Thanksgiving Spelling Activity For Kids

thanksgiving lesson Who says spelling lessons have to be boring and can’t have a theme? These spelling stones are a fun Thanksgiving craft and spelling activity rolled into one. Create a challenge by asking ” How many words can we make with the word Thanksgiving?” and use your child’s natural competitiveness as fuel for learning. The stones themselves are a great concrete manipulative that are a must for some learners and a nice novelty for others. I have had the idea for this for ages but making the stones seemed daunting. It took a few minutes and less than an hour later my son was playing and learning. Wish I’d done it sooner!

Gather your materials. You will need some stones ( dollar store! ) , multi-surface paint , a fine paint brush, clipboard, paper, and pencil.spelling stones

Start by writing out thanksgiving on the stones. I used all lowercase letters so they would be interchangeable. I also made a color pattern but that’s just because I think patterns are pretty. I used a shoebox lid for a workspace. These paints are not washable so I like to protect what I can. Also the kids did not help make these. spelling stones painting

Let dry. Ours took about 45 minutes to dry. Only one letter got damaged. If you are using these with a large group where they will be used a lot I would seal them but if it’s just in your home I wouldn’t bother.spelling stones ready to play

Lay out the stones. Explain the challenge. spelling stones for thanksgivingHow many words can be made with the letters in this word. spelling stones for first grade and kindergarten

What I love about using manipulatives to make words before writing them down is that when he was sounding out words he didn’t get frustrated if something didn’t seem right. He just replaced a stone with another. There was no erasing needed and for kids who have a deep desire for perfection that can be freeing.

Have your child write the word after making it with the stones. This is optional but I like adding in writing whenever I can. All my sneaking writing into things have really paid off. My son who struggled with it last year has made such progress in part because of a little here and a little there. Seeing the list grow and grow also encourages kids to keep trying to create more words.spelling stones words

This won’t be the last of these stones either… hang tight because in a few days I will have a totally different but totally fun activity using them again.

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Thanksgiving Books

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pete the cat thanksgiving

Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving by Kimberly and James Dean was underwhelming and I usually adore Pete The Cat. Sadly this book didn’t live up to my expectations. My daughter liked it but wondered when Pete was going to sing. He doesn’t. There are no catchy repetitive refrains which is what we love about Pete! My son pointed out the flaws in the history which thrilled me because they were distracting. The target audience is younger than my son so it may not even be an issue for you but seeing a pretty little house as the shelter the Pilgrims had for the first winter irked me. I realize that Pete is a cat who is in a play so realism isn’t expected but I’d be lying if I said I loved it. Pete is awfully cute as a pilgrim though.

thanks for thanksgiving

Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes delighted my whole family. I read it at dinner and all four of us thought the book was spot on. It’s not a story so much as a glimpse at all the things kids in a average family have to be thankful about. The illustrations by Doris Barrette are stunning. I want to frame them. I think this book does a great job at teaching children what they have to be thankful for and how everyday things can be something to be thankful for. Kids will relate so well to this book and because of that the message comes across loud and clear. My son loved that there is space on the last page to write what he is thankful for. Great find.

Turkey Feather Hunt { Gross Motor Game}

This easy Thanksgiving themed game has been lovingly named ” Naked Turkey” at our house . It is so fast to make but the fun will last for a long time. Kids love searching for things and games like this not only works on concentration it also naturally leads to counting, color recognition and sorting.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a clean jar, some orange or brown construction paper, some some, googly eyes , tape, markers and feathers.
  2. Start by cutting out a turkey torso. Think chubby bowling pin cut in half. Add a gobble, beak and glue on some eyes.
  3. Tape to the jar. I am taping it because I love these jam jars and plan on using it for something else after we are done with this game. As you can see my daughter was collaging scrap paper while I made it, or so I thought.
  4. Choose a spot in your house to hide the feathers. I do it in my living room because I can shut the doors and keep the kids out while I hide them. Also in a relatively small space a toddler won’t get overwhelmed. do what works for your kids. Can you see any feathers in this picture?
  5. Invite your feather finders and play! She loved this and so did my son after he got home from school ( but the light was even worse by then so no pics).
  6. After she found them all we counted them and sorted them by color, purple first of course!

