Thanksgiving Lesson Plans

Here are some fun and educational Thanksgiving lesson plans.

By Elisa Jackson


Once the holiday season gets going, students start to feel excited and get wiggly in the classroom. Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season, and it provides an opportunity to give your students educational and fun projects to do that can release some of this energy. What follows are suggestions for activities you can do with your students that are academic, enjoyable, and Thanksgiving-inspired.

One activity that involves math and health is to prepare a dish that is commonly made for Thanksgiving dinner. Stuffing would be a great choice! Students could measure the ingredients including the bread mixture, butter, celery, onions, and anything else you choose to put in there. As they are measuring, you can talk about the food groups, and identify which one each comes from. Once the stuffing is cooked, the entire class can eat it together.

An art activity that is always fun is to design a placemat based on things they are thankful for in their lives. On a blank piece of construction paper, students draw items that they are thankful for, and color the placemat to their liking. Once done, the teacher can laminate the placemats, and students can take them home to use while eating their Thanksgiving dinner.

One writing activity to do as Thanksgiving approaches is to have students write what they are thankful for. This project should be worked on prior to the week of Thanksgiving. Students turn in their final product, and orally present their essay to the rest of the class the week of the holiday. Students should pre-write, write, edit, revise, and create final drafts of their writing, and can include illustrations as well. Students can also bring in an item from home that represents something they wrote about in their essay while delivering their oral presentations.

On the last day before Thanksgiving vacation, students can participate in a community event by wearing costumes that represent the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians, and having their lunch together. Before they eat, students can participate in a lesson on friendship, kindness, communication, working together, and/or diversity. Here are some more fun and academic lessons and worksheets to try with your students before Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Lesson Plans:

Thanksgiving Poetry

In this engaging lesson, students watch a streaming video called "Holiday Facts and Fun" that teaches interesting and valuable facts about Thanksgiving. After watching the video, students write acrostic poems about Thanksgiving on the computer.

The First Thanksgiving

This amazing lesson is actually a mini-unit that spans five days. Students explore the Pilgrim's experience in detail; starting with who they were and why they left England. In addition, they study what life was like for the children who were in the original colony, and discover the hardships the Pilgrim's faced, and the relationships that were built with the Wampanoag Indians.

Thanksgiving: ABC Order

Students correctly place words associated with Thanksgiving in alphabetical order. This worksheet is one of many Thanksgiving worksheets that are listed on this page.

Thanksgiving Word Recognition

This collection of worksheets is geared toward younger elementary students. They trace words associated with Thanksgiving, and color a variety of Thanksgiving pictures.