4 Popular Thanksgiving Books for Kids

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Turkey” by GraphicMama-team is licensed under CC by 2.0

Thanksgiving is almost upon us and it’s a good idea to let our kids know what the festive occasion is all about. Here are 4 popular Thanksgiving books which will make enjoyable reads for kids this season.

Thanks for Thanksgiving (by Julie Markes): There is always, always, always something to be thankful for, and Thanksgiving is just an excuse to give thanks for all the little blessings that we have. Thanks for Thanksgiving has beautiful illustrations and thoughtful words which remind us to be grateful for all the small things in our life which make us happy.

The Thankful Book (by Todd Parr): Music makes one want to dance, having feet helps one run around and play, hugs and kisses from parents and loved ones make one feel loved. The Thankful Book reminds one of all life’s special little moments through its brightly colored pages, ideal for preschool-aged kids.

Thank You, Thanksgiving (by David Milgrim): Thank You, Thanksgiving is the story of a little girl who goes on an errand for her mother. She feels grateful for the birds singing along the way, the beautiful clouds in the sky and the warmth of her boots.

The Great Turkey Race (by Steve Metzger): Farmer Joe needs to pick a Thanksgiving turkey and Cassie, Wing and Ollie decide to have a contest for the same. Who will emerge to be the winner from among the three friends who live together on a farm?

Happy reading and Happy Thanksgiving!

Different Types of Fun Halloween Games for Kids

Halloween is all about ghosts and witches, sinister black cats and grinning jack-o’-lanterns. Or in Shakespeare’s words:
‘Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.’

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Pumpkins” by Antranias is licensed under CC by 2.0

Halloween is also a time of bonding with near and dear ones, of scaring the wits out of one another by jumping out unannounced from the shadows, of doing up the décor of the house together to make each nook and cranny look creepy and of course, of playing fun games and spending quality time together as a family.

Talking about games, here are a couple of ideas which would be ideal for this Halloween.

Indoor Games
The classic bowling-turned-mummy bowling game is a big hit indoors. All you’ve got to do is wrap up each of the bowling pins in swathes of toilet paper and mark out eyes at the top with a black marker, so that the 10 pins appear to be staring at you through unblinking eyes like wrapped, ghostly mummies. After that, it’s not how you bowl, it’s how you roll! This can be given another interesting twist if you use discarded tin cans for the purpose. Ask your kid to double it up as a painting activity and paint scary faces on the cans, then stack them one on top of the other for a novel type of bowling game. If younger kids are involved, make them stand in a circle, hand them a ball of black yarn and let them throw the ball to each other in a random fashion, holding on to one side of the string when it lands on each of them – thus creating a haphazard spider web in the process, in true Halloween style.

Online Games
The plethora of online games available in the present day and age is truly mind-boggling, Halloween or otherwise. A few examples are as follows: directing a witch flying around on a broomstick to collect as many pumpkins as possible, jumping high on a trampoline to catch monsters which are in free fall from a haunted house, pet games which allow you to use magical paint brushes to get your virtual pets their own unique Halloween costumes, mixing up creepy crawlies of all kinds to come up with weird potions, and lots more to choose from. The list is endless!

Outdoor Games
Nothing like a ghostly Halloween party in the bright sunlit garden or backyard! Kids will enjoy taking part in a ghost relay race in which they are required to take a white ghostly balloon from the starting line to the finishing line without once holding the balloon in their hands – the rule is to keep punching it in the air and not let it fall to the ground even once before finishing the race. If there is a larger group of slightly older kids, a good idea would be to provide them with old and ragged clothes, pumpkins and hay to construct a scarecrow – the team whose scarecrow is the scariest one in the end will be declared the winner. When it comes to outdoor games for Halloween, the more kids involved, the merrier it turns out to be!

Have a fa-BOO-lous Halloween!

Thanksgiving Turkey

This one is not meant to be eaten; it’s more of the crafty type of turkey!

What You Need:
- Small pom-poms
- Sketch pens
- Glue-on googly eyes
- Pine cones
- Colored pasteboard
- A pair of scissors

What To Do:
Using the pair of scissors, cut strips of the colored pasteboard paper (dimensions of about 2 inches x 4 inches).
Let the kids pick three things they are thankful for and pen down one with a sketch pen on each color strip.
Using red paper, cut small diamond shapes which can be folded in half to make the beaks of the turkeys.
Now glue on the googly eyes as well as the beaks onto the pom-poms.
Insert the colored strips of paper into the bottom ends of the pine cones so that whatever is written on them can be read easily.
To make your turkeys have feathered tails, glue the pom-poms onto the tops of the pine cones.

And you’re done!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Where to Find Online Games for Your Classroom

The practice of using kids’ online games to teach important scholastic skills has become widespread. Teachers see an obvious improvement in student engagement and interest when an online game is introduced as part of the lesson. As these teachers share their experiences with others, more and more teachers are motivated to try using learning games with their own students. However, when it comes to actually implementing this practice, teachers find themselves stuck with several questions about the process. Among other concerns, they aren’t sure what games to use, or where to find good classroom games on the topic that they’re covering in class. Here I list several websites where teachers can find great kids’ online games for their classrooms.

Grand Prix Multiplication

1. Scholastic
This page was clearly designed with teachers in mind. The online games are categorized by subject and divided by grade level. Each game is accompanied by a brief description explaining what topics are covered and what the game is about. This saves teachers valuable time that would otherwise be spent playing each game to figure out whether it can be used in the classroom. In addition to this, each game also comes with a Teacher’s Guide that suggests various ways of using the game in the classroom! The kids’ games can all be completed in 15 – 30 minutes. You can find games for Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Science and Spanish.

2. BBC Bitesize
This site was built to support the British school curriculum, but the games and activities are useful for teachers and students anywhere in the world. Apart from kids’ online games, you can find educational videos, teacher’s guides, lesson plans and more. The Doctor Who coding game for kids is worth a special mention. The website even has resources for subjects such as Expressive Arts, Drama, Physical Education and Religious and Moral education. Kids can hear from experts in the field with how-to’s, demonstrations, tips and more.

3. Academic Skill Builders
Also known as arcademics, this website mixes arcade games and academic skills to get students excited about their lessons. The site features plenty of free online kids’ games on topics such as shapes, integers, algebra, language arts, geography and more. The games target students in grades 1 – 6. For an annual fee, teachers can upgrade to Arcademics plus, which provides cool features such as custom game content, performance score reports, video lessons and more.

4. AAA Math
AAA Math is a simple website that makes math practice more effective and enjoyable for kids. Covering a wide range of topics and grade levels, AAA Math provides short lessons and practice material for each topic. The idea is to make math practice interactive so that students get immediate feedback when they provide a wrong answer and are able to correct their mistakes. AAA Math also has simple games to remove the monotony from math practice. However, these games are very different from the online kids’ games found on other websites. The site monitors students’ performance and encourages them to do better with games like ‘Countdown’ (How many correct answers can the students get in 60 seconds?) and 20 Questions (How fast can students get 20 more correct answers than wrong answers?). For many teachers, these are the perfect kind of math games as the focus is on practice and self-improvement without taking up extra time for mindless play.

Every classroom is different and what works for one teacher may fail terribly for the next. Go through these websites and decide which ones can work for you based on your unique requirements. And do let me know if you have other great resources to add to this list.

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I am an assistant teacher and my aim is to curate unique learning tips and techniques customized towards kids.

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