Farm Stand Storytime: Thanks & Giving

thankful leaves craft

Friday was the last Farm Stand Storytime of the season and also the last day the farm stand was open before shutting down for the winter. There was a request to do a Thanksgiving storytime, which I decided to shift to a storytime about gratitude instead of the expected turkeys and pilgrim routine. In the past, I’ve performed Thanksgiving storytimes mindfully, but the truth is we don’t celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving in my own home. It’s a holiday I’m not especially fond of that I feel deserves to be looked at critically when discussing with children (perspective on that HERE).


The theme for this storytime was “Thanks & Giving” (borrowed title from Mel’s Desk, because Mel is wonderfully wonderful and am so thankful for her early literacy brain). It was a chilly morning (low 40’s), but luckily Crabtree Farm’s new education facility was open and I sat next to a warm stove throughout the storytime. Afterwards, we made “thankful leaves” for our post-storytime extension activity. It was a good November-y time! Here’s the rundown:

Thanks & Giving Storytime

First, I welcomed everyone and we opened with the rhyme I’ve been using for each Farm Stand Storytime session:

I wiggle my fingers
I wiggle my toes
I wiggle my shoulders
I wiggle my nose
I give my hands a clap
I put them in my lap.

wondering box

Wondering Box: Then I asked the audience if we should look inside the wondering box to see what we were going to be talking about during stortyime. I did my regular routine of peeking inside and then closing the box shut a few times and then opening for all to see. This month it was a picture of my family. I showed the audience and then looked at the picture and said: “It’s a picture of my family. My family makes me feel happy. I am thankful for my family and the way they make me feel inside and out.”

What is “gratitude”? I held up a sign with the word gratitude I said the word and then sounded it out running my finger under the letters.  We discussed how “gratitude” means to “be thankful, feel thankful, to show thankfulness”.  A person can be thankful for a lot of things… Their family, the farm that grows food, food that gives us energy to grow big and strong, or stories that prod us to think and use our imaginations. You can feel gratitude for many things and there are many ways to show it as well. The songs and stories shared today are about feeling gratitude and showing gratitude.

Thanks to the Animals

Thanks to the Animals by Allen Sockabasin, illustrated by Rebekah Raye

I started with a beautiful story by a Passamaquoddy storyteller about a family that is migrating for the winter, an accident, and how the forest animals come to the rescue. While traveling inland for the winter, Baby Zoo Sap falls off the sled while his family is sleeping. After hearing the baby’s cry of distress, one by one the animals of the woods come keep him warm and safe. It is a story that represents “an offering of thanks to the animals that sustained the Passamoquoddy people through the generations”. I love this beautiful book and thought it would pair nicely with a flannel board prop, so I printed pictures of all the animals, drew baby Zoo Sap to the best of my ability (and am pretty proud of how he turned out!), laminated them, and stuck magnets to the back. They worked perfectly with my husband’s old white board!

thanks for the animals prop


thanks for the animals flannel board

I started with a blank white board and when Zoo Sap falls off the sled in the story, I placed him on the board. After reading each page, I added the animals mentioned on that page. The kids really enjoyed seeing photographs of real animals illustrated in the book! After reading we transitioned into a song about being thankful.


“If You’re Thankful and You Know It”
Adaption of traditional song to the tune” “If You’re Happy and You Know It” as seen on ALSC Blog

If you’re thankful and you know it,
clap your hands.
If you’re thankful and you know it,
clap your hands.
If you’re thankful and you know it,
Then your face will surely show it,
If you’re thankful and you know it,
clap your hands.

Continue using these verses:

..Stomp your feet
….Shout “I am!”
……..Do all three! (clap, clap, stomp, stomp, “I am!”)


Bear Says Thanks

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

Bear Says Thanks is a celebration of giving, friendship, being thankful, and showing gratitude by saying, “THANKS”. After reading this story I asked the kids turn to their neighbor whether it be a parent, or sibling, or friend and tell them “THANKS for being my ________” or “Thank you” for anything they felt thankful about that particular person.


“The More We Get Together”
Adaptation of traditional song.

The more we get together,
Together, together,
The more we get together,
The happier we’ll be.
Cause your friends
Are my friends,
And my friends,
Are your friends.
The more we get together,
The happier we’ll be.

