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finger playThanksgiving is just around the corner, and with it, comes time for fun and feasting — and, of course, opportunities to see old things in a new sensory-friendly way.

As parents, we are always looking for activity ideas to engage our littlest sensory seekers while we prepare the Thanksgiving meal.

A Thanksgiving Finger Play is sure to entertain the kids while meeting their sensory needs at the same time!

Finger plays are fun for kids and unbeknownst to them, provide a great opportunity to practice fine motor skills and motor planning.  Deep breaths found in this Thanksgiving Finger Play can help to create inner calm – much needed on this potentially frenetic holiday.  Singing together in the kitchen offers an opportunity for engagement, social interaction, verbal skills and plain old fun.

So, in preparing for and celebrating Thanksgiving this year, add a new Thanksgiving Finger Play song to your preparation repertoire.

Smells Like Thanksgiving

(tune: Where is Thumbkin?)

Smells like Thanksgiving (point to your nose; take a deep breath)

Smells like Thanksgiving (point to your nose; take a deep breath)

MMMmmm good (rub tummy, follow with a little licking of lips for some extra oral motor work)

MMMmmm good (rub tummy, follow with a little licking of lips for some extra oral motor work)

I can smell the _______.  (fill in with a food — turkey, pie, corn)

I can smell the_______ . (repeat above)

Thanks for the food! (hands folded as if in prayer)

Thanks for the food! (hands folded as if in prayer)

Extend the Play

Cut & Glue

For more fine motor work, have your child cut pictures of food items out of magazines or supermarket fliers. Glue them onto paper as a collage, and, then, refer to it when singing for ideas for the fill-in line section of the song.  Explore Sensory Integration Experiences Through Art

Stimulate the Sniffer

Stimulate the olfactory sense by playing a guessing game. Instead of using Thanksgiving foods for the fill-in, make smelling bottles with different seasonal scents by adding dry spices, such as pumpkin spice, or a small drop of scented oils or extracts on a cotton ball. Have child sniff and guess the scents.

Sing & Dance

For gross motor and proprioceptive fun, draw or print full-page-sized pictures of Thanksgiving-related foods.   Scatter the pictures on the ground, face down. Sing the song while dancing around the face down pictures.  When you get to the fill-in line, point to a child, who will pick up the nearest picture to do the fill-in.

Encourage Reading

For reading practice, write each word or phrase of the song on separate cards that can fit into a pocket chart. Have the child “write” the song by placing these in the correct order in the pocket chart. For extra fun, have a variety of food word cards or picture cards that the child can use for the fill in section of the song.

Enjoy this fun sensory activity to engage and entertain your littlest sensory seekers during your Thanksgiving preparations – you may just end up creating a new family tradition! Wishing you a Sensational Thanksgiving!

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Martianne is a homeschooling mom with over 20 years of experience in education, youth work and dramatic arts both in the United States and abroad. With certifications as a Middle School Generalist and English 8-12 teacher, plus a drawer full of certificates from a wide variety of professional development workshops and graduate courses, she brings a comprehensive “traditional” background to her present-day creative pursuits. Visit Martianne at Training Happy Hearts.