Over the River and Through the Woods Lesson Plans

vintage Thanksgiving card

“Thanksgiving Day,” or Over the River and Through the Wood,as most of us usually think of it, is a poem by Lydia Maria Child, written in 1844.

Over the river and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifted snow, oh!

Over the river and through the wood,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play;
Oh, hear the bell ring, “Ting-a-ling-ling!”
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day-ay!

Over the river and through the wood,
Trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound!
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river and through the wood,
And straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood –
Now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Music

  • Sing along to a midi file here.
  • Download the sheet music here.
  • Hear the song sung, with some nice mandolin work, here.

English

  • Prepositions are important in this poem. Find them.
  • The silent “gh” also shows up quite a few times here — in ”through,” “sleigh,” and “straight.”
  • Catch all the lively verbs and point out how they add to the air of excitement.

Social Studies

  • The author was an abolitionist and a tireless worker for human rights. Practice research skills by learning about her life, apart from the poem that she is best known for today.
  • National Geographic has a lesson plan on mental mapping inspired by the song.
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