Celebrating Thanksgiving with Twos

Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday to teach toddlers about. We wanted to avoid the “first thanksgiving” myth. There was a harvest feast in Plymouth in 1621, but there was also a great deal of bloodshed between the pilgrims and their neighbors, the Wampanoags. There are some things I just would rather avoid entirely than sugar coat.

Instead, we focused on the food and family and thankfulness aspect of the holiday. We had two great books: Give Thanks for Each Day and Thanks for Thanksgiving. I also made up a little piggyback song.

Thanksgiving Song (to the tune of Frere Jacques)
We are thankful, we are thankful.
Yes we are! Yes we are!
For our friends and family, for our friends and family;
Near and far, near and far.

My teaching partner had dire memories of uneaten feasts in past years, so I suggested that we do a lighter, kid-friendly menu. The parents didn’t need to bring anything in, so there were no hurt feelings when the kids refused to eat laboriously prepared stuff.

Thanksgiving Feast Menu

  • Turkey Sandwiches:
    • White bread, butterball turkey slices, cheese singles.
    • Cut into interesting shapes with metal cookie cutters. (We had trains and dinosaurs.)
  • Corn Puffs
  • Capri Sun No Sugar Added Apple Juice
  • Turkey Cookies Ala Betty Crocker
    • Bake shapes at home, decorate at home.
    • Let kids assemble the parts at the feast.
Nothing like the pictures from Betty Crocker!

There was something almost every child wanted to eat, and one of them ate his neighbor’s untouched turkey sandwich.  They all loved the puffed corn, which is a much safer food choice for little eaters than popcorn.

My teaching partner made adorable bonnets and hats for them to wear, but I don’t have any photos of those that don’t show the children’s happy faces. You’ll just have to take my word that it was a really wonderful Thanksgiving.


Circle Time Songs

Circle time or morning meeting is common in a lot of different classrooms. To make it more interesting, you can sing these piggyback songs with the kids. I learned them in a SEDOM Autism classroom, where they were posted with Boardmaker symbols on the walls, but Boardmaker is a luxury I can’t afford.

Greeting Song (sing for each student)
(to the tune of Frere Jacque)
Hello (student), hello (student)!
How are you? How are you?
We’re so glad to see you!
We’re so glad to see you!
Here at school! Here at school!

Days of the Week
(to the tune of The Addams Family)

Days of the week (clap, clap)
Days of the week (clap, clap)
Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week.

There’s Sunday and there’s Monday,
There’s Tuesday and there’s Wednesday.
There’s Thursday and there’s Friday.
And then there’s Saturday.

Days of the week (clap, clap)
Days of the week (clap, clap)
Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week.

Weather Song
(to the tune of Clementine)

What’s the weather, what’s the weather,
What’s the weather everyone?
Is it rainy, is it cloudy?
Is there snow or is there sun?

Season Song
(to the tune of This Old Man)

Winter, spring, summer, fall.
There are seasons four in all.
Weather changes.
Sun, and rain, and snow.
Leaves fall down and flowers grow.

Jump Jump (sung for each student at the end of the day)
(to the tune of B-I-N-G-O)
There were some friends at school today,
And one of them was (student)
Jump! Jump, (student)!
Jump! Jump, (student)!
Jump! Jump, (student)!
We’re glad you came today!
Update: Dr. Jean seems to be the source of many of these songs, so I want to give her credit. She’s a wonderful resource for early childhood teachers.