held up my glass - "Have a sip of some water!"

She dished up a spoon of potatoes and gravy,
My mom tried to feed me like I was a baby!
Well, my face turned as red as the rhubarb pie filling,
I quick turned away and my cup went a-spilling!

BOOSH! Water splashed on mom's face and her hair,
And it looked like some gravy was mixed up in there.
Because polka dots spotted my mom's bright white dress,
Her Thanksgiving suit was a gravy-brown mess!

I should've said "Sorry!", I should've said "Oops!"
I should've helped mom wipe the gravy-brown goop.
What happened instead is a mystery, my friends,
But there's one thing for sure - I won't do it again!

I opened my mouth - Do you know what I did?
I sassed my mom back like a spoiled snotty kid.
"I can use my own fork! I can use my own knife!"
"And I don't want to sit at the table for tikes!"

"I can't stand all the gunk! I can't stand all the gak!"
"I won't watch little Timothy eating like that!"
"He's got yams in his hair - he's got yams North and South,
"And there's food everywhere but inside his mouth!"

"Then there's Sarah and Icky and Jimmy and Franz,
"Mixing peas in their milk - eating with their bare hands
"This is NOT what the Pilgrims and Indians did,

Then mom said, "I think your Thanksgiving's all through,
"And I think that it's time you go up to your room."
In my ROOM?!" my brain thought, this just couldn't be true!
In my ROOM?! - Why, WHY, WHY?? What on earth did I do??

My tummy got grumbly, my feet got stumbly,
I wanted to shout, but my mouth was all mumbly.
I walked past the turkey, the dressing and trimmings,
My feast was now ending before its beginning.

"Goodbye, pumpkin pie!" I said as I walked by it,
"So long, green bean bake!" - though I never would try it.
"Farewell, acorn squash and potatoes au gratin!
"Ta-ta, apple tart with your whip-creamy topping!"

I sat all alone on my bed feeling hungry,
It felt like I had a stone knot in my tummy.
I could still hear the forks and the knives and the spoons,
Clacking and clinking and scraping up food.

My sniffer sniffed smells drifting up from afar,
And on Thanksgiving Day I was sure I would starve!
So I played with my toys - then I sang a few numbers,
I stood on my head to get rid of this hunger.

Then somersaults, push-ups, I played tiddly-winks,
But Thanksgiving turkey was all I could think!
My belly growled out like a great grizzly bear,
And I knew pretty soon I'd need something down there!

Anything, ANYTHING! Liver or beets!
Even heaps of Hungarian pickled pigs' feet!
"I'll eat wood like a termite! Or flies like a frog!
"I'll chew catnip like kitties! Or shoes like a dog!"

I was just about ready to snack on my hat,
When I heard someone knocking - RAT-TAT-A-TAT-TAT!
It was mom with a plate piled high with a feast,
And it didn't seem that she was mad in the least.

She set up a TV tray right by my bed,
And she gave me a kiss on the top of my head.
"You're growing up fast," she said hiding a tear,
"Won't you join the adults for Thanksgiving next year?"

~Submitted by Kathy

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