Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I love it because of the changing seasons as well as the traditions. One of my favorite traditions with my preschoolers, in addition to making apple pies and making fun pumpkin crafts, is having our “first Thanksgiving” snack.
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I began this tradition with my preschoolers a few years ago in this post and it is something we look forward to every year, especially those students who have been with me a couple of years and moved through my program. The concept is simple. I teach the students about the very first Thanksgiving via books and then I invite my students to participate in our very own “first Thanksgiving” snack time.
The following are some of my favorite books to share with my students about Thanksgiving. We read them all throughout the month of November, so by the time we have our “first Thanksgiving” snack, my students are well versed with the story.
To begin our “first Thanksgiving” snack, I invited the students to tell me what they remember about Thanksgiving. Some students talked about turkeys, and games we played in preschool. Some talked about eating pumpkin pie and watching movies. Some students told the story of the first Thanksgiving. I allowed all students to comment and add to our discussion as they pleased so everyone felt included and each students’ idea was validated.
Then, I asked the students to get out the trail mix filler they had brought to share. I had sent out a message the day before asking parents to send their child to school with about 2/3 cup of a filler to make trail mix. Each student presented their filler as seen in the photo at the top of this post.
I invited students to think of things they were thankful for as they took turns pouring their filler into a big communal bowl. Some students had to be prompted to think of things they were thankful for. Comments ranged from toys and blankets to reading books and siblings.
Here are some ideas for trail mix fillers:
- nuts (check for allergies, first)
- Shredded Coconut ,Unsweetened, (affiliate)
- chocolate chips
- Banana Chips, (affiliate)
- dried cranberries
- Whole Pumpkin Seeds, (affiliate)
The students then took turns stirring the trail mix, while I retold the First Thanksgiving story.
When it was time for snack, students scooped out a share of trail mix into a bowl, then I had the students give their bowl to another student, thus reiterating that Thanksgiving is about sharing and gratefulness.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.
I don’t have a preschool class, but this looks like the perfect activity for the younger cousins while waiting for Thanksgiving dinner. What a good idea.