This week, friends and families around the country will gather to celebrating Thanksgiving. They’ll have delicious food, spirited conversation and hopefully some good football. (Go Hawks!) It’s also another opportunity to incorporate early literacy into your time together. Here are some ideas to help you write, talk, sing, play and read with your child during the holiday.

Write: Odds are you’ll have some type of pie for dessert. Why not take that whipped cream, cover a table or counter with it, and invite your toddlers and preschoolers to practice their letters in the fluffy whiteness?

Talk: Thanksgiving is a time when generations can mingle in the same room. Encourage storytelling between generations. You can also ask kids to guess what ingredients are in each dish or describe where they think each ingredient came from.

Sing: 5 Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Fence

     5 Little pumpkins sitting on a fence (one hand flat to make a fence and other hand with fingers spread out sits perpendicular on top of it)

     A cook came passing by (pretend walk, swinging your arms)

     Oh ho! cried she, I’ll take 1 home,

     I’ll make a pumpkin pie (fingers make a round pie shape)

     (sing the above and count back from 5 4 3 2 1. Then end with...) 

     No little pumpkins sitting on the fence

     A cook came passing by

     Oh no! cried she, I’ll take none home

     I’ll have no pumpkin pie. (everyone pretend cries together)

Play: Are you a family that will be watching football pretty much from when you wake in the morning until you go to sleep? AAP screen time recommendations and family screen time plans aside, take this day as an opportunity to play catch with your children during commercial breaks and halftimes. Even babies can practice rolling balls back and forth. Catching (or rolling) and throwing balls helps build motor and spatial skills, not to mention offers great bonding time.

Read: Odds are most of the typical Thanksgiving books are already checked out at the library. Here are a few about the subject of being thankful, collaborating on a common goal (such as making a giant meal!), and the comfort of eating with family. Perhaps read a book after dessert to help settle the stomach.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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