Gratitude Activities and Children’s Books

Find additional activities and ideas on my Pinterest site


Collage Placemats:
Create grateful placemats for your table.  Find and cut, write, or print out gratitude words (thank you, happy, safe, love, my puppy, smiles) and glue them onto 11”x 24” construction paper. Add photos, stickers, or drawings. Laminate or cover with Contac paper. Decorate your table with a touch of gratitude. Use your placemats regularly, not just at Thanksgiving.

Make a Thanksgiving Time Capsule:
Place in a sealable container items, words, or photos that reflect gratitude and thanksgiving for each member in your family. Include notes on events taking place on that day,  family milestones, heart desires, prayers, hopes and dreams. Seal the container and reopen on a designated date such as one year from today.

Grateful Walk:
Go for a neighborhood walk, taking time to notice things, people, and events that you are grateful for. Take a small notebook and make a list. Add to your list often. Share your feelings of gratitude with others. Encourage children to find things they are thankful for. Give your child his/her own notebook.

Secret Sticky Notes:
Give your child a stack of sticky notes. If your child is very young, include heart or smiley face stickers. Have your child decorate  sticky notes for a special person and then leave the notes where that person will find it (on a pillow, bathroom mirror, in a pocket, in a shoe). Older children can write a thank you note or note of appreciation (“You make my day”, “thanks for all you do,” “I love the dinner you made.” “Thanks for your smiles.” “Thanks for keeping me safe.”)The fun will not only be in hiding the note, but also in the kindness shared. You don’t have to sign the note. It will be fun for the recipient to guess who the notes are from. Leave one for a teacher, cafeteria helper, mail carrier, check-out grocery clerk—thank someone who is often overlooked and taken for granted. Make sure you have lots of sticky notes.


The Secret of Saying Thanks-Douglas Wood
Bear Says Thanks-Karma Wilson
Cat-Mike Dumbleton
Thankful-Eileen Spinelli
Thank You For Me-Marion Dane Bauer
Thanksgiving is For Giving Thanks-Margaret Sutherland
Tiny Blessings for Giving Thanks-Amy Parker
Just So Thankful-Mercer Mayer
Give Thanks for Each Day-Steve Metzger
Thank You and Good Night-Patrick McDonnell
Look and Be Grateful-Tomie DePaola
Thanksgiving Day Thanks-Laura Malone Elliott
The Giving Tree-Shel Silverstein
The Mouse in the Manger-Gentile
The Thank You Book-Mo Willems
An Awesome Book of Thanks-Dallas Clayton
I’m Thankful Each Day-P.K. Hallinan
The Thankful Book-Todd Parr
The Blessing Jar- A Story about Being Thankful- Colleen Coble
Thank You, God, for Everything-August Gold
Splat Says Thank You!-Rob Scotton


Thanksgiving Activities


Family Pictures
Find magazine picture of people.  Find picture representing each family member and glue the picture on construction paper. Title the picture: I am Thankful for my Family.
Variation: Find food pictures to glue and label the picture: I am Thankful for Food .

Thanksgiving Placemats
Search magazines or old cards for pictures of animals, flowers, mountains, rainbows, people, etc. Glue the pictures of things you are thankful for onto construction. Title your placemat; “I am Thankful for…”Cover the placemat with Contac paper.

Paper Plate Thankful Wreath
Cut leaf shapes from colored construction paper. Write on each leaf what the child is thankful for. Glue the leaves around the edge of a paper plate. In the center write “(child’s name) is thankful for:”.

Pine Cone Turkey
Press the side of a pine cone into the small ball of clay or play dough for a stand. Glue a precut paper turkey head (wiggly eyes, beak, wattle) on the small end of the pine cone. Glue feathers, folded chenille stems (pipe cleaners) or colored paper on the other end of the pinecone for feathers.

Paper Cup Turkey
Paint a paper cup brown. When dry, glue a large pom-pom to the bottom of the cup. This will be the head. Add triangle beak, a red wattle, and wiggly eyes. Glue real or paper feathers to the other end of the cup.

Cornucopia Centerpiece
Cut a large triangle shape from colorful paper such as scrapbooking paper or construction paper.  Glue the paper into the shape of a cone.  Fill with popcorn, dried fruit, and pretzels. Place on your Thanksgiving table.

Pumpkin Pie
Materials: pumpkin pie spice, orange construction paper, scissors, glue, cotton ball.
Copy circles on orange construction paper and let the children cut them out. Next, “paint” glue on the circle and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice on top of the glue. Finally, glue a cotton ball to the middle of the pie to represent the whipped cream and pull it out a bit to puff it up. If you cannot find pumpkin pie spice you can mix nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon.

Home Made Butter
Large glass jar, heavy whipping cream, salt
Pour whipping cream into the jar, a bit less than half full.
Sprinkle in some salt.
Cover jar and have the children shake continually (they can help make one jar together or you may be shaking 16 jars yourself!). After about 5 minutes of shaking, the water will separate from the cream and the cream will become more solid.
Pour our the liquid and continue shaking.

This would be great on your homemade bread!

Nut Sorting
Provide a bowl of unshelled nuts to sort by color, type, or size. Count the nuts in each pile. Arrange the nuts from largest to smallest.

Thanksgiving Obstacle Course
Pretend you are Pilgrims, turkeys, or traveling to grandmother’s house. Follow the slippery, zig-zag path (masking tape), walk on the log (blocks), jump the river (jump across 2 pieces of yarn or tape), crawl through the cave and under bushes (crawl under covered table). Walk on tip-toes, hop, or gallop.

Grocery Store Visit
Visit a grocery store to look at or buy Thanksgiving food.  Note colors, sizes, textures. Find vegetables such squash, onions, potatoes, celery, carrots. Look at white eggs and brown eggs, chicken, duck, and turkey eggs. Find fruits such as cranberries, pineapple, different types of apples, kiwi, dried fruit and fresh fruit. Buy a pomegranate to peel and eat.

Catch the Turkey
Purchase a small toy plush turkey or use a sock ball (rolled socks) as a pretend turkey.
Play catch with the turkey. Start by standing close together. Each time the turkey is caught, take one step backwards, increasing the distance. Person tossing the turkey says, ”Catch the turkey,” before the turkey is tossed.

Sailing to America
Pretend you are the Pilgrims sailing to America on the Mayflower. Use a large box or basket as a boat.

Sink or Float
Place a variety of objects in a tub of water. Before placing the object in the water, predict if it will sink or float. Try objects such as nail, rock, wood, cork, Styrofoam, plastic spoon, metal spoon, paper, feather, bar of soap.

We are Thankful (Tune: Are You Sleeping?)
We are thankful, we are thankful,
For our food, for our food.
And our many blessings, and our many blessings,
Let’s give thanks. Let’s give thanks.

Bear Says Thanks – Karma Wilson
Give Thanks to the Lord – Karma Wilson
What is Thanksgiving – Michelle Medlock Adams
Thanks for Thanksgiving – Julie Markes
Biscuit is Thankful – Alyssa Satin Caapucilli
A Turkey for Thanksgiving – Eve Bunting
Happy Thanksgiving – Jill Roman Lord
Thank you Prayer – Josephine Page
The first Thanksgiving: a lift-the-flap book – Nancy Davis
Thanksgiving is for Giving – Margaret Southerland
I Know an Old lady Who Swallowed a Pie – Allison Jackson
Thank You God – Kathleen Bostrom
Squirrel Says Thank You – Mary Manz Simon
Lots of Thanks: a Little Book About Being Thankful – Thierry Courtin
Thanksgiving Day Thanks-Laura Malone Elliott




Paper Bag Turkeys
Stuff a brown lunch bag with paper until about half full.  Twist and tie the bag closed with yarn. Cut strips from the edge of the bag down to the yarn. The strips will be tail feathers. Attach a precut head to the other end of the bag. Add wiggly eyes and beak. Paint the tail feathers vibrant colors.

Handprint Turkeys
Paint fingers and palms brown and press onto paper. Add turkey facial features and legs.

Turkey Headbands
Cut a 1-2 inch strip of brown construction paper to fit child’s head. Staple or tape closed. Add precut colorful strips of construction paper for feathers or attach real feathers with tape.  Wear the turkey headband while reciting the fingerplays and singing turkey songs.

