Thanksgiving Activities for Elementary Students

Fun Thanksgiving ideas for kids including activities like: Thanksgiving turkey crafts, dances, turkey handprint poem, Thanksgiving games, and free printables!

It’s hard to believe the holidays are soon approaching!  There is certainly a lot to be excited about, but between the craziness at school (classroom celebrations, holiday performances, special crafts and activities) and all the extras outside of school (cooking, relatives, travel, parties, shopping…) the holiday season can easily become a very stressful season! 😬

I want you to be able to enjoy this special time with your students, as well as your family and friends!  In hopes of taking a little off your plate this holiday season, I’ve decided to share with you a series of holiday round-up posts where I’ll gather engaging videos, games, crafts and activities you and your students can use to celebrate the holidays. 

thanksgiving classroom ideas
Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that, at no cost to you, I earn a few nickels should you choose to make a purchase through the link.

In this first round-up post I’m sharing all things Thanksgiving. 

When thinking about how to celebrate Thanksgiving with our students I have chosen activities that focus on gratitude (and silly turkeys!) rather than the story of Thanksgiving we were likely taught when we were in school. 

We know now that to many Native Americans, Thanksgiving represents loss of their land and the death of many of their people.  If your students are of an appropriate age, it could be a great opportunity to examine different points of view.  If not, I think focusing on giving thanks is a wonderful way to celebrate!  

So let’s take a look at what I’ve found….

Thanksgiving Videos

The Learning Station has a great Thanksgiving playlist for children! 

It’s includes dances, action songs, rhymes and more.  While it is almost 27 minutes long, you can easily jump from song to song once your students discover their favorites!  It’s a great way to get some holiday energy out! 

Of course if your kids need to get some wiggles out, we can’t forget about GoNoodle! The video Maraca Turkey is sure to be a hit!

thanksgiving dance song

Kids will sing, dance, and shake their maracas as they give thanks for everything they have!

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is (in my opinion!) one of the BEST Thanksgiving Day traditions! 

The book Balloons Over Broadway is the story of Tony Sarg, the puppeteer extraordinaire who invented the giant, amazing balloons that would become the trademark of the parade. 

Your students will be entertained and inspired as they watch and listen to the story being read aloud here

Another great Thanksgiving read-aloud is Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano. 

It’s the story of a Turkey who fears that he will be the centerpiece of the holiday meal and thus begins his quest for the perfect disguise!  It’s a silly story filled with fun wordplay, puns and animal sounds that kids will love. They can watch and listen to the story being read aloud here.

Thanksgiving Craft Ideas

Gratefulness Rocks  Students use smooth rocks to write out what they are thankful for, using paint pens or paint. It would be sweet to leave them hidden in the school playground or garden.  

thanksgiving craft

Turkey Leaf Luminaries make a great decoration for the Thanksgiving table and could be a perfect gift for students to give to their families!  

thanksgiving craft

Directive Turkey Drawing  Directed drawings are a step by step approach to drawing something.  They require students to focus on listening and following directions. 

thanksgiving directed drawing

The outcomes are always so fun to see! These turkey drawings would make perfect classroom decor for the month of November! Get the step by step directions from my friend Elyse over at Proud to Be Primary.

Thanksgiving Games

Roll a Turkey  A simple holiday game and a great way to use up some of those leftover Halloween m&ms!  

thanksgiving game

Get the directions and free download here.

Traffic Yam in this silly game, students race across the room and back holding the yam on their spoon (like an egg race).  It’s a fun one to get them up and moving around! 

thanksgiving game

Thanksgiving Activities for Primary Students

Finally, I want to share with you my very own Thanksgiving Resource!   It is filled with the best loved Thanksgiving activities I have used in my classroom! Take a peek at what is included in this resource!

• Thanksgiving Disguise a Turkey Project (EDITABLE parent letter) This is a longer project you’ll assign about 10 days before Thanksgiving.  Students will work with their families to make a plan to disguise the turkey and save him from being eaten!  

disguise a turkey project

Thanksgiving Handprint Poem – an endearing gift to send home to families!  

turkey handprint poem

How to Make a Turkey Sequence Writing- an activity that can be used in centers, as morning work or for homework! Students write the order of events to make a turkey handprint!

how to make a turkey writing

Thanksgiving I am Thankful writing craft- makes a perfect bulletin board display or holiday table decoration! 

turkey writing craft

• Thanksgiving I am Thankful flip-book- a wonderful way to get students thinking a bit more about gratitude.  They’ll share the people, places, food, hobbies and memories they are thankful for! I’ve also included seasonal letters for a We are Thankful bulletin board set!

i am thankful flip book

Thanksgiving Riddles and Word Search – these printables are perfect for morning work, inside recess, or as a Thanksgiving Day center. Print them for free below!

free thanksgiving printables

DOWNLOAD the Free Thanksgiving Riddles and Word Search here

I’ve made it super easy by including all of these activities in one resource!  Check out what other teachers have to say about it and grab it for yourself by clicking the link below!

So while I can’t make keep you from overcooking the turkey (or keep your crazy Uncle Jim quiet!) this Thanksgiving, I do hope the resources I’ve gathered and shared will help make November in your classroom a little easier for you and a lot more fun for all! 

Head to the next round-up post where I’ll share videos, activities and games perfect for December! 


thanksgiving ideas for the classroom
Shopping cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping