Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to help kids learn the values of being thankful, giving & showing gratitude. Here are a few free lesson plan ideas [my Thanksgiving gift to all of you who work with kids :)]
Picture books that I love with lots of opportunities for yoga:
10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston [turkey (lotus mudra – fingers are the turkey feathers), fence (mountain), vine (Brain Gym lazy 8’s), roller skate (balance on 1 leg), bird, mindfulness balancing a block on hand as balancing on 1 foot, swan, boar (rock & roll on back like pig in the mud), buzzing bee breath, whistling breath, bubble gum (balloon breath), tree]. Great book for younger kids that love the counting and the silly things the turkeys do.
Give Thanks for Each Day by Steve Metzger [deer, flower, sun stretch & breath, bear, mushroom (childs pose), tree, blowing dandelions (cotton balls), choo-choo breath, bear hug, fox (gyan mudra around nose), marching (cross crawl hike), belly breathing w/ rubber duck on belly, blowing bubbles, chipmunk, candle, palming by warm fire, snowflake (standing star with wiggling fingers), up dog, downward facing dog, ice cream scoops partner pose, cat, duck, turn legs like pages in book, raccoon (gyan mudra mask), crescent moon, star]. Great theme of being thankful for things every day.
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson [making a pie sequence (roll out pie dough (lie on tummy & roll out with pool noodle), pumpkin (child pose with hands at head for stem), easy pose legs as bowl, shake in flour, sugar & cinnamon, mix (stir the pot & do “washing machine” for mixer), forward seated with legs being oven rack & stretch arms to close the oven door, tick-tock-toes timer, “mmm” breath as we smell it cooking, pie pose (seated angle) & blow on it before taking a bite), cider (apple picking stretch, woodchopper to slice the apples, washing machine blender to make it into cider, triangle pose to pour the cider), roll (rock & roll on back), squash (childs pose with hands extended as stem in front), salad (easy pose legs as bowl), turkey (lotus mudra – fingers are the turkey feathers), pot (stir the pot), cake (mountain – like the tall ten-layer cake), bread (woodchopper to slice the bread)]. This is a great cumulative book that builds upon itself so there are lots of opportunities to repeat poses. I changed the repeated line “perhaps she’ll die” to “perhaps she’ll sigh” for an opportunity for a sighing breathing activity.
There was an old lady who swallowed a pie story props – 3-page PDF. Cut out the opening in the old lady’s mouth & cut out all the other items. Laminate. Then use these as story props. Want to know more about “story props”? Check out this blog post: http://learningandteachingwithpreschoolers.blogspot.com/2010/01/props-for-setting-stage.html.
I know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie coloring sheet – part of the Thanksgiving printables from 3 Dinosaurs (see more below)
3 Dinosaurs has a great new free Thanksgiving printable pack inspired by this book! http://3dinosaurs.com/printables/packs/thanksgiving.php
Each file is a large PDF document so be patient as they load & look before you print 🙂
In November by Cynthia Rylant [mouse, snow (standing star with wiggling fingers), tree, bird, berry picking, cow, horse, cat, buzzing bee breath, up dog, downward facing dog, palming by warm fire, making a pie sequence (roll out pie dough (lie on tummy & roll out with pool noodle), pumpkin (child pose with hands at head for stem), easy pose legs as bowl, shake in flour, sugar & cinnamon, mix (stir the pot & do “washing machine” for mixer), forward seated with legs being oven rack & stretch arms to close the oven door, tick-tock-toes timer, “mmm” breath as we smell it cooking, pie pose (seated angle) & blow on it before taking a bite), group table pose, crescent moon, star]. Great book for kids that are even a little older. It is a picture book but has higher level vocabulary.
Run, Turkey, Run! By Diane Mayr [turkey (lotus mudra – fingers are the turkey feathers), making a pie sequence (roll out pie dough (lie on tummy & roll out with pool noodle), pumpkin (child pose with hands at head for stem), easy pose legs as bowl, shake in flour, sugar & cinnamon, mix (stir the pot & do “washing machine” for mixer), forward seated with legs being oven rack & stretch arms to close the oven door, tick-tock-toes timer, “mmm” breath as we smell it cooking, pie pose (seated angle) & blow on it before taking a bite), farmer (big stomping steps around the mats), pig (rock & roll on back like pig in the mud), duck, boat, scuba breath (ocean breath), barn (rooftop partners), horse, standing forward bend (pretend to hide head in feed bucket), forest (group tree pose), group table pose]. Kids LOVE the repeated line & humor in this book.
Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes [turkey (lotus mudra – fingers are the turkey feathers), making a pie sequence (roll out pie dough (lie on tummy & roll out with pool noodle), pumpkin (child pose with hands at head for stem), easy pose legs as bowl, shake in flour, sugar & cinnamon, mix (stir the pot & do “washing machine” for mixer), forward seated with legs being oven rack & stretch arms to close the oven door, tick-tock-toes timer, “mmm” breath as we smell it cooking, pie pose (seated angle) & blow on it before taking a bite), chair, tree, leaves (forward bend with wiggling fingers as falling leaves), pumpkin (child pose with hands at head for stem), boat, windmill, blowing breath, dancer, book (turn legs like pages in book & gyan mudra reading glasses), swing (forward fold with arms on top of each other as the seat of a swing), group slide (seated angle in a line, lean to each side), bird, apple picking stretch, basket (easy pose with legs as the basket), up dog, downward facing dog, cat, dress-up shoes (big steps around the mats like walking in big shoes), chair, frog, candle, palming for warming hands by the fire, mouse (childs pose), snow (standing star with wiggling fingers), snowman (freeze in mountain, then melt), sled (seated forward fold), “I am loved”, crescent moon, star, group table pose (to make the long Thanksgiving table)]. This book has great rhyming text and a great “thankfulness” message.
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr [standing star, elephant, “I am loved”, butterfly, flower, sun stretch & breath, tree, giraffe, monkey, belly breathing w/ rubber duck on belly, blowing bubbles, up dog, down dog, cat, fish, mountain, choo-choo breath, penguin, pass ball w/ feet, yoga freeze dance, feather blowing, gyan mudra reading glasses, turn legs like pages in book, bunny breath, “I am strong”, pick up leaves, freeze & melt, bear walk, bear hug, group table]
Free coloring sheets: http://www.toddparr.com/imgs/fun/thankful-book-coloring.pdf (4 page PDF)
Turkey Day by Grace Maccarone [bed, tick-tock toes clock, stretch & yawn, house rooftop partners, bike pedaling, car (w/ pool noodle steering wheel), bus (sitting on heels bouncing as bus drives), choo-choo breath, bridge, boat, airplane, marching (cross crawl hike), dancer, skateboard (Warrior II), group table]. This book has great rhyming text.
Other books for a “thankfulness” & “gratitude” theme:
Giving Thanks by Jonathan London (a great story about a gratitude walk. I love the concept and illustrations but did not like the wording that was giving thanks “to” things vs. thanks “for” them so I changed that wording.)
I’m Thankful by Terri-Sue Hill
Thanksgiving is For Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland
Print off these leaves. The kids write, draw or paste picture symbols on the leaves to show what they are thankful for & then hang the leaves off your arms (aka. branches) in “Thankful Tree” pose. http://www.guildcraftinc.com/guildcraft/GuildcraftThanksleaves.pdf
Waves of Gratitude:
Love this idea from Homestead Survival: Start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. on New Years Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year.
“The definition of appreciation is “gratitude; thankful recognition.” Developing gratitude helps students to focus on what is working in their lives, and also to train their minds to notice the good things that are all around. Learning to appreciate even the little things in life, such as a sunny day, a smile or a good meal, improves one’s outlook substantially, and helps to develop a more optimistic and resilient attitude. What we focus on is what grows — and gratitude promotes positivity.”
Cool resource on teaching gratefulness – http://www.handsonscotland.co.uk/flourishing_and_wellbeing_in_children_and_young_people/positive_attitudes/gratitude/gratitude.html.
3 simple ideas for teaching gratitude – PDF at: http://www.raisinghappiness.com/storage/gratitude.pdf
Great “gratitude” post from Yogi Beans: http://blog.yogibeans.com/2011/10/26/gratitude-adjustment/
How to start a Gratitude Calendar: http://www.ehow.com/print/how_2147560_start-gratitude-calendar.html
Ideas for teaching gratitude from Gratefulness.org (A Network for Grateful Living): http://www.gratefulness.org/readings/practice_gratitude.htm
How to instill gratitude habits in your kids? Great The Wall Street Journal articles – “Kids who feel and act grateful tend to be less materialistic, get better grades, set higher goals, complain of fewer headaches and stomach aches and feel more satisfied with their friends, families and schools than those who don’t, studies show.” http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/2010/11/22/gratitude-the-wonder-drug/ & http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704243904575630541486290052.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsFifth (via the ChildLight Yoga Facebook page)
Thanksgiving Kids Yoga post on Mind Body Green by Sarah Herrington of Om Schooled: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-3533/Kids-Yoga-Thanksgiving-Style.html
Gratitude Challenge & So Thankful posts on the Alluem Kids Yoga blog: http://alluemkids.blogspot.com/2011/11/15-day-gratitude-challenge.html & http://alluemkids.blogspot.com/2009/11/so-thankful.html.
5 Fun Ways to Teach Gratitude to Children post by Teresa Power of The ABC’s of Yoga for Kids: http://www.examiner.com/article/5-fun-ways-to-teach-gratitude-to-children
A Gratitude Reflection Activity for Children from Yoga 4 Classrooms: http://track.namastelight.com/v/443/872c14bb8e89ebc3884663a06f5edcf53d36765b5b371167
This card is one of 67 activities in the Yoga 4 Classrooms Card Deck.