Turkey Feather Painting
Dip feathers in craft paint and paint on paper.

Apple (Potato) Turkey
Stick miniature marshmallows, gumdrops, or fruit chews on toothpicks. Stick the toothpicks in the apple for tail feathers. Attach to the opposite side of the apple, with tape or a toothpick, a precut paper turkey head.

Play Dough Turkeys
Make play dough turkeys with turkey cookie cutters.

Combine in a pan:
1 cup flour,
½ cup salt,
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon oil,
1 cup water,
Food coloring
Mix ingredients well. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until mixture pulls from sides of pan and forms a soft lumpy ball. Knead, play, enjoy, and when cooled, store in an airtight container.

Feed the Turkey
Attach a picture of a turkey to the side of a box or basket. Feed the turkey by throwing “sock balls” (rolled socks) into the turkey.

Count the turkeys
Attach stickers of turkeys to strips of card stock or construction paper. One sticker on the first strip, two on the second, three stickers on the third, and so forth. Write the number on the back of the card. Count the turkeys. Place the cards in sequence.

Pin the Feather on the Turkey
Attach a picture of a featherless turkey to the wall. Children will close (cover) their eyes and “pin” their paper or real feather on the turkey.

Turkey Trouble- Wendi Silvano
10 Fat Turkeys – Tony Johnson
Over the River: a turkey’s tale – Derek Anderson
A Plump and Perky Turkey – Teresa Bateman
A Turkey for Thanksgiving – Eve Bunting
Run, Turkey Run – Diane Mayr
Sometimes It’s Turkey, Sometimes It’s Feathers – Lorna Balian
‘Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving – Dav Pilkey
One Tough Turkey: A Thanksgiving Story – Steven Kroll
Farmer Goff And His Turkey Sam – Brian Schatell
5 Silly Turkeys (board book) – Salina Yoon

Five Fat Turkeys are We-e-e
Five Fat Turkeys are We-e-e  (hold up 5 fingers)
We slept all night in a tr-e-e   (with hands together, rest on side of head, as sleeping)
When the cook came around we couldn’t be found (hand cupped above eye, searching)
And that’s why we’re here you se-e-e (bent arms at elbow, palms up)

We Eat Turkey (Tune: Are You Sleeping)
We eat turkey, we eat turkey.
Oh, so good, Oh, so good.
Always on Thanksgiving, always on Thanksgiving.
Yum,yum, yum. Yum, yum, yum.

Verse 2: We eat green beans. We eat green beans.
Oh, so good, Oh, so good.
Always on Thanksgiving, always on Thanksgiving.
Yum, yum, yum. Yum, yum, yum.

Addition verses: Add desired food: mashed potatoes, buttered rolls, pumpkin pie

Turkey Pokey (Tune: Hokey Pokey-Sing using turkey body parts)
Put your left wing in, put your left wing out
Put your left right in and shake it all about
You do the turkey pokey and turn yourself around
That’s what it’s all about. (clap)

Other verses: strong beak, right foot, tail feathers, whole self

The Turkey
The turkey is a funny bird.  (Hook thumbs together and spread fingers).
Its head goes wobble, wobble.  (Wobble head back and forth.)
And all it knows is just one word:  (Hold up one finger.)
“Gobble, gobble, gobble.” (Make mouth shape with hand, opening and closing it.)

 Gobble, Gobble
Gobble, Gobble is the sound  (Place hands by mouth for sound)
Of the turkey fat and round, (Move arms in a wide circle around self)
Thanksgiving Day will soon be here
Then he will dis-a-ppear   (Bend arms at elbows, extend hand, palms up.)

See more Thanksgiving activities:

Dinosaur Day

Children love dinosaurs and it’s not just a “boy” thing. Both girls and boys are fascinated by these animals of long-ago. Children love acting like dinosaurs—roaring and stomping. They enjoy dinosaur stories, want to watch dinosaur movies and play dinosaur games. They dress as dinosaurs and decorate their bedrooms with dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs may be enormous, dangerous, and powerful, but this only adds to their appeal.  While a pacing tiger in a zoo can be frightening to a child, a roaring, hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex) creates no fear. Instead, dinosaurs are loved.  Dinosaurs can’t hurt them. Children know they are safe because dinosaurs are extinct. Very young children may say, “They aren’t real.” In time and maturity, extinction can be explained.

