Preschool Playdate: Thanksgiving

Preschool Playdate: November 19, 2015
Theme to introduce the concepts of Thanksgiving + Native American Month

— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme: We used the two Native American books pictured below to show the children how the continent of North America was populated before the arrival of European settlers, and to show them visually the rich culture that already existed here.
— Storytime: The Sweet Pea Kids presented a Thanksgiving Story play


Here are the books we used to introduse the topic, and I am also sharing pictures of the pages that state the concept I was trying to get across to the children: the Europeans did not “discover” the Americas. There was already a rich, vibrant, and established culture that existed here.  If one child will remember that and speak up when American colonization is taught in public school, then today’s mission will be accomplished.

I read the pages shown below, and then turned through the pages of The Very First Americans so the children could compare and contrast the ways of the Native Americans to the things we do today.







Today’s activity reincorced fine motor skills as well as letter recognition. You can print your own copy of this activity page HERE.  The only modification I am going to make is to print the letters along the bottom row upside down on the clothespin so that they are “right side up” when the page is completer.

Level 1: pull out letters from child’s name or vowels

Level 2: all the letters of the alphabet


Using corn kernels and fall/holiday shapes – more fine motor skills on this activity!

Level 1: parent orders the numbers and helps child count out the correct number of corn kernels for each card

Level 2: child orders the cards and counts the kernels. Parent can choose how many numbers 1-3, 1-5, etc. numbers 1-10 available

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My mom sent me these “popcorns” from their community garden project in Illinois called the Manhattan Friendship Garden.  One of the Thanksgiving stories we have read this school year talked about the Native Americans sharing popcorn with the European settlers, so this was a perfect share for playdate!

The corn is about 6-7 inches long, and it makes about the same amount of popcorn as 1/3 cup conventional kernels that we use in our Whirly-Pop.



ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take

We used craft paper and stickers that I bought on sale last year for this craft.  The idea is that the Sweet Peas can write one thing they are thankful for on a daily basis: one gratitude per branch until Thanksgiving.  On the holiday, they can share all their thankful statements with the family.


Thankful Tree – I modified THIS line drawing

We finish this Preschool Playdate with a play prepared by all of the children.  Puma and Busy Bee wrote the play; Puma did the costuming, and as time ran short, they told me what they wanted for props and I helped out.  They did a great job of modifying the Thanksgiving Story Book for our guests – it ended up being an 8-minute play.


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All in all, it was a fun playdate with a little more emphasis on history than we usually do.  I hope that you will have time to share some of these ideas with your family either before or after your Thanksgiving feast today.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours <3