Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Celebrating Families in Early Childhood Thanksgiving Festivities

Hi! I'm Ayn and I am a Ga. Pre-K teacher, serving 4 and 5 year olds in an inclusive setting. I share my classroom adventures on my blog, little illuminations.

Thanksgiving here in the U.S. is swiftly approaching. This week, we have had professional development and the rest of the week my class will be with my assistant and a sub while I'm am ever so busy in teacher heaven, I mean, at the 2012 NAEYC Annual Conference!!!!! Woot, woot, holla! (Sorry, got just a little excited there!) 

When I return, we only have one week before we are out for Thanksgiving break. There won't be time to do many of the fun things we usually do in Pre-K, but there are some things that are a big part of my Thanksgiving teaching traditions and I can't skip them! In Georgia Pre-K, one of our standards is that  students become aware of family and community celebrations and events, so that is the main thing we will be learning about and discussing in class. 

Family Homework Project-Save A Turkey!

I don't usually send home homework in Pre-K, but when I do, it is usually an activity that the family can do together, then share the results. The Turkey In Disguise family project is a favorite every year and I've heard a few families with older siblings may already be planning Tom's disguise for this year! I send home a turkey blackline master on cardstock and ask each family to help disguise the turkey so that he will be spared from Thanksgiving dinner. This would be fun as a family, too! Just print out your favorite turkey coloring page (there are thousands on the internet) and have each member disguise him any way they like!

Turkey Cooking Tips

Every year, I like to ask the kids to sit down with me one on one and tell me how their family prepares the turkey or thanksgiving dinner. If a family usually eats something else, I ask them to tell me about that. It's a great time for them to practice their language skills. I compile the answers and share them with the families at the school Thanksgiving Feast. While the are not accurate enough to use as an exact recipe, they make for EXCELLENT reading!

Talkin' Turkey

We are famous for our colloquialisms in the South. I can't tell you how many times one of the kids has come to school and repeated something they've heard a family member say, usually with a little of their own spin on it.  I like to give them part of the phrase and have THEM complete is for me. The answers are hilarious! Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to have the kids share their answers. I think it also gives a little insight into how a 4 year old brain thinks!

Making Butter 

We make butter using heavy whipping cream and our muscles. We pour it in a bowl pop in a marble and take turns shaking with all of our might! Usually the butter is ready by the time all 22 friends have had a turn to shake. We share the butter with our families at our school wide Family Feast.

Family Feast at School

Every year, our school administration cooks a large Thanksgiving feast and invites all the families to come in and eat with their children. It's a great time of food, fellowship and fun! (I usually don't get to take many pictures since my hands are usually full. The picture below is of the children waiting for their parents to join them so we can start serving.)

Expectations Are Everything!

Thanksgiving is a very big social occasion here in the south. Such occasions can be overwhelming for small children. One of the things we will be discussing is how the children's families celebrate and what to expect. It is so much less scary for kids when we give them a chance to talk about their fears or apprehensions! 

Coming Soon!

Be sure to visit me at little illuminations soon! I'll be sharing my experiences at NAEYC and details about my meet up with some FANTASTIC Early Childhood Bloggers (you'll know most of them from here ;)!!!! 

If you are lucky enough to make it to NAEYC, too, look for me, I'll be the one with the goofy ear to ear grin, looking like I've died and landed in teacher heaven!

Stop by and visit me anytime at or visit the little illuminations fanpage on facebook!


  1. These are wonderful ideas and photos! Sharing this.

    1. Thanks, Susan! These are as much fun for me as the teacher, as they are for the students! :)

  2. We featured your post on our Facebook! Great Job :)

    - CM School Supply

    1. Thank you so much for sharing it! Our turkeys this year are pretty amazing, as well! This project is always a hit, with kids and parents! :)


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