Many children’s books portray dinosaurs as mean, disobedient, compulsive, and getting what they want. Children enjoy seeing the dinosaur getting away with the behaviors and actions that are unacceptable for them. They can inwardly cheer for the defiant dinosaur. The underdog (dinosaur) wins. To the child, he/she wins. And many parents don’t view this as teaching and reinforcing inappropriateness to children. They would rather have their children reading about the dinosaur’s misbehavior than having their children continually acting defiantly, angry and throwing tantrums. The dinosaur’s behavior opens the door for conversation.

I love Mercer Mayer books (Little Critter books) so I decided to read his dinosaur book, TOO MANY DINOSAURS. A desperate boy buys a horn to call his run-away baby triceratops and ends up calling Mama triceratops and more. The children loved the twist at the end. We then decided to create our own dinosaur horns. If you make one, be careful what you call.


Dinosaur activities are included on my dinosaur activity page. //…nd-picture-books/

Check out the list of dinosaur books on the activity page.

Look for more ideas on my Pinterest page.


Enjoy your little dinosaur!


Dinosaur Activities and Picture Books

Here’s a list of dinosaur books to read to your child. They are all fiction books so they don’t focus on dinosaur facts. Even though they are fiction book, look for lessons on friendship, being yourself, and other themes.


The Super Hungry Dinosaur- Martin Waddell
Dino Bites- Algy Craig Hall
If You Happen To Have a Dinosaur-Linda Bailey
I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur-Heath McKenzie
A Dinosaur Called Tiny- Alan Durant
Too Many Dinosaurs-Mercer Mayer
Mamasaurus-Stephan Lomp
Rory the Dinosaur Wants a Pet-Liz Climo
Dinosaurs vs. Mommy-Bob Shea
How Do Dinosaurs Clean their Room?-Jane Yolen
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight-Jane Yolen
How Do Dinosaurs Go to Sleep-Jane Yolen
Dinosaur Rescue-Penny Dale
Dinosaur Zoom-Penny Dale
Dinosaur Dig-Penny Dale
Stomp! Little Dinosaur-Jo Lodge
Goldilocks and the 3 Dinosaurs-Mo Willems



Dinosaur Horns: (make after reading: TOO MANY DINOSAURS by Mercer Mayer)

Make a cone from card stock or construction paper. Decorate with stickers, paint, markers, glitter, or other treasures. ‘Toot” your horn, calling all dinosaurs.

Creating a cone:
1. Make a paper circle: I traced a dinner plate (lid, pan cover) for my circle. The larger your circle, the taller your cone.
2. Draw a triangle shape: To draw a wedge (pie shape), make a mark in the center of the circle. Draw out two straight lines from the center point to the outer edge of your circle making a wedge (pie shape). If the lines are closer together it will make a smaller wedge, making a cone with a wide bottom. To make a cone with a small bottom, cut out a larger triangle wedge.
3. Cut the triangle wedge out of the circle. Discard the wedge.
4. Bring the cut sides of your circle together and tape closed. For your cone shape, bring one cut end of your circle over to the other forming a cone shape. Hold it together and make sure the lower ridge of both sides overlap evenly. Your cone should be rounded. Tape in place.
Decorate your horn and then go call some dinosaurs.

Dino tracks:
Pour a small amount of tempera paint on a paper plate. Place the toy dinosaur on the paper plate, covering the feet with paint. Walk your dinosaur across a sheet of paper, leaving dino tracks.

Dinosaur Puzzle:
Have your child color a dinosaur picture. Cut the picture into 4-6 pieces. Reassemble the dinosaur puzzle.

Feed the Dinosaur:
Draw a large picture of a dinosaur head on paper. Attach the dinosaur to a basket or box. Roll a sock into a ball. Feed the dinosaur by throwing the sock ball into the basket/box. Munch and crunch, hungry dinosaur!

