Are you planning some Thanksgiving feast ideas and activities for the classroom this time of year? As you make your lesson plans for the month of November or even just looking for some simple ideas for home, I hope this list helps you plan this holiday season. Be sure to enlist some parent volunteers, always a great idea to help manage small groups within the classroom and a wonderful way to welcome families into the school.
These Thanksgiving ideas are targeted at young children, but can be easily adapted for older kids as well. I hope this blog post on a Thanksgiving theme helps you and your students celebrate in a fun way!
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Thanksgiving Feast Ideas and Activities: Crafts
Any list of Thanksgiving lesson plans has to include some fun and festive crafts. Here are a few of our favorite ideas and the perfect opportunity to make some fantastic bulletin boards.
You have to make the classic hand turkeys at Thanksgiving! Grab some brown construction paper and cut out an oval turkey body. Add tail feathers cut out of different colors. It’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on what each child is thankful for in his own life. Have students record those thankful thoughts on each feather. Add googly eyes and a small red gobble to complete the turkey craft look!
You can also make one large thankful turkey with the entire class. Make one large Thanksgiving turkey body out of brown paper. Create large colorful feathers and allow each family to record their favorite Thanksgiving memory or their favorite Thanksgiving traditions on each one. My favorite part is hearing each child read their family’s responses with such pride. This is one of my favorite fun activities with elementary school students.
Of course, you can also make handprint turkeys with your little ones. Simply trace their hand with fingers outstretched. Allow them to tell you what they are thankful for and help them fill in each finger. Hand out crayons to color in their finished turkey and add some eyes and a red gobble.
Another fun activity for classroom Thanksgiving feast ideas is to make Thanksgiving placemats together. Simply pass out 11×17 construction paper. Take a little classroom field trip outside to gather fall leaves. Give the leaves time to dry, if needed. Then, have students glue down leaves. Cover the placemats with contact paper after putting name and date on the back. These are perfect to put out on the Thanksgiving table at Thanksgiving dinner.
Another fun thing to do for kindergarten Thanksgiving activities is making a placemat with the student’s favorite Thanksgiving meal ideas. Hand out food related magazines and allow children to cut out pictures of their favorite foods. Don’t worry if children don’t pick traditional Thanksgiving food. It’s pretty typical to see pizza on the menu! They can create their own favorite menus and share with one another. Students can even use a long table in the classroom to set their own dinner table of favorite foods. Mashed potatoes, anyone?
Indian Corn Painting
Another fun classroom Thanksgiving feast idea is to use Indian corn to create a corn painting. Put a variety of paints in fall colors on the table on paper plates. Hand out large sheets of white paper and allow children to have a good time dipping the corn into the paint and roll onto the paper. Read about the history of Indian corn here and share what it was used for by the Native Americans. One of our favorite easy Thanksgiving crafts in my classroom.
Make a Turkey Hat
Want to make a fun turkey hat for your classroom Thanksgiving feast? Use the template below to cut out the turkey body and make as many copies as you need for the feathers. Let children record their favorite Thanksgiving food or memory on each feather. Cut out the feathers and glue body and feathers onto a sentence strip band. Perfect for a Thanksgiving party!
Thanksgiving Feast Ideas and Activities: Reading
Reading great books aloud is a great way to celebrate during November. Consider using some of these great books as you prepare for Thanksgiving.
The Story of the Pilgrims by Katharine Ross
The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing
A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting
Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne
How Many Days to America? by Eve Bunting
Thanksgiving Feast Ideas and Activities: Writing
Thanksgiving time is the perfect time to complete some fun writing activities. Here are a few of my favorites.
KWL Chart on the History of Thanksgiving
Talk with your students about what they already know about the history of Thanksgiving. Create a large chart and list ideas like Pilgrims, New World, Native Americans, pumpkin pie, and the first Thanksgiving feast. Talk about colonial America and what life was like in the New World. Point out the fourth Thursday in November on the calendar and highlight it for your students. Feel free to use the free printable below to make an individual KWL chart or enlarge to make a whole class chart.
Acrostic Poem for Thanksgiving
Make some anchor charts with your students with lots of Thanksgiving ideas. What reminds them on the holiday? Use this master list to make a class acrostic poem from the word “Thanksgiving”. Then, hand out individual worksheets to let each child make his/her own poem!
Thanksgiving Feast Ideas and Activities: Cooking
You have to have some fun Thanksgiving food ideas for the classroom feast! If you are able to “cook” in your classroom, make some simple recipes and let your students try them. (Always check for any food allergies before taste testing.) Here are a few traditional dishes for your Thanksgiving feast ideas.
You can also do some “cooking” without using heat. One fun project is to make your own homemade butter with cream in a jar. Just like the pioneer days!
Making donut turkeys is another fun project for your snack feast special time! Use small chocolate doughnuts, candy corn, chocolate chips, and small candies to complete the look. Check out a full tutorial here.
I hope this post gave you plenty of Thanksgiving ideas for this special season in your classroom. Best wishes for a blessed and happy holiday season.
Make sure to check out my other posts for the holidays and sign up below for my favorite holiday read-alouds!