Thanksgiving is a celebration of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvests. It is celebrated not only in the USA but also in Canada, some Caribbean islands and Liberia.
Canadian and American history slightly differs from each other. I’d focus on US history.
Pilgrims, Puritans, Mayflower, New England, Plymouth, 1620s, 4th Thursday of November
While talking about the history of this national holiday you need some keywords. If you are not very into history, you may find these useful.
Video clips with the history of Thanksgiving
The Story of Thanksgiving
The story told from the perspective of Plymouth’s rock. Its text is quite demanding for children, but pictures make this video more meaningful for them.
History of Thanksgiving Day
Challenging to understand for young students, but visual aids may be used by the teacher to tell the story on his own.
Thanksgiving Song for Kids | The First Thanksgiving Day
Amazingly presented history as a song with lyrics visible on the screen. Native Americans and Pilgrims celebrate together.
There are many more things associated with this holiday. Try to find and list them all after watching some video clips.
Challenge your students to remember all the food items mentioned in the song.
Seasonal word search (40 words)
Thanksgiving word search (with riddles)
If you are not a fan of pen-and-paper activities, you can play some games.
- Typical ‘Simon Says’ may be successfully changed into ‘Turkey says…’ with extra activities like ‘gobble like turkey’.
- Any types of ball games are nice here. For instance, throw a ball and name a symbol or a keyword from the history of Thanksgiving. The winner can dance like a turkey 😊
- Miming game or, for more advanced students, a taboo game with Thanksgiving vocabulary.
- Acting out the history of Mayflower’s passengers and Native Americans.
- Guessing game with realias – a turkey can be made of rubber 😉
- Turkeys race. Divide the class into two groups and think about some funny challenging tasks to do, like a walk in the line with your eyes closed, find hidden corn in the classroom or fill in the sack with turkeys’ feathers.
- Any types of flashcards game: memory, guessing, describing, matching with word cards, etc.
Thank you for…
You can introduce this topic by singing the song ‘Let’s give thanks’.
Later you can brainstorm with your students and ask what others did for them recently and how did they react?
If you have access to Thanksgiving theme books you can gather your children on the carpet and read something together. Do not worry if your bookcase doesn’t have such literature. There are many read-aloud available on the internet either recorded by other teachers or online versions ready to be read in your classroom.
Here you can find books read by others:
The Story of Thanksgiving - Thanksgiving Read Aloud for Kids
Pete the Cat The First Thanksgiving by James Dean | Books Read Aloud | Storytime With Ms. Becky
TURKEY TROUBLE Read Aloud ~ Thanksgiving Stories
Here you can find a great collection of Thanksgiving online books
Hungry for more?
More amazing printable resources available on Teacher’s Corner
Thanksgiving songs and cartoons available on my Youtube channel
Arts and crafts ideas can be found on my Pinterest
While enjoying these amazing Thanksgiving ideas, listen to awesome Thanksgiving parodies sang by super cute turkeys.
'I will survive Thanksgiving' and 'U Can't stuff this'
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