Dinosaur Hunt:
Make a sensory table. Fill a large plastic container (with a lid) with rice and a variety of dried beans. Bury toy dinosaurs or other small toys in the mixture.  Your child will have fun hunting for the dinosaurs. When finished playing. Cover the container and save for another day.

Dino Pokey:
Tune: “Hokey Pokey”
Put your (wings) right in (extend arms in front of you)
Put your (wings) right out (Extend arms behind you)
Put your (wings) right in and shake them all about. (Arms forward and shake them)
Do the dino pokey and turn yourself about. (Turn around in a circle)
That’s what it’s all about. (clap to the beat)
Additional Verses: snapping beak, swishing tail, stomping feet, large teeth,

All Around the Swamp
Tune: “The Wheels on the Bus”
The Pterodactyl’s wings went
Flap, flap, flap
Flap, flap, flap
Flap, flap, flap
The Pterodactyl’s wings went
All through the swamp.
Additional Verses: the tyrannosaurus Rex went grr, grr, grr, the triceratops’ feet went stomp, stomp, stomp; the Apatosaurus’ mouth went munch, munch, munch.

Visit my pinterest site for more activities and ideas:






Owl Activities

Owl Activities:
For additional activities on my Pinterest page

Stick the Beak on the Owl-
Draw an owl shape on a large piece of paper. Attach the owl picture to the wall. Give each child a triangular shaped beak cut from paper, craft foam, or felt. Add a rolled piece of tape to the back of beak. One at a time, a blindfolded child will attach the beak to the owl. Without looking, see who can attach the owl’s beak nearest to the place where it belongs.

Variations: attach an oval wing or large circle eye.

Matching Owl Game-
This is a matching lotto game. Child will have a game board and 12 playing pieces such as coins or marshmallows. To make the game board, draw 12 even spaced squares on an 8”x 11” sheet of paper and place an owl picture or sticker in each square. Place an identical owl on an index card. Select a card and hold it for the child to see. Child will cover the matching owl on the game board with a playing piece (coin, marshmallow). Play until the owls on the board are covered.




Painting with Feathers
Provide each child with a construction paper owl shape. Use a single feather or tape feathers together to make a brush. Dip the feather in a small dish of paint and paint the owl paper with the feather brush.

Owl Needs Feathers
Glue (owl) feathers onto a construction paper or paper plate shaped owl. Create a color game by using colored construction paper feathers to glue on the owl.
Variations: Color game: Place red feathers on the red owl, blue feathers on the blue owl.

  Paper Bag Owls








Counting Feathers
Owl Matching Cards- match the pairs of owl stickers


Today I read to a Pre-K class of four-year olds, one of my favorite picture books and it is now one of their favorites too. David LaRochelle’s book, Moo! is a must have. Not only is the book delightfully funny with Mike Wohnoutka’s engaging illustrations, but the book is an excellent and fun teaching tool.

There is one word, moo, in the book, but that one word has so much meaning! Before I read the book to the children, I pointed out the exclamation point in the title and the children then read the title using their excited voices. The question marks invited raised voices and the large bold print encouraged large bold voices. Then we read the book together. No …, I think the children did most of the reading. We stopped often (every page), noticing how the illustrations worked with the text. There were lots of moos and laughter.

It is a book that children love to read over and over again. Even very young children can read this book aloud to you. It’s a great book for the reluctant or new reader.

You can’t go wrong. Head to your library or bookstore and check out, MOO!

Winter Is Here. Bring on the Books

Perhaps Winter wasn’t getting enough attention and retaliated. So while much of the East coast digs out from an avalanche of snow, I’m thankful for living in a snow belt area that did not get snow (this time). And I’m very thankful for living in an area that owns snowplows and salt/ sand trucks.

WinterPictures from Silver Creek Area - Jan25,13

140107Winter- (19 of 22)

So find a cozy spot to snuggle with your little ones and read a stack of winter picture books.

Teddie Bear left on park bench

These are some of my favorites winter picture books:



140122snowman covers (2)

Of course, you’ll have to take a hot cocoa break and while you dip graham crackers into your hot cocoa, let the conversations flow.

