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Thanksgiving Family Day at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Saturday, November 15th from 11:30AM to 3PM         

EXPLORE: Action Words
ENRICH: Vocabulary: VERBS

ENGAGE: Talk about dance moves using a variety of verbs.



  • Attend the contra dance session. As you practice the partner folk dance, ask your child to see how many action words they can use to describe the moves of the dance. For example: spin, hop, slide, switch.

  • Depending on your child's language level, they can use each action word in a simple sentence, such as "We spin in a circle," or use several words to describe a sequence of actions, such as "We spin in a circle, slide to the side, and then switch partners."

Experience Thanksgiving through crafts, dance, music, and a gallery art scavenger hunt. A cornucopia of speech-language enrichment awaits...


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EXPLORE: Verbal Rehearsal
ENRICH: Auditory Memory

ENGAGE: Practice remembering items to find in the gallery scavenger hunt.



  • Read the list of scavenger hunt items out loud to your child. Start off by reading one or two items at a time and ask your child to remember them by repeating them back to you. As you search for those items, prompt verbal rehearsal by asking your child, "What do we need to find?" and see if they can continue to remember as they search. After you find the first items, try reading three or four items at a time. Keep building up the number of items you ask your child to remember and prompting him/her to verbally rehearse them as he/she looks for them.


BONUS Parent Tip: Explore other auditory memory strategies here.


EXPLORE: Multisyllabic Words
ENRICH: Phonemic Skills

ENGAGE: Improve production of words with 3 or more syllables.



  • There are many Thanksgiving-themed words and phrases that have 3, 4, and even 5 syllables: Thanksgiving, cornucopia, Mayflower, cranberry, Massachussets, apple pie, Plymouth Rock.

  • As you create your Thanksgiving centerpiece artwork, have your child practice pronouncing each word slowly, clapping or holding up a finger for each syllable to help him/her remember to say each part of the word. If your child is able to say the words correctly, have him/her make up a sentence using each word.


EXPLORE: Kinesics
ENRICH: The Ability to Comprehend Nonverbal Communication

ENGAGE: Practice reading body language and facial expressions



  • As you explore the museum, find paintings and sculptures that depict people. Point out elements of their body language to your child and ask them to guess what emotions the person might be feeling: "Look, he's frowning and his arms are crossed. How do you think he's feeling?"

  • If your child is having difficulty, give him/her options: "Do you think he's feeling angry or excited?"

  • If your child is easily able to identify the emotion, ask him/her to describe the person's body language themselves: "What do you notice about this person's face and body? Can you use that information to figure out how she's feeling?"



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