The more we read together
Together, together,
The more we read together,
The happier we’ll be.
Cause caring is sharing,
And sharing is caring.
The more we read together,
The happier we’ll be.

I’m not sure where this adaptation came from, but I learned it from the librarians I worked with at Lawrence Public Library. And the idea to use this song for storytime came from Mel’s Desk as well as the next book and song.


day by day

Day by Day by Susan Gal

I love this story and was reminded about it reading this list of picture books about gratitude. And it was perfect for Farm Stand Storytime, because it talked about food harvested (a former Farm Stand Storytime theme), being thankful for friends and family, for the days gone by, the change of seasons, and transitions.


thanks a lot flannel

“Thanks a Lot”
by Raffi

The very last song of storytime was a flannel board that came from Mel’s Desk (Mel has all the ideas! I know!!). I made it the night before using this template provided on her blog. I also had families sit close and hug and sway if they liked. I sang and placed the flannel pieces up as the song played (lyrics can be found HERE). It was a sweet, quiet ending to storytime.

After “Thanks a Lot”,  I asked the children what they were thankful for. I said I was thankful for them and how special each one of them are, for sharing stories together, and for the time we have had together on the farm that morning. There is so much to be thankful for. I then invited them to write what they were thankful for on a leaf and decorate the leaf to be hung from the farm stand.


Thankful Leaves

thankful leaves project for kids

Using collected fall leaves, these metallic markers my daughter is a huge fan of, and gel markers, the kids decorated leaves and wrote what they were thankful for on the back of them. It’s a simple craft inspired by this projectan old recycled storytime project of mine, and the “Leaf Poem and Memories” project from a new favorite book, Make It Wild!:101 Things to Make and Do Outdoors by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield. I dumped a bag of leaves I collected the day before on the table along with several sets of markers and the kids went to work. Once they were done, they gave me their leaf that I attached to fishing line and hung from the farm stand.





thankful leaves craft

thankful leaf



thankful leaves 1


farm stand storytime thanks and giving

The leaves were adorned with names of friends and family members as well as “family”,  “mommy”, “daddy”, “my cats”, “nature”, and “storytime” were the the few of the thankful messages. By the time the leaves were all hung, the storytimers had left, the farm was quiet, and the thankful leaves danced around on the breeze and sunbeams.  It was a happy ending. I’m grateful for this collaboration with Crabtree Farms, for the storytime kids, and for all the librarians, educators, and kid lit lovers near and far who share their smarty ideas and wisdom. Thank you!


3 Responses to “Farm Stand Storytime: Thanks & Giving”

  1. Kelly Nelson says:

    Hi there,

    I love, love, love your blog!!! I am the marketing specialist for a small library in Wisconsin – the Winneconne Public Library. I am interested in starting a blog (personally), and my husband works in a computer/graphics/printing industry, so he is uber-concious of viruses/hackers/privacy-matters.

    When I have looked into starting a blog, he immediately panics about security-issues – is this something that you worried about at all? I would so appreciate the perspective of someone who is successfully writing a blog and how they handle security concerns.

    Keep up the good work – I really enjoy your blog, and had our library “Like” it on Facebook! We try to do many innovative things at our library in order to stay relevant and partner with community groups for the betterment of the library.

    Kindest regards and thank you in advance, if you should have any advice (:

    • Rebecca says:

      Hi Kelly! Thank you so much for your kind words!! I’m excited to check out your library home and plan on doing so after writing this comment :)

      For the most part, I am relatively comfortably with having a personal blog. If I feel uncomfortable about posting something, I don’t. It has been an invaluable tool for building professional relationships and dear friends I would otherwise never have meet. If you ever feel uneasy about blogging, you can always set it to private or take the blog down. Both Blogger and WordPress have privacy security settings to do so. If you want to talk about it more, feel free to shoot me an email! I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. And if you start a blog, please send it my way! I’d love to read it!


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  1. […] killjoy. I like gratitude. And little kids with pretty fall leaves. Rebecca, who I love, did a Farm Stand Storytime, which is incredibly rad, about Thanks & Giving. It’s a really cool storytime, with, […]

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