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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade & More !

November is here and I am so excited for one of my favorite events of the year… The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

I love Thanksgiving! There is something special about this day focused on family, traditions, fun, and thankfulness. A big part of my family’s tradition is to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There is no better combination than a gooey cinnamon roll, a hot cup of coffee, and watching a giant turkey float rolling down the street in NYC! We look forward to the event every year.

Last November, my daughter and I headed to NYC the week of Thanksgiving to take in the magic of the season and the preparation for the parade. It really put us in the holiday spirit for sure!

I have always been intrigued at how Macy’s works all year to produce such a special event for families around the world. I discovered a few fun facts you might want to share with your students about the parade.

Fun Facts:

*Animals Everywhere: The parade debuted in 1924 and real animals from the Central Park Zoo marched in the parade. Elephants, donkeys, tigers, bears, and camels paraded down the streets of New York. As you can imagine, this didn’t seem to be such a great idea for safety reasons, so the next year they replaced the animals with balloon versions.

*Bye, Bye Balloons: From 1927-1932, the balloons used in the parade were not deflated and were released at the end of the parade. From 1928-1932 if you found a balloon and returned it to Macy’s, you would receive a $100 reward.

*Macy’s is the second largest consumer of helium in the world.

*Since 1968, the floats have been designed by artists at the Macy’s Parade Studio in New Jersey. The floats may stand tall in the parade, but they fold down into a 12 foot by 8 foot box to make the trip through the Lincoln Tunnel.

*The Radio City Rockettes have been entertaining in the parade since 1957.

I have found the parade is the perfect hook to engage students in history, literacy, design thinking, and a zillion other things. I put together an integrated unit, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade & More! a few years ago and updated the resources for 2022! This hands-on learning experience celebrates the parade, New York City, and how Thanksgiving became an official holiday in the United States. Students have loved the books, videos, activities, and design challenges included in the unit.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Lessons for Thank You Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Lessons for Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet
  • Virtual Field Trip to New York City
  • Design Challenges for Balloons & Floats
  • Recipe for Pumpkin Pie in a Cup
  • Practicing Thankfulness
  • STEAM Activities

This year, in addition to the helpful Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Website, a new site called Parade 101 has been created to encourage STEAM learning. It is awesome and filled with experiments and videos you can share with students!

Here are some of my favorite Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Websites/Resources:

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Website

Parade 101

Stuff You Should Know Podcast: How Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Works

If you are looking for a unique way to engage learners this fall, I hope you will check out my Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade & More Integrated Unit.

My motto is always, “When students Live It, they Learn It, and they will Love It! So, let’s pump up the balloons, strike up the band, and march down the streets of virtual New York City with this learning unit focused on the how Thanksgiving became a national holiday and our beloved tradition, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thanksgiving Parade & More

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