We started out with the book All About Turkeys.
There were parts I had to skim over because they were too long and too detailed, but we learned some fun things, like some male turkeys have a long hairy beard hanging off their chests, and that turkeys change colors when they get angry. Who knew turkeys were so interesting?
Next we read the section from the book Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn that talked about turkeys and why we eat them for Thanksgiving.
This was too much for Alex. It was just two pages, but he was lost. Too many words and descriptions of things we haven't talked about yet, like Pilgrims and Native Americans. This would all probably have made more sense at the end of the week after we've talked about it all. But for older kids, this book has lots of good info about Thanksgiving symbols.
Next we read Sometimes It's Turkey, Sometimes It's Feathers.
I have no idea why the book is called that. It's a terrible title that does nothing to tell you what the book's about. But it's a cute story about a little old lady who raises a turkey from an egg for Thanksgiving dinner, but then instead of eating him, she invites him to dinner. It's a bit pointless, but the kids liked it enough to have me read it a few times.
But talking about reading things a few times, our next activity has been repeated over and over and over and over again. In our preschool book there is a story about a turkey who can't keep his temper and is constantly causing himself to change a rainbow of different colors (which makes a whole lot more sense once you know turkeys change colors when they get mad!!). I printed out a bunch of turkeys and colored them the different colors from the story and then had a bunch of colored feathers to stick on the tail of the brown turkey since every time the turkey changes back to brown he keeps a tail feather of the color he turned. So while reading the story I held up the appropriately colored turkey and let Alex tape on the colored feathers onto the brown turkey. I thought the story was a bit goofy, but the kids love it. Now I just read the story and they hold up the turkeys and act out the story.
But after doing it twice during school, I put a stop to it so we could do art. We made hand print turkeys. I used a paintbrush to put tempera paint on Alex's hand in the shape of a turkey. Fingers are feathers and palm is body and thumb is head.
Then he used his fingers again to add more feathers and a waddle and a beard (he loves turkey beards now!) and legs and so on. This was super fun and not too messy and didn't take too long.
And best of all, Alex loved it.
There were a bunch of other books I tried to get from the library, but I guess three weeks before Thanksgiving isn't early enough to get the good books. But it you search "turkey" on Amazon, you'll find a bunch of really popular ones that we weren't able to use. We did get A Plump and Perky Turkey after the fact and the kids have enjoyed it.
Day 2: Native Americans
I had a really hard time finding books at the library for today's topic. There were plenty of books on specific Native American tribes, but they were far above preschool level. I just wanted a basic, easy book that was an intro to Native Americans, but I couldn't find one. So we were a little short on resources.
We started by reading the intro to the book More Than Moccasins.
It was the shortest, kid-friendly description I could find in the books I had. We talked about who the Native Americans are and where they came from, etc.
Then we read the book Giving Thanks.
This was the perfect book for talking about Native Americans and Thanksgiving. It's a traditional Iroquois prayer of thanks, written and illustrated by Native Americans. The pictures are beautiful.
Then we looked through More Than Moccasins and I let Alex pick a few crafts he wanted to make. We decided on a headband, vest, and drum. We used stuff we had around the house, and Alex colored and decorated to his heart's content. The finished product:
I even put corn in the drum to make it a shaker drum.
Later for a snack we made Native American corn cakes. We got the recipe from our preschool book. They weren't sweet like corn bread, just corn meal, flour, egg, milk, etc. We cooked them like pancakes and spread butter and jam on them. Pretty tasty!
Day 3: Pilgrims and Thanksgiving
Again I had a hard time finding good preschool level books that talked about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower and all that. We ended up slogging our way through The Thanksgiving Story.
This was way too much for a preschooler, but we had Ella with us, so we made it work. When the book talked about where the Mayflower left from (England) and where they landed (Massachusetts) we moved over to the map and found the locations on there. Then we stuck up a string leading from one to the other and a little picture of a boat that I drew so we could see on the map where they had gone.
Then we sang the song "For Health and Strength" in a round. Alex wanted to listen to it over and over again.
Next the kids helped the Mayflower find its way to America in this maze.
Then to finish off we read the book Thanks For Thanksgiving.
After reading it we talked about things we are thankful for. The kids have been really thankful for unicorns the last few days. They're crazy. :)
And that ends our Thanksgiving week. Sorry I didn't get it up sooner so it could be of more use this year.