Building Oral Vocabulary – Giving Thanks

Some of my FAVORITE Thanksgiving memories include writing poems to share for the family before our Thanksgiving meal.  Some were serious (poems that share how thankful we were) and some were silly – we still have a video of my crazy Uncle Chris reading his “poem” which was actually a really a ridiculous riddle.

Whether you make it a point to help your little ones come up with Thankful poems, a “Thankful Poster” or a “Thankful Words Book,”  all of these open-ended activities are simple ways to celebrate the holiday while also building oral vocabulary and being intentional about helping to develop pre-reading and pre-writing skills.

I highly encourage checking out age-appropriate picture books at your local library about Thanksgiving to read as a primer for these activities.  Here are a few that I recommend:

Tear-ific Artwork to Write About

One of my favorite art projects to do with kids, to develop the little muscles in their hands, is to have them tear apart little pieces of colorful construction paper and glue them onto a template to make a beautiful work of art that I usually help little ones write a sentence about.  One example is a fall picture that all you need in order to make it is crayons and construction paper:

You can have little ones tear apart little pieces of their favorite color construction paper (or seasonal colors) until the shreds fill a paper plate.

Then, have your little one help you come up with a template; mine was simply made up of a tree trunk and a circle for the pumpkin.

On top of this template apply a thin layer of glue…..I use rubber cement (or spread regular glue with a small paintbrush).

Before the glue dries, let your little one assemble the paper pieces onto their picture.

Finally, ask your little one to help you write a sentence about your picture.  For example, “I like the Fall” or “The leaves are falling.”

If you and your little one make your own Tear-Art please share on The Mommy Teacher Facebook Page:

A Book about how “Jack” is feeling

Oh, so many uses for such a simple pumpkin template.  Yes, I have yet another use for that simple pdf that I made by copying a pumpkin di-cut, and todays activity idea develops social-emotional skills and reading skills.

All you need to do is print the template, talk with your little ones about feelings that we have and brainstorm a list of them (sad, mad, silly, happy, etc.).  Then, try to make a Jack-O-Lantern expression that matches that emotion.

After doing that, cut them out, have your little one try to help you write the word that sounds out that feeling “/s//a//d/” and put all the jack’s together to make a book.  Give it a title and tah-dah, you have a Book about Jack.

Accomodate each page description with whatever your little one is capable of or interested in.  Your little one might like a more creative description under each jack expression like “Jack-O-Silly”  or your little one might want to make a repetitive book that says “Jack is…” on each page.  Let your little one make it his/her own!

More Pumpkin Games

Today you can use the same pumpkin template that I made for you on Monday to play even more games focusing on skills that you are working on with your little one.

One great way to accommodate practicing new skills, depending on what your little one needs to work on, is by using two-sided cards.  On one side you might write the word of problem you want your little one to practice “solving” and on the other you could write the answer.  This is so that little ones can “self-correct” and check to see for themselves if he/she guessed correctly. 

This game is as simple as having your little one pick a pumpkin, read the number word (or solve the problem like counting the number of dots) and turn it over to see if the number matches the word or amount (or addition problem).   If he/she is correct, he will place the pumpkin in the “pumpkin patch” (a shoebox, on a cutting board, or any defined space you choose).  If he/she is incorrect, he will place the pumpkin in the bottom of the card stack, with the goal of eventually placing returning all of the pumpkins to the pumpkin patch.

Or, you can always have your little one order the pumpkins (letters, numbers, number words, from biggest to smallest number amounts, etc.) or otherwise allow your little one the chance to come up with a fun way to use and practice their new skills.

Pledge Your Allegiance With Your Kids

September 11th is a day that I want to recognize and commemorate by sharing the ways that I have always taught kids about our allegiance to our nation:

Even though I quoted the Pledge of Allegiance EVERY day in grade school verbatim, I still didn’t have a clue what the meaning of it was until about the 4th grade because of the higher order vocab like “allegiance, republic, indivisible, etc.”  You can start introducing a wider vocabulary to kids at a younger age as long as you connect the meaning to those words in multiple ways.  For the pledge (teaching about our allegiance to America), you can do this using:

Activities and Lessons



Sign language


and by using the words in context more often.

The Pledge of Allegiance

Hubbard’s Cupboard has my favorite pictures for kids that are simple and that you can even incorporate into a book printable.  The printables I use most are the “day 2” printables and hey, they are FREE 🙂

You can also put these pictures on cards, whole punch the corner of the cards, and put them on a binder ring to flip each card as you say the pledge.

Can I get a “God Bless America!!!” ???


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