Since making this on Friday we have played daily with no signs of getting tired of it. My son loves to be the hider and tried to stump my husband and I . I particularly love that the game isn’t too messy to play anytime no matter who is over for Thanksgiving dinner!

 

Thanksgiving Doodle Mats

My kids love dry erase activities and these mats were fast to make and they both enjoyed creating with them. They would be perfect for wiggly kids at the  Thanksgiving dinner table before pie is served or on the long road trip to Grandma’s .  With both the dinner plate and Mayflower scenes you can use different prompts and questions to extend the drawing. I have included suggestions below in the tutorial.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some inexpensive canvases or another hard board for a backing, some construction paper , double stick tape, scissors and contact paper. For the Thanksgiving dinner mat I used the plate and fork from Melissa & Doug’s Make-A-Meal Sticker Pad because it’s just so cute and we’d been playing with it earlier so it was fresh in my mind. 
  2. For the Mayflower mat start by cutting out a boat. I could have sworn I had brown paper but no, so I colored some white brown with a marker. Cut some sails, and land as well.
  3. Piece together and secure on a sheet of blue paper with double stick tape.
  4. Cover with contact paper.
  5. For the Thanksgiving dinner mat cut out the plate and fork and tape to a sheet of construction paper.
  6. Cover with contact paper.
  7. Time to create.  I handed my son the Mayflower one and asked a few questions . ” How do you think you would feel seeing land for the first time after such a long journey?” ” What would you pack if you were leaving your home forever?” ” How do you think the Native Americans felt when they saw the huge ship?”
  8. My daughter joined us and started creating her Thanksgiving dinner. I asked her ” What would you like for Thanksgiving?” I got a big old ” Candy!” as the response. She drew spaghetti and ice cream.  With older children you could divide the plate up and ask them to draw foods from each food group, draw a silly Thanksgiving with just their favorite foods or what they usually have at Thanksgiving and talk about traditions.
  9. They happily created and erased over and over. We use socks that can’t find their mates for erasers. 

 

I have had a hard time over them years finding Thanksgiving books that I felt were fun and educational. These books however fit the bill and are sure to work at your house too. Click through for full reviews of these books and a couple other Thanksgiving favorites.

Feather Color Match

feather color matchingMy daughter is a natural color matcher. Although you most often see her in her PJs my daughter is a stickler for matching accessories and can be heard saying ” It matches , look Mama dat toy matches me dress!” often.  I knew she would like this activity but I was still happily surprised by the concentration she showed while doing it .This activity not only for color recognitions it is great for both fine motor development and eye hand coordination too.We called it a turkey feather match since we’ve been talking a lot about turkeys and Thanksgiving but you could do this any time of year.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some styrafoam ,colored feathers,  permanent markers in colors that match your feathers. That’s it!
  2. Start by making dots on the styrafoam with the markers.
  3. Invite your best color matcher to do their thing! I showed her how to do the first one and then she was off!
  4. She pointed out extra dots that we had no feathers for. Luckily I hadn’t put all the feathers out and was able to get a few more for her to match. 
  5. And she did.

3D Hand Print Turkey Craft

I try to include my kids in as much of the brainstorming and decision making about what crafts we make , especially around holidays. When I suggested we make a Thanksgiving craft to give to his grandparents my son immediately suggested a hand print turkey. I knew exactly what I wanted to make and set it up. Both my almost 6 year old and 2 year old enjoyed this craft , I just helped them in different ways to make it appropriate for both of them.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper grocery bag ( construction paper is fine too) ,pencils, some crayons, glue, googly eyes, scissors , colored paper and adhesive foam dots. 
  2. Star by tracing your child’s hands. I traced my daughters and my son traced his own. Now we traced them 3 times and you can ( just make sure it’s the same hand) or you can just trace one and in step 4 simple layer other paper under to make multiples.
  3. Now color the hands. You can color them all or just one.
  4. Cut the hands out.
  5. While I cut my daughter played with her tea set and tea party place mats and my son grabbed another paper and wrote a Thanksgiving message.
  6. Now it’s time to glue the eyes on.
  7. Add the adhesive dots. Layer each hand print on top of the other with the colored one in front.
  8. Add to your backing of choice.
  9. Send away to some very proud grandparents!