Focus on Thanksgiving Traditions and Songs

  • November 15, 2012
  • Bilingual Therapies

Focus on Thanksgiving Traditions and Songs

When you think of Thanksgiving, you visualize family, food, turkey, and special memories. Children are very receptive to learning when it is focused around holidays and celebrations. It is also a great time to share some of your special holiday traditions with them. To tie in at home, as the children how they celebrate and see if there are any special dishes that they have during their Thanksgiving feast.

Share a Favorite Thanksgiving Tale

As mentioned in a previous post about using books walks, there are countless stories about Thanksgiving for all different age levels. The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing spins the classic familiar Christmas story with turkey day traditions. The focus of this story is on a family getting ready and then celebrating Thanksgiving with their relatives. Baking pies, parades, travel, setting tables, playing with family, and eating the meal are all incorporated. The predictable rhyming pattern will also allow children to jump in while reading. Compare how this is like your celebrations and ask if it is similar to theirs.

Favorite Foods and Traditions

While talking about how each person celebrates Thanksgiving or other holidays, take out some paper and drawing items. Ask the child to draw what their perfect Thanksgiving meal would look like. They can draw the table, people they would like to be there, and the food that would be at their feast. This is a great time to talk about Thanksgiving vocabulary

Singing Silly Songs

Most children love to sing silly songs and it often helps them to break out of being shy and worried about their language skills. There are a lot of Thanksgiving songs that utilize familiar tunes to sing together. This activity builds confidence, fluency, and does not seem like therapy when it is being done. A great one to get kids moving is Turkey Pokey. The words to this song:

Turkey Pokey (To the tune of Hokey Pokey)

You put your right wing in

You put your right wing out

You put your right wing in

And you shake it all about.

You do the turkey pokey

And you turn yourself around.

That’s what it’s all about.

Additional verses:

Left wing

Drumsticks (legs)

Stuffing (tummy)

Wattle (head)

Tail feathers (bottom)

Turkey body (whole self)

This song and other great Thanksgiving resources are available in a unit online. is another nice website with other songs that may work better for your needs.

No matter which items you select to do, children will see your enthusiasm for Thanksgiving and feed off of it. Have fun and share part of yourself. Let families at home know what you are going to be doing and ask them to forward traditions so you can include them in your study. Embracing cultural pride is important and something everyone needs to be thankful for.


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