Playlist: Please be mindful of kids individual sensory needs when using music in a group setting (http://omazingkidsyoga.com/music/) 🙂
Making Pie by Kira Willey
What Are You Thankful For? by Elana Jagoda
I Am Blessed by Bunny Hull & Friends
Thanks Be by Betsy Rose
Grateful by Aaron Nigel Smith and the One World Chorus, featuring Dan Zanes
Orange You Grateful? by Kidding Around Yoga (activity to go with the song: http://kiddingaroundyoga.com/pass-the-orange)
Thanksgiving by Si Kahn
Thanksgiving Song by Mary Chapin Carpenter
Thanksgiving Day by John McCutcheon
Over the River and Through the Woods by Dog On Fleas
(I’m Gonna Eat) On Thanksgiving Day by Laurie Berkner
Thanksgiving Waltz by Jay Ungar & Molly Mason
Grateful by Charity and the JAMband (*** FREE download until 11/25/12: http://charityandthejamband.bandcamp.com/track/grateful)
The Gratitude Song by Michael Farr
Singer/songwriter Michael Farr performs an inspiring song joined with beautiful images to get you feeling thankful! From this great Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bf1akDYakw.
Free mp3: http://www.willowandtheverse.com/parknride/gratitude.mp3; Lyrics: http://www.willowandtheverse.com/lyrics/gratitudesong.html. Hear more great songs from Michael Farr & make gratitude donations on his website: http://www.willowandtheverse.com.
I Give Thanks by Kristen Cook – free mp3 download: http://kristencook.bandcamp.com/track/i-give-thanks
Looking for more song ideas? Check out this great Thanksgiving playlist post on yogainmyschool.com: http://yogainmyschool.com/2011/11/04/thanksgiving-playlist-for-kids-teens-yoga-class/.
I’m Thankful Turkey Handprint Coloring Sheet – Trace the child’s handprints on this page to make the turkey’s feathers. Then write one thing you are thankful for on each “feather”.
Wonderful “Thanks & Giving Trees” printable from the Chocolate on my Cranium blog:
Template for a turkey craft: http://shared.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/holidays/feltturkey.pdf
This Gratitude Tree craft from Green Kid Crafts looks fun to make! http://greenkidcraftsblog.com/2012/11/08/holiday-crafts-for-families-gratitude-tree/#
Another fun version of a gratitude tree from Projects for Preschoolers: http://www.projectsforpreschoolers.com/making-a-thankful-tree-and-21-days-of-contagious-gratitude/ & more of their crafts: http://www.projectsforpreschoolers.com/holidays/thanksgiving/.
Make a gratitude garland: http://mamascouts.blogspot.com/2011/11/make-gratitude-garland.html & another version at: http://www.simplymodernmom.com/2009/11/thanksgiving-garland/.
Tons of great ideas on this blog post! http://raisingfigureskaters.com/2012/10/31/november-family-gratitude-activities/
ABC’s of Thanksgiving printable: http://thisreadingmama.com/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/10/ABCs-of-Thanksgiving.pdf (57 page PDF). This would be cool to incorporate with yoga poses for each letter from any of the alphabet-inspired kids yoga products (The ABCs of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Anne Power – book & yoga cards; Asana Alphabet: Yogi & Yogette Learn the Asana Alphabet; Elahi Yoga Student Workbook; Frog Yoga Alphabet Teacher Training Package by Young Yoga Masters; Learn With Yoga ABC Yoga Cards for Kids cards by Addyria)
Fun snack idea from “Cooking Up Good Speech“! See details on how to make it: http://speechsnacks.com/2012/11/juiciest-turkey-ever-speechsnacks-direction-sequencing/
Looking for more fall activities & ideas? Check out this updated blog post. I have added several new things for 2012: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2011/09/24/happy-fall-fun-fall-books-activities/ & the Apple Farmer Annie post: https://omazingkidsllc.com/2012/09/15/apple-farmer-annie-seed-to-farmers-market-kids-yoga-lesson-plan/.
See more Gratitude & Thankfulness ideas in this album on the OMazing Kids Facebook page:
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William A. Ward.
What are you thankful for?
Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP, IAYT, RCYP-2
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities
Radiant Child Yoga Certified – Levels 1 & 2
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OMazing Kids LLC is an organization that promotes inclusive wellness activities for kids of all abilities. The blog and social media pages share information about books, DVD’s, CD’s, games and other products specifically designed for kids wellness, mindfulness and relaxation, product reviews & giveaways, lesson plan & activity ideas, research, kids wellness in the news and a connection corner with listings of individuals doing adapted yoga and those offering trainings.
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