Catch That Turkey! A Simple Thanksgiving Play

What is a Reader’s Theater or simple play that I can do with my preschoolers that is about the first Thanksgiving?

So, I was just trying to find a fun Thanksgiving Reader’s Theater that I could do with my preschoolers. I especially wanted something about the first Thanksgiving because I wanted to do the Reader’s Theater right after making these awesome Native American Leaf Headbands.

Well, unfortunately, my search turned out a great big nothing. I guess no one thinks preschoolers are old enough for Reader’s Theater. The truth is, they aren’t. The whole point of Reader’s Theater is reading with expression. Since preschoolers usually don’t know how to read yet, the reading with expression obviously doesn’t work so well.

Still, I think preschoolers are old enough to act out a simple play so I searched for a simple Thanksgiving play. Well, that search also turned up nothing. So, did I give up? Of course not, I did what any self-respecting preschool teacher (with a background in writing plays) would do. I wrote something up myself. I called it, Catch that Turkey!

Catch that Turkey Readers Theater -- Thanksgiving Play

If you are interested, you can download this very simple Thanksgiving Reader’s Theater for preschoolers-2nd graders. Be advised, it isn’t really a Reader’s Theater in preschool because your preschoolers won’t actually be reading. It is a very simple play though with parts simple enough to memorize.

Before or after doing this Thanksgiving play, you might want to talk about some of the following facts about the first Thanksgiving:

  • The first Thanksgiving was not called Thanksgiving. It was called Harvest Home and it was a feast celebrating a good harvest.
  • The feast was attended by both adults and children and both Pilgrims and Native Americans.
  • There were about 50 Pilgrims and about 90 Native Americans.
  • The feast lasted three days and it included eating, dancing, singing, and games.
  • At the first Thanksgiving, pumpkins, corn, and fish were served. Turkey was probably served also.
  • Cranberries were not actually served at the first Thanksgiving, but they are a Thanksgiving tradition today.

The “catch the ring” game mentioned in the play is a real game that children used to play at the time of the first Thanksgiving. We made our “catch the ring” game using straws, yarn, and pipe cleaners.

First, we wrapped two pipe cleaners around a small cup. Leave about two inches that you don’t wrap. Pull the “ring” off the cup, then use the extra two inches to wrap around the ring to help it keep its shape.

Catch the Ring - a game played by Pilgrim children

Catch the Ring - a game played by Pilgrim children

Next, we cut a piece of yarn. One end was tied to the pipe cleaner “ring” and the other end was tied to the middle of the straw. I hot glued the yarn on the straw in place so that yarn didn’t move during the game.

Catch the Ring - a game played by Pilgrim children

Catch the Ring - a game played by Pilgrim children

To play the game, simply try to catch the pipe cleaner ring onto the top of the straw.

Catch the Ring - a game played by Pilgrim children

Catch the Ring - a game played by Pilgrim children