Thanksgiving Then and Now- Felt Board Activities


The smell of delicious food cooking, warm and cozy inside with people I love around me- these are some of the things that make Thanksgiving one of my favorite holidays. No matter what your religion or politics, it is a celebration that is shared by everyone all across the United States, and there is comfort in that thought.

Family gatherings encourage sharing recipes and stories, welcoming new family members to the family’s way of celebrating, remembering those who are no longer with us on that day, and sharing their stories, too! Life is full of change and traditions help us have some stability amidst the constant changes.

However, traditions also change with time. While the way we celebrate Thanksgiving today is based on our history, it is certainly not the same!  This opens up worlds of possibility for eliciting language at this time of year! 

Using felt boards is one of my favorite kinds of activities for little ones, since they learn best when able to move around. (Actually, I understand since I am happy that my job has me up and walking around the school every half hour!)

 You don’t need to buy an expensive felt board to use felt activities. Just go to your local fabric store and buy a large piece of felt in your favorite color! If you have a cork board on your wall, tack it there.

Making your own felt board is easy! Tips from Looks-Like-Language
If you don’t, you can get a dowel at any craft or hardware store, roll the edge of the felt piece over it and glue the ends together. Make sure that the ends of the dowel stick out far enough past the edges of the felt that you can tie the ends of a cord on each side. Yarn and string will also work.

Attach it to your wall with a nail, to a magnetic board using a strong magnetic clip that can grip the cord, to the hooks that are above the old fashioned blackboards… You get the idea- you can make it work! But, since I am a firm believer in providing visuals, here is a photo of a really funny wall hanging that my future daughter-in-law gave to me. I just threaded the dowel through the seam, tied a cord and presto- instant wall hanging!

While those felt sets they sell are adorable, don’t despair if you can’t afford them! You can take any unlaminated pictures you want to use and just glue them to pieces of felt with regular school glue. Spread it thin, let it dry and you have an instant felt set!

There are so many ways to use these!

*Have the students label the pictures they want to place. Use additional pictures, like my old and new houses in the photo, and you have a sorting or categorizing task.

*Ask a question about the vocabulary and let a student go find the answer. Give some clues about a one of the pictures and see if the student can find what you are talking about- an instant activity for building inference skills! Leave extra room around vocabulary pictures, make doubles, and you have a movement memory game.

*Turn one set of pictures over so that the photo doesn’t show, let the students take turns throwing a beanbag at the felt wall so that a picture falls down, or maybe more than one. The students only get to keep it if they use their target skill correctly. Bring the game back in the winter with a  soft fabric snowball and you have indoor snowball play!

Don’t have time to look for your own photos at this busy time of year? Check out Thanksgiving Fun- Then and Now or Thanksgiving Actions- A Then and Now Sentence Game.

Possibilities abound! How have you used felt boards in your therapy activities?
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