Over the River and Through the Wood: Preschool Thanksgiving Lesson

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One week. Can you believe it? We have ONE week until Thanksgiving! Are you ready? Because I’m still getting ready. I still have to plan our Thanksgiving dinner menu and get our house spic and span for my family’s upcoming visit. There is SO. MUCH. TO. DO. But I am feeling confident that we will get everything ready in time.

So since Thanksgiving is next week, this week for preschool I am teaching my toddlers all about Thanksgiving. I recently checked out from the library Over the River and Through the Wood: A Thanksgiving Poem by Lydia Maria Child. It’s a classic poem which is also a famous song.

You may have heard the song with the famous opening lyric: “Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go.” Only the poem reads “grandfather’s house” and not “grandmother’s house”. Do you remember the poem/song going this way? I remember being taught to sing it as “grandmother’s house”.

Lydia Maria Child Graphic
Photo Credit: Wikipedia and Google Books (Public Domain)

Well, anyway, it’s no big deal. I just noted that one slight difference.

I taught the Thanksgiving lesson to Zhen and Zechariah today (11/14/16). I decided to make the poem a fun read by adding a turkey puppet to the lesson. This really held Zechariah’s attention (17 months old), and I was surprised he sat through the entire poem reading.

Over the River Through the Wood
At the back of the book, the song sheet for “Over the River Through the Wood” is featured.

After I read the poem to the kids, I told them the poem is also a song. So I sang “Over the River and Through the Woods” to Zhen and Zechariah. They loved it! They started singing along with me, even though they didn’t know the words (LOL). I think the song made the story more interesting to them.

When we finished with the song, I put on a video of “Over the River and Through the Woods” which featured a compilation of pictures of horse carriage rides in the snow and other classic Fall festivities. Watching the song on YouTube really made the poem come to life for the kids.

Folkmanis Turkey Puppet
Zhen loved reading “Over the River and Through the Wood” with our turkey puppet.

After we read the story, sang the song, and watched the video, I had Zhen draw in her notebook her favorite parts about the story. She keeps a notebook for stories we read together for preschool. I ask her to draw her favorite thing about the story and then I date and label her drawing. It’s a great way to track her learning and it also makes for a precious keepsake.

Materials for lesson “Over the River and Through the Wood”

Over the River Through the Wood

Lesson Plan for “Over the River and Through the Wood”

  • Introduce the story to your child.
  • Read the story together. Use the puppet as you read for fun interaction with your child.
  • After you read the story, go back over the story by singing the song.
  • When you finish singing the song, ask your child what he/she liked about the story. You can have him/her draw a picture(s) about his/her favorite part(s).
  • Play the YouTube song “Over the River and Through the Woods”.

*Note: Let this lesson be your guide. Create the lesson to fit your child’s learning needs and interest level. Have fun and be silly!

Homeschool Edition
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Today’s post is a preschool lesson for Thanksgiving, featuring the classic poem “Over the River and Through the Wood” by Lydia Maria Child. I have included my affiliate links to make your search for the products easier. At no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase the product. Read my disclosure policy for more information.
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  1. Amy Jones

    November 16, 2016 at 20:20

    Seems like a fun and instructive book! I bet my nephew would love it

  2. Melanie Smith

    November 16, 2016 at 23:15

    This info is so good for kids. I will read it to my son, he loves to learn new things.

  3. aziel morte

    November 17, 2016 at 04:07

    Sounds so interesting and I bet this is a good information for the kids

  4. Tiffany Cardenas

    November 17, 2016 at 04:13

    Great lesson! I like the cohesion of everything.

    I remember it as “grandmother’s house,” too :).

  5. victoria

    November 17, 2016 at 06:49

    What an good books for my kids. My kids would love to explore and learn new things.

  6. Amber Myers

    November 17, 2016 at 09:02

    What a wonderful lesson! It’s always great when you can teach kids new things.

  7. Hey Sharonoox

    November 17, 2016 at 12:28

    Happy Thanksgiving to all! Our thanksgiving had already passed and we had a fun time. This looks like an interesting resource for children to learn more of the history behind Thanksgiving.

    1. Jennifer

      November 20, 2016 at 21:26

      Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

  8. Tam Gamble

    November 17, 2016 at 15:16

    This looks like such a great book to teach children about Thanksgiving. I am sure many would love it.

  9. Nazma Iqbal

    November 17, 2016 at 15:46

    such a great book.I actually have heard about this before.Definitely need to buy this for kids

  10. Wren

    November 18, 2016 at 14:52

    oh my goodness I love it! My youngest would simply adore it so much.

  11. Lisa Rios

    November 19, 2016 at 10:45

    Sounds like a wonderful book that could always help to teach our kids about the tradition of Thanksgiving. Such books could also help learn something new and my kids are going to love it!

  12. Enricoh Alfonzo

    November 21, 2016 at 07:36

    Se manifique! Love your photo journal & descriptions.This is such a great lesson plan. my dads a teacher. will share with him

  13. Leigh Anne Borders

    November 21, 2016 at 09:07

    What a fun and cute idea for this week! I will definitely use this with my little ones this week as we gear up for Thanksgiving!

  14. Rachel - Volcano Mama

    November 21, 2016 at 12:02

    Love this! We’ll have to work on this one, I can’t remember all the lyrics so I want to hear it again. I remember it as “grandmother” as well 🙂 Pinned to remember this one!

  15. Christina Aliperti

    November 21, 2016 at 18:11

    I love reading with my nieces. This sounds like it would be perfect to teach them about Thanksgiving in a way that they would love.

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