Preschool Thanksgiving Celebration

The clock is ticking. I’m sure most of you are up to your elbows in Thanksgiving preparations and might not have time to read another post about Thanksgiving. But, in case the kids table is a bit of an after-thought, I’m getting this post up right away, in the hopes that it might inspire you to know what to do with the littlest guests at your Thanksgiving Celebration.

I mentioned that I am part of a preschool co-op, and somehow all of the holiday celebrations landed on my week. (You can see what we did for Halloween in this post). While I think these party weeks are a lot more work, they are also a lot more fun for me, so I have been running with it. Today was our Thanksgiving Celebration. My goal was to give the kids a better standing of the history, meaning, and flavors of the Holiday in a way that was accessible and fun for them. Although, we ended the day with our Thanksgiving “feast”, I made sure to have the table set and decorated before they came, since the meal is the main event for most of us at Thanksgiving.

I hung large cornhusk poms over the table, like the smaller ones found on my Thanksgiving mantle. (Idea originally from Centsational Girl). I really love the effect they create!

I used a cornucopia I’ve had forever as the centerpiece of the table. It is filled with fake fruit, but it would have been a nice touch to get real foods that the Pilgrims might have eaten and use that as a teaching opportunity. I made two paper runners out of a roll of painter’s paper to define the places (and protect the table. ;-)).

The lion’s share of paper goods on the table came from the Dollar Spot at Target. They had some really cute stuff this year–like those modern cups and turkey place card holders. It saved me from myself a little bit, so I didn’t have to make/invent everything. BUT you know I’d have to add my own touches, of course!

I took natural-colored coffee filters (you knew I had to get those in somewhere), and attached them to the back of the yellow paper plates to look like turkey feathers. You could always dye the filters in multiple colors, but this was fast and easy. I used one filter for each plate. I cut it into quarters, and then glued each one along the underneath-side of the top of the plate.

I knew the turkey theme would be obvious when the food was served, but decided it would be fun to make each place-setting look like a turkey before hand, too. The turkey face was also simple. I just punched circles out of card stock, drew on a turkey face and attached the circle to the paper bowl with a glue dot. I’ll show you how they looked with the food in a minute.

The placemats have activities to do to keep little ones busy while they are waiting for their food. You could also let them draw on the tablecloths, if you made them out of paper, like this one.

But before we could feast, we needed to do a little school. I read them a book from the library that explained the history of Thanksgiving at their level. We then put on some hats and practiced acting out the story, show that we could show their Moms at the end of the party. I made the girl pilgrim hat out of a large piece of paper (11×17) folded and stapled to fit their heads and added some string for a tie. The boy pilgrim hat I had on hand from when I had made them as placecards in a previous year. I added string to keep it on their heads. I will admit that despite looking awfully cute, it might be better to use a pilgrims hat that will fit on their heads, if you don’t want to be tying strings all night. You can tell that my pilgrims really got the part in the story about travel being difficult and being hungry. They are so serious!

We made some basic Indian headdresses out of the brown paper and card stock feathers. The kids took turns alternating between playing the Native Americans and the Pilgrims.

We talked about the Th sound as in “Thanksgiving This Thursday!”

The students each added a leaf to our gratitude tree.

We practiced numbers with this worksheet. And did a number puzzle from this cute packet.

We made pasta turkeys for our craft (Inspired by this one). This is my demo. My daughter thought it needed a body.

This is her version.

And then it was time for our feast…

This cup filled with vegetables becomes his own turkey. And on the turkey plate, we served a turkey turkey sandwich. (Inspired by this one at Meet the Dubiens)

Turkey and cranberry jelly inside the sandwich to make sure we incorporated the flavors of Thanksgiving. Colorful apples make up the feathers. I served some kid-friendly baby potatoes.

We served corn on the cob and the kids loved it! And for dessert the perfect miniature pumpkin tarts from Fresh & Easy.  It was a fun day and I think the kids learned a lot. They did a great job performing our little skit for their mom’s at the end of the day.

How do you teach kids about Thanksgiving? Any fun plans for the kids’ table this year? If you need more ideas, check out my Top Ten Thanksgiving ideas for kids and my Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Pinterest Board.

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  1. This looks so fun. I absolutely LOVE those corn husk pom poms!!! And the pilgrim hats are adorable.

  2. so cute & fun! You are such a wonderful Mom!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Lovely arrangements and creative ideas for Thanksgiving will surely make any preschooler’s day. But the fact that the history of Thanksgiving was discussed with the kids is the best part. This way they will be connected to their roots and history. Not merely celebration but the reason behind it should also be known.


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  2. […] recycled my cornhusk poms that you might have noticed in the Thanksgiving Preschool celebration, to frame the […]

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