This collection of Thanksgiving activities will make it easy for you to put together a fun and educational Thanksgiving themed unit. I’ve included all kinds of ideas related to Pilgrims, the First Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving traditions. The resources include videos, printables, books, play, and more.
If learning with themes is new to you, check out my post on How to Easily Create a Unit Study.
Planning A Thanksgiving Theme
Theme Planner: As you read through the ideas below, use a Unit Study Planning Page to organize your Thanksgiving learning plans.
Thanksgiving KWL: A KWL is a great way to start any unit study and document your child’s learning. KWL stands for Know, Want to know, and Learned. Your learner lets you know what she already knows about the topic, what she wants to know, and what she has learned (at the end).
I have three cute options in my shop.
Thanksgiving Spelling and Vocabulary
Choose the spelling words most appropriate for your child’s level.
- Native Americans
You can also use the list of spelling words to create a word search using the Word Search Template.
Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation
Take the time to print and read a copy of Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation and discuss it with your child.
There are many great books about the Pilgrims, the first Thanksgiving, Squanto, and more. Here are some to add to your family library.
Pilgrims: Learn about the Pilgrims and the life they built in the New World.
- Pilgrims of Plymouth
- The Pilgrims of Plimoth
- Pilgrim Stories
- The Landing of the Pilgrims (Landmark Books)
- The Story of the Pilgrims
Squanto: Squanto was a special gift from God to the Pilgrims. Learn more about this amazing man with these books.
- Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving
- Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving
- Squanto, Friend Of The Pilgrims
First Thanksgiving: The First Thanksgiving was a special event. Read more about it.
- The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving
- Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation (The Time-Traveling Twins)
- The Thanksgiving Story
Thanksgiving: More fun Thanksgiving themed books for your family to enjoy each year.
- Cranberry Thanksgiving
- A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
- Thanksgiving in the Woods
- Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks!
- Thanksgiving Is . . .
Thanksgiving Fun Fact Cards
Thanksgiving Fun Fact Cards is one of the most popular products in my shop. So many fun facts your learners will discover about Thanksgiving! Click the cover to see much more about them.
Poetry: “Thanksgiving” by Henry Coyle
Print a copy of “Thanksgiving” by Henry Coyle to enjoy with your family.
Copywork, Handwriting & Writing Activities
Thanksgiving Copywork: It’s easy to continue practicing handwriting during Thanksgiving with copywork. These Thanksgiving copywork pages combine the fun of my fun fact cards with handwriting practice. Kids absolutely love them!
Thanksgiving Handwriting & Coloring: This fun pack includes Thanksgiving themed handwriting and coloring pages in both print and cursive. It’s available in my shop to download and go.
Thanksgiving Writing Pages: Thanksgiving Writing Pages provides 48 Thanksgiving themed pages that will add something special to your unit study writing, notebooking, etc.
Creative Learning Activities
Write a Letter: Write a letter from a Pilgrim to a friend back in England, telling about the journey, the first year, or the first Thanksgiving. You can use one of the Write a Letter Worksheets.
Postage Stamp: Design a postage stamp to commemorate the first Thanksgiving using Design a Postage Stamp Worksheets.
Venn Diagram: A Venn diagram is a wonderful way to compare. You can use it to compare Thanksgiving topics such as:
- Pilgrims and Indians
- First Thanksgiving and our Thanksgiving celebrations today
- Being a Pilgrim child and being a child today
- Food at the first Thanksgiving and our Thanksgiving food
Biography: Choose a person from the story of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving to learn more about. Then write a short biography about him or her. Use the Write a Biography (Early Elementary) Worksheets or the Write a Biography (Upper Grades) Worksheets.
List It: This is a great activity to either use as an ongoing activity or a culminating activity at the end of the study. Your learners can either keep a list and add to it throughout the unit study or compile a list at the end. Find this list it in the Unit Study Activity Pack.
History of the First Thanksgiving Video: This short video points out some important facts often left out or gotten wrong when we discuss the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. Use this video to compare and contrast what is in this video with the stories we typically hear. You can also discuss with your learners how to find the truth about the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving and why people might tell different stories.
Pilgrim Life: Learn about life for Pilgrim girls and boys and then use costumes to do role play. If your learners especially enjoy role playing, have them write a brief play about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving to perform for family and friends.