Mimi and the Grands

Educating Through Multiple Intelligences

Thanksgiving Parade Book Study

on November 15, 2014


This is a wonderful book about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

This is a wonderful book about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

If you love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you may be interested in this wonderful book by Melissa Sweet: Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade.

It is tradition in our household to watch this parade while my husband and I are preparing the bird and stuffing on Thanksgiving morning. We passed along this tradition to our children and the grands are now old enough that I hope they will begin to understand our love for this parade.

I have always loved the parade’s balloons, but didn’t know the story behind them. Balloons Over Broadway explains how the tradition of balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began, and discusses a bit about engineering and puppetry too.

I designed this book study as a four day lesson plan. Besides reading the book daily to them, I planned to do two different activities a day. If you use this unit study, it is best to choose at least one activity from each intelligence, but you don’t have to do all of them. I usually list more than one activity for each intelligence so I have choices depending on the needs of each child:

Tigger (6) should be fascinated by the engineering aspect of the story, so I’ll make sure to include activities involving simple machines. He is working on two syllable words in reading and spelling, so I will include an activity using some of the two syllable words in the story.

Kona (4) should enjoy activities with simple machines and puppet making. He’ll work on blending skills using one syllable words with short vowel sounds.

Tahoe (2) will practice the letters of the alphabet in the title. He will probably enjoy the balloon puppets and may enjoy an activity using simple machines. I’ll spend a lot of time on the pictures in the story to develop his vocabulary.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

  • Read the story daily. Discuss the pictures as well for comprehension and vocabulary development.
  • Syllabication: Using a few words from the story, discuss how to divide some double consonant words into two syllables. Word for this activity might include: shoppers, nodding, puppets, and balloons.
  • As you read aloud, stop at a few one syllable words with short vowels and work on blending the individual sounds together to decode the word.
  • Learn or recite the “Humpty Dumpty” nursery rhyme. (This was Kona’s idea. In the story, there is an illustration of Humpty Dumpty.)

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

  • Make a Parade Balloon (Animals or Thanksgiving themed)-This activity requires at least three helium balloons. I had Tahoe create a cat face using construction paper and dot paint. Then we glued the face to one balloon and tied the other two helium balloons together with it to keep the face aloft. This activity can then go along with the “Parade” idea listed under the Bodily-Kinesthetic section.
The construction paper weighs down one helium balloon too much. I had to tie two other helium balloons to the one with the construction paper face to keep it floating.

The construction paper weighs down one helium balloon too much. I had to tie two other helium balloons to the one with the construction paper face to keep it floating.

  • Watch the actual parade (or record it and show portions of it). My daughter found this link to print a bingo game while the grands watched the parade:  printables.familyeducation.com/thanksgiving-printables/thanksgiving-activities-and-traditions/72954.html
  • Put stickers on air filled balloons to look like animals and tie them with a string, or attach them to a stick.
  • Watch a video about Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Balloon Inflation:


Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

  • Improvise a puppet show with siblings or adults. Use puppets you already own, or create simple puppets with paper bags.
  • Play balloon volleyball with a sibling or adult using air-filled balloons. (We used a baby safety gate as our net, and had a spirited game with the three grands on one side and their father and I on the other side. I’m not sure who won, but we certainly had lots of giggles.)

Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

  • Parade around the house with the balloons characters you made in the Spatial Intelligence section. (You could include the Musical Intelligence by playing “I Love a Parade” or other band music as you march.)
  • Give each child an air-filled balloon and have them count the number of times they can hit the balloon before it hits the ground. (This activity kept them very busy one night while I was making dinner.)

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

  • Take your parade outside. Do you notice a difference with handling of your balloon outdoors compared to indoors?
  • Compare a helium balloon and air-filled balloon. Which gas would be best for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade? Which balloon would be easiest to step on and pop?

Logical/Mathematical (Number/Reasoning Smart)

  • Exploring pulleys: Have each child try to lift a heavy book (such as a hard bound dictionary). Then tie some string around the book, and drape the string over a rolling pin that someone else is holding. Pull on the loose end of the string to see if it is easier to lift the book. I found this idea, along with many others exploring simple machines, at this website:


  • Subtract 1924 (year of the very first Macy’s parade) from the current year.

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

  • Listen to song “I love a Parade” which is usually played at the introduction to the parade on television. (There are several versions that can be found on the Internet.)
  • Use any musical instruments you already own (or use a wooden spoon and a pot) and play along with some marching band music such as “”Seventy-six Trombones” from the musical Music Man or “March of the Wooden Soldiers” from the film Babes in Toyland.

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

  • Let child look over the book by self.
  • Let child play with puppets by themselves.

I’m hoping that after leading my grandsons through this book and multiple intelligence activities, they will continue the family tradition of watching this parade every Thanksgiving Day morning.

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


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3 responses to “Thanksgiving Parade Book Study

  1. Heather H says:

    I always love reading your posts, and this one is no exception. Having the kids decorate their own parade balloons is a brilliant idea! I can’t wait to get my hands on that book and try some of your other ideas too. Thanks for sharing with the #made4kids linkup.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like these ideas and hope you had a chance to see this year’s parade on Thanksgiving Day. The parade is magical enough by itself, but I appreciate this event even more now that I am acquainted with its history.


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