Thank You Very Much! A Thanksgiving Storytime

It was a beautiful day at the park today for our Outdoor Musical Storytime. After our opening song (Put Your Finger in the Air), I asked the families what they were thankful for. They said sunshine, ice cream, and librarians (Awww!).

Here’s what we did for the storytime:


Firefighter’s Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts; illustrated by Terry Widener

To be honest, I don’t like a lot of Thanksgiving picture books,because they often only focus on turkeys who are in danger of being eaten. This book is a rare exception, and I never get tired of reading it. It’s Thanksgiving Day at Fire Station 1, and firefighter Lou volunteers to cook the Thanksgiving meal. But the cooking keeps getting interrupted by calls to put out fires, and Lou gets injured in a big fire that afternoon. The firefighters are relieved to hear that he’ll be okay, but they still have no Thanksgiving dinner, and the calls keep coming. But while they are out fighting yet another fire, people from the town bring them a meal and a note to say thank you. Told in simple, rhymed verse, this is one of the most poignant Thanksgiving books I’ve ever read. The kids loved making bell sounds with me every time I said, “A call comes in…”

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

Another rhyming book, this time about Bear, who would love to share a special meal with his friends, but discovers that his cupboards are bare. He is surprised when all of his animal friends show up bringing special dishes of their own to share, but is sad that he has nothing to contribute to the feast. His friends tell him that he can share stories instead, and they all say thanks to each other. I love the large, warm illustrations in the Bear books, and the story does a nice job of illustrating the idea of sharing a meal with friends and loved ones. I taught the kids the sign for Thanks, and we all used it on the repeated line, “And the Bear said, “Thanks!”

You Are My Happy by Hoda Kotb; illustrated by Suzie Mason

Sweet story about a baby bear and his mother sharing simple things throughout the day that made them happy. I like this book because thinking about things that make you happy is probably easier for younger kids to understand than the concept of feeling “Thankful.” Some of the parents were intrigued to learn that the book was written by Today Show co-host Hoda Kotb, and the book got lots of “Awww’s” at the end when the mother bear says, “You are my happy!” The illustrations are lovely too.


Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Fire Truck!

We sang this one as a follow-up to Firefighter’s Thanksgiving. I had the kids pretend to put on their fire fighter gear, and then we slid down the pole before climbing into the truck. We sang the whole thing through three times, getting faster each time (the kids loved it!). There are lots of different versions, but these are the words I use. Here’s a video from Kiboomers with the tune.

Hurry, Hurry, Drive the fire truck!
Hurry, Hurry, Drive the fire truck!
Hurry, Hurry, Drive the fire truck!
Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!

Hurry, Hurry, Spray the water…

Hurry, Hurry, Climb the ladder…

Hurry, Hurry, Save the kitty cat…

Hurry, Hurry, Back to the station…

If You’re Thankful and You Know It

To the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It:

[C] If you’re thankful and you know it, clap your [G7] hands (clap, clap)

If you’re thankful and you know it, clap your [C] hands (clap, clap)

If you’re [F] thankful and you know it, and you [C] really want to show it,

If you’re [G7] thankful and you know it, clap your [C] hands! (clap, clap)

If you’re thankful and you know it, give a hug… (hug yourself, or a caregiver)…

If you’re thankful and you know it, say “Thank you!” Thank you!

The Turkey Jerky

To the tune of The Hokey Pokey. Although I don’t like focusing on the eating turkeys part of Thanksgiving, I do love doing this song at storytime!

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 jerky and you turn yourself around.

That’s what it’s all about! Gobble! Gobble!

Repeat with your left wing, your right drumstick (right foot), left drumstick, waddle (your chin), and tail feathers!

I Am Thankful

I wrote this one a while ago. Feel free to use it or adapt it however you like. We did it as our instrument play-along at the end:

[C] I am thankful for
The [F] colors that I see,
For [C] friends who play with me,
And for my [G7] loving family.

[C] I am thankful for [F] rainbows in the sky,
For the [C] taste of pumpkin pie,
And for a [G7] warm hug when I cry.

I’m thankful [F] for the sky above
I’m thankful [C] for the ones I love,
[D] My cozy bed at night,
And for [G] the summer sun so bright.
[C] I am thankful for the [F] monkeys at the zoo
But [C] most of all I’m [G7] thankful for [C] YOU!

[C] I am thankful for [F] bubbles in the air,
For a [C] cool breeze in my hair,
And for my [G7] snuggly teddy bear.
[C] I am thankful for [F] yummy things to eat,
For [C] ice cream cones so sweet,
And for a [G7] special birthday treat.

I’m thankful [F] for the sky above
I’m thankful [C] for the ones I love,
[D] My cozy bed at night,
And for [G] the summer sun so bright.
[C] I am thankful for the [F] monkeys at the zoo
But [C] most of all I’m [G7] thankful,

[C] I am so very [F] thankful!
[C] Most of all I’m [G7] thankful for [C] YOU!

Stay & Play: Watercolor Turkeys

I don’t often do watercolor as a Stay & Play Activity because the set-up can be a little involved. But the kids always LOVE it! In fact, the biggest problem is that many of them don’t want to stop painting, and cry when it’s time to stop.

For today, I printed out turkey pictures (I used this one from on card stock, and put them out on the tables along with watercolor sets, small paintbrushes, and cups of water. I told the kids they could either paint the turkey or turn the paper over and paint whatever they liked. Most of the kids opted to paint the turkey, but we did have some nice original paintings as well.

Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for all of you, and especially love hearing about your favorite books, songs, and ideas. Please share them in the comments below!