Celebrate Thanksgiving Day with “The Turkey Dance!”


Celebrate Thanksgiving with this lively song for children! This song is called “The Turkey Dance.” So use your imaginations and dance like . . . . turkeys!! Get a little silly and have a lot of fun!

Here are the lyrics, which go to the tune of “Turkey in the Straw.” 

The Turkey Dance

Words by Kathleen Kampa and Charles Vilina, music adapted from Turkey in the Straw

copyright © 2013 by Kathleen Kampa

Spoken: It’s Thanksgiving Day.  Let’s move like turkeys.

First, Move your elbows! (Imagine that these are wings!)

Move your elbows, do the Turkey dance

Move your elbows, do the Turkey dance

Stamp your feet and shout “Hooray!”

It’s Thanksgiving Day.

(You can add “Thank You” in any language you know.)

2. Now move your hips. (Imagine that this is your tail.)

Move your hips, do the Turkey dance

Move your hips, do the Turkey dance

Stamp your feet and shout “Hooray!”

 It’s Thanksgiving Day.

(You can add a “Thank You” in any language you know.)

3. Now move your knees. . . .

4. Now move your head . . . .

5. Now move your whole body!

Teacher’s Notes:

In this dance, students are pretending to be turkeys.

Before you put on the music, show students a picture of a turkey like the one in this blog.

I usually start with a little TPR by teaching this part of the song first– “Stamp your feet, then shout ‘Hooray!'” Stamp your feet, then jump in the air on “Hooray.” On “It’s Thanksgiving Day!” put your hands together.

My students added their own ideas between the verses. Some children enjoyed saying “Gobble! Gobble!” while others liked to say “Thank You” in a language they know.

Now teach the body part movements. Say “Move your elbows.”  These are the turkey’s wings.

Repeat with each body part listed below: hips/tail, knees, head, and whole body.

1.  Make turkey wings by moving your elbows.

2.  Make a tail by putting your hands behind your back, and moving your hips.

3.  Move your knees like you’re strutting.

4.  Move your head forward and back.

5.  Choose your favorite movements, or make some new ones.  Dance!

Here’s a video to show you the movements. 

For this wonderful “hoedown” song that children LOVE to dance to, download The Turkey Dance on iTunes! The arrangement is fun and lively.

And if you want to add an art project, check out Marnie’s blog, Carrots are Orange for some autumn Montessori activities focusing on turkeys. I especially like the Zentangle turkeys from Laura Hutchinson.

Have a wonderful day!


Here’s a very short clip of my Magic Time students doing “The Turkey Dance.”


ms kampa 12-8

Kathy Kampa is a teacher, author, and teacher-trainer who specializes in working with young learners. As a former PYP (Primary Years Program) teacher in Tokyo, Japan, she uses a globally-minded and inquiry-based approach to teaching through which students develop 21st-century skills. She also supports the development of English language skills by creating songs, chants, and TPR/movement activities targeted to young learners’ needs.

Kathy and her husband Charles Vilina are also co-authors of Magic TimeEverybody Up, the ELTon award-winning course Oxford Discover, and Beehive, all published by Oxford University Press.


Celebrate Thanksgiving with this silly song --The Turkey Dance! Gobble! Gobble!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s