“Are all snowmen (snow people) made with three snowballs?”
“Do snowmen get cold?”
“Why do some have mittens or a scarf or a hat?”
“Do snow people get hungry?”
“What would they eat? Ice cream? Icicles?”

At story time, the children created a snowman who loves listening to stories. And he doesn’t leave puddles on the floor.
Reading time Snowman

dressing up the snowman

Decorating a snowman at Anderson Lee Library

 His favorite picture book is Snowballs by Lois Ehlert.
  We made more snow people. The best part is … no frigid freezing fingers.
So hop on over to my activity page and try the winter activities.
Stay warm!




Teddie Bear left on park benchSnow
Even if you live in an area where it doesn’t snow, you can still have fun with these snow activities.

Never-to-Melt Snowman
Create an indoor never-to-melt snowman out of Paper Mache’. We mixed flour and water to form a paste and glued strips of paper over our chicken wire form. Small pieces of PVC pipe were inserted in the places where we wanted the facial features, arms, and buttons. When our snowman was dry, the children painted it –a painting party.

making a snowman
the snowman's frame
making a snowman
filling out the frame
making a snowman
a little paper machete
Reading time Snowman
starting to decorate
Snowman Reading Day at Anderson Lee Lib
adding more details
Reading time Snowman
dressing up the snowman

Flyswatters make good arms. Miss-matched mittens, over mitts, garden gloves create wonderful hands. We used toy foods for the face, bells and plastic lids for buttons. Handles were attached to the facial parts and inserted in the pre-formed holes. If that’s not an option, duct tape will always work.  Add to your collection a variety of hats, scarves, and ribbons, and your children will have a grand time decorating your snowman.

Reading time Snowman
Sock Snowman
Stuff a child-sized sock with cotton batting. Twist a rubber band around the top and fold down the top edge of the sock to form a hat. Loosely twist a rubber band around the center of the sock, forming two snowballs. Decorate your snowman with markers or paint or glue (hot glue) buttons, jewels, pompoms, and ribbons. We used a small piece of orange chenille stem (pipe cleaners) for a carrot nose.

Snowball Throwing
If you can’t take your children outside to throw snowballs, try these indoor snowballs. Make a sock ball by rolling a sock and folding the top over it. Styrofoam balls also make good snowballs. Place a basket or box by the wall and have your children throw their snowballs into the basket. Suspend a hula hoop and then throw the sock balls through it. Children will have to stand back far enough to stretch those muscles.

Matching Snowflakes
Glue foam snowflake or stickers, (snowmen, penguins) onto 3×5 index cards or pieces of cut construction paper. You will need two of each snowflake(sticker) for your child to find matching pairs.

Counting Snowflakes
Stickers are great for creating counting games. You will need snowflake stickers, paper strips, and numbers 1-10. Cut ten strips of paper and place the snowflake stickers on each strip. One sticker on one, two on the next, three on the next, until stickers are placed on all ten strips. Write the number of snowflakes on the back of the card for self-checking. Have your children count the snowflakes. Then find the corresponding number and place it on the snowflake card.


Sensory Table Fun
Fill a container with shredded white paper or packing peanuts. Hide white objects in the container for your children to find. Increase the challenge by having them wear mittens, or use ice cube tongs to pick up the objects. Objects might include: cotton balls, pompoms, felt shapes, foam snowflakes, white toys-polar bears, eggs.


Shaving Cream Fun
Squirt shaving cream on a tray or shallow pan. Your children’s hands will never get cold in this “snow”. Add ice cubes and enjoy!

Exploring: I wonder what happens if…
Conduct experiments with your children. Have them make predictions, conduct the experiment and then discuss the results, answering the “whys”.  I wonder what happens if we put a cup of snow (an ice cube) under a blanket? Which do you think will melt faster- the ice cube in the dark cupboard or the ice cube by the sunny spot?  If we put a heavy dark cloth over an ice cube and a light-weight, light-colored cloth over another ice cube and then place both ice cubes side by side, what will happen? After the experiment, talk about clothes you wear in the summer and those you wear in the winter.