10 Fat Turkeys and a Craft

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This workshop was all about Thanksgiving, so we read 10 Fat Turkeys, a silly story just right for the occasion.  It’s a great ESL book – it’s simple, there is some counting and some rhyming and it’s just great all around fun.   And, what better craft to do than a gobble gobble wibble wobbling turkey:


  • construction paper
  • an empty thread spool (we didn’t have any- ours is jimmy-rigged, you can read the explanation lat the bottom)
  • a straw
  • paperclip
  • 2 rubber bands
  • goggly eyes
  • tape
  • colored pens

Here’s what you do:

Step 1: Trace your hand onto the construction paper.

Step 2:  Color and decorate your hand like a turkey (don’t forget the beak and the red wobbly thing on the nose).

Step 3:  Cut out your turkey (make sure that the bottom part of the turkey is flat) and glue on the googly eyes

Now comes the hard part:

Step 4:    Cut a piece of straw about 2.5cm longer than the spool. Put the paper clip onto one of the rubber bands and thread the rubber band into the straw (you may need a skewer or toothpick to help you do this).

Step 5:  Thread the straw/rubber band/ paperclip through the spool. Push through until the end of the straw with the paperclip is flush with the spool.

** MacGyver’d spool: we didn’t have any spools, so we used an awl to punch holes into milk bottle caps.  We took old paper towel rolls and cut them about the size of spools and glued the caps onto each end. Tadah -our makeshift spools.**

Step 6:  Secure the paperclip to the spool with a piece of tape.

Step 7:  Punch a hole into the FRONT of the turkey and slide it onto the straw/spool contraption.  Cut another piece of straw about 5cm long and through the rubber band.

Step 8:  Wind it up and watch your turkey wobble.

Thanks to Heather Swain Books for this fab idea!

I know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie is a funny story about a little old lady who overeats on Thanksgiving.  Who hasn’t done that before?  Read the book and see what happens to her as a result!

This is a wonderful ESL book since it introduces many traditional Thanksgiving foods and has a lot of repetition.  If you have been playing our Thanksgiving Bingo, then you will already know the vocabulary since it includes all of the things the little old lady eats.

These are pieces for a story board.:

Print them out on thick paper, laminate them, cut them out and attach magnets (or velcro) to the back.  Using a magnetic board (or a felt board), use the pieces to retell the story.  Kids love to attach the pieces and pretend to eat them or pretend to be grossed out by them-depending on what piece it is.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, this story is a Thanksgiving take on There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, a classic story and song for kids.  There are many versions and variations because it such a fun song and easy to learn.

Handprint Turkey

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A simple activity and good keepsake to make for Thanksgiving is a hand print Turkey.


construction paper: red     yellow     orange     brown
a pencil        googly eyes        scissors        glue

1.  Trace your hand onto the red, yellow and orange paper.  Cut out.

2. On the brown paper cut out a snowman/barbapapa shape for the head.

3. On orange paper, cut out 3 small triangles for the beak and feet. On red paper cut out a drop shape for the red piece on the beak.

4.  In any order, glue the 3 hands one on top of the other. Glue the head/body shape on top of the hands.  Glue on the eyes, nose, and red piece.

5. Tadah-you have finished your turkey! Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble!

Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin Pie is a traditional Thanksgiving dessert. This recipe is very long so kids will need lots of help from parents!

(This is not an actual picture of pumpkin pie, it’s from the bingo game…yours will look totally different :o)

The Pumpkin Puree (use a 5 to 8-pound pumpkin*):

  1. Cut off the top of the pumpkin and scrape out all the seeds and membrane (a large metal serving spoon works well).
  2. Carefully cut it into sections with a paring knife.
  3. Cut the skin off the flesh. Steam the flesh until tender.
  4. Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Do NOT boil pumpkin – it will soak up the water and make a watery pie.

The Pumpkin Pie:

  • 1 9-inch unbaked pie crust (like a brisee)
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • Sweetened whipped cream as an accompaniment
  1. Preheat oven to 425*F (220*C). Prepare pastry; set aside.
  2. Combine brown sugar, sugar, flour, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt in bowl. Stir in pumpkin puree. Add eggs and heavy cream to the pumpkin mixture; mix well.
  3. Pour filling into unbaked pie crust (see hint). Bake pie in the middle of oven for 15 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350*F (180*C) and bake for 45 minutes longer, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Keep refrigerated.
  4. Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Hint: To help prevent the pie crust from becoming soggy in a custard-style pie, carefully break one of the recipe’s eggs into unbaked pie crust, swish it around to cover entire surface with egg white and then pour the egg out into your mixing bowl for the filling.

*Small, immature pumpkins provide the most flavor. Pumpkins smaller in size are more tender and less stringy than the larger variety. Select pumpkins anywhere between five to eight pounds.

*Note from Louise: I can’t remember where this recipe is from, I found it on the internet when I first started doing Thanksgiving in Italy.  When (if) I find the original, I will give credit where it is due.

Thanksgiving Bingo

For every holiday there is a bingo! Here is the latest…Thanksgiving Bingo!  This bingo is about many of the foods and things you may see during this holiday.

Preparation: As usual, to make this bingo game, print off as many cards as you need and then all of the bingo markers.  Cut the cards in half and cut out all the bingo markers.

How to play: Each player gets a card and all the markers go into a bag(or a box or a bowl).  The Caller fishes out a marker, says what it is and shows it to the players.  The first player to raise her hand and say what it is, gets the marker to cover that space on her board. The first one to cover all of her board and say BINGO is the winner! (You could change this and have the winner say ‘Happy Thanksgiving‘ instead of bingo, this a good ESL challenge for Italian kids since the H and TH are not found in the language).

Bingo Cards:

Bingo Markers: