9 Thanksgiving-Themed Educational Games and Crafts
This Thanksgiving, we are grateful for you—the educators who affect the lives of kids and the course of education every day in the classroom.
You might be coming up with Thanksgiving lesson plans for the classroom at this time of year that focuses on the idea of gratitude and asks pupils to express thanks to important people in their lives. Here are some Thanksgiving classroom activities for you to think about with that objective in mind. Even though many of these activities can be changed to fit the needs of older learners, they are mostly made for elementary school students and young learners.
Ideas for A Happy Thanksgiving at School
Crafts for The Class
When it comes to Thanksgiving classroom crafts, there are many options available. Giving kids different types of construction paper and asking them to draw their hands on a sheet of brown paper is one possibility. Alternatively, kids can draw a brown outline of their hand on white paper and color it in. The turkey’s body—the fingers of the hand—can then be embellished with colored feathers that have been cut out and adhered. Students are free to customize the background and color their turkeys however they choose. Ask the pupils to write one item they are grateful for on each of the feathers if you want them to be even more imaginative.
What Do You Feel Grateful For? A Writing Assignment or Activity
This task can be approached in a variety of ways, many of which will depend on the grade level of your students. This kind of assignment might range from having each student write a brief essay outlining what they are grateful for and why to having the teacher have the entire class write down their gratitude on a larger piece of paper or poster board (see a good example below). The poster may be embellished by the instructor and/or students and displayed for all to see. Students can share their lists with their classmates as part of a discussion about this project during class.
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Then Versus Now Reviewing the First Thanksgiving
Ask your students to consider the first Thanksgiving feast and the customs that were established at that time. What kind of traditions will be developed in the future? Most significantly, how does Thanksgiving today differ from Thanksgiving back then?
The first Thanksgiving, when the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims celebrated the harvest in the Plymouth colony, can be researched online by students. After that, ask students to think about what a modern Thanksgiving celebration consists of based on either their personal experiences or research, and then ask them to write an essay or develop a quick presentation to respond to this topic.
4Bagged Pumpkin Pie
Without an oven, you can bake a wonderful pumpkin pie recipe right in your classroom. Just the appropriate elements will do. You can find a variety of recipes and instructions online, so using this activity to have your children read and follow instructions while also doing math is a great idea!
When teaching science and math to her fourth- and fifth-grade students at the Glasscock County Independent School District in Texas, Kelcee Calloura had them complete the following tasks: “When I showed them the ingredients we use, we revised our list after making predictions about the ingredients we thought would go into pumpkin pie.” As we added each component, we kept track of what was happening to the ingredients in the bag. After following the instructions, they recorded their findings in a report.
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Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Meal!
In the weeks preceding the holiday, you might host a pre-Thanksgiving lunch in your classroom. One strategy is to ask students to bring in a variety of snacks. This can take many different forms (e.g., sliced turkey, stuffing, and so on). Your feast might also have a learning component where you invite your pupils to submit a brief essay for additional credit explaining the relevance of what they brought to class. Depending on the age of the children, you may either make this a minor or major part of the event by asking kids to share what they are grateful for throughout the feast.
Last but not least, think about inviting the parents or guardians of the students to the class that day (this can be an excellent approach for you as a teacher to develop ties with the parents!).
The Game "Catch the Turkey"
For this Thanksgiving classroom game, Katie Risolo, a first-grade teacher at the Diocese of Rockville Centre in Long Island, New York, advises offering your pupils a ridiculous scenario along the lines of the following: “Thanksgiving turkey that your grandmother burned! To save the day, you must now walk outside and capture a turkey. “To catch one, a trap must be planned and built.” She splits her pupils into groups using the following supplies and brings a stuffed turkey to class.
- Masking tape measuring 12 inches
- Five pipe cleaners
- scissors and cardboard, one yard of
This is a fun project that will encourage your children to think creatively, collaborate (social-emotional learning!), and think outside the box. The format of the activity is entirely up to you. You may even ask your students to show the class their trap.
Thanksgiving is the ideal opportunity to reflect on our blessings as well as share them with others. Your class will make vibrant scrapbooks as part of this assignment to record everything they are grateful for. Give your pupils a ton of magazines they can cut photos from, as well as a ton of colorful paper, scissors, crayons, and markers.
“This year I’m thankful for” will be the title of their scrapbook cover. They will list all the items for which they are grateful on the following pages, either by sketching their illustrations or using cutouts from magazines. They might want to include photos of the places they’ve been, the sports they’ve played or learned, or just the fun times they’ve had with their families.
Christmas Tic Tac Toe
Why not give the traditional game of Tic Tac Toe a Thanksgiving theme? Easy as pumpkin pie! You may easily print some of the images from this Thanksgiving full-color clipart file into tiny Tic Tac Toe-sized squares. Try to have at least five of each image you select, for example, five turkeys and five pilgrim hats. On a sheet of poster board, draw the standard 3×3 grid. Instead of using Xs and Ys, students use graphics. If you want to make it more difficult, you may make them answer a question accurately before they can put their card on the board.
Turkey Should Be Given the Snood
What is that strange object hanging below the turkey’s chin? You guessed it—that would be the snood, and your students would have a ball trying to secure it to a turkey. For some amusing amusement, hang a poster of a turkey sans the snood and have your blind students try to pin it in the proper spot one at a time.