Thanksgiving Activities for the Classroom

Thanksgiving Activities for the Classroom

Written by Emma (Teach Starter)

Are you looking for meaningful and engaging Thanksgiving activities for your students?

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Observing the time-honored tradition of Thanksgiving in your classroom is always a favorite thing to do! Giving thanks and showing appreciation for the blessings we have in our lives is one of the best ways to bond with our students and help them be more mindful of themselves and others.

Thanksgiving Activities for the Classroom - Thanksgiving Tree

Not only this but teaching the important history and traditions of Thanksgiving is also critical for helping your students learn historical empathy.

  • Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving?
  • Which Thanksgiving traditions have been added and changed over time?
  • What other viewpoints might there be about Thanksgiving?

Get the conversation going in your classroom before diving into some fun and meaningful Thanksgiving activities!

Meaningful Thanksgiving Activities

There’s an activity for any grade here! From Thanksgiving craft to literacy center activities, we’ve got you covered.

Thanksgiving Activities for the Classroom - Thanksgiving Paper Roll Turkeys

Paper Roll Turkey Craft

Your younger students will love this cute craft! Create some super adorable Thanksgiving turkeys with just a few craft materials!



  • a selection of Thanksgiving/Fall colored construction paper or cardstock
  • paper roll holder (we used a hand-towel roll cut in half for our two turkeys!)
  • stapler
  • glue stick
  • googly eyes

How to make the Paper Roll Turkey

This one is super simple!

  1. Draw the shape of two large double-pointed ovals and two small double-pointed ovals. You may like to pre-print these onto the paper for your class.
  2. Cut out the shapes for each piece of colored paper.
  3. Creating a pattern, overlap each shape and paste together in an arc shape to create tail feathers.
  4. Staple your tail feathers to your paper roll.
  5. Cut a tiny triangle for a beak and two little feet.
  6. Paste your beak, feet, and eyes onto your paper roll. Fold the feet so that your turkey can stand up.

Why not staple these turkeys to your Thanksgiving bulletin boards for a cute Thanksgiving display?

Create a Thankful Tree

To help your students appreciate all that they have to be thankful for, create a class Thankful Tree using our Thanksgiving Thankful Tree Leaves Template.

Thanksgiving Activities - Thankful Tree

How to create a Thankful Tree:

  1. Create a tree trunk using paper on a display wall or bulletin board. Alternatively, you could use a real tree branch standing up in a pot.
  2. Provide students with one or more of the leaves for them to write about something they are thankful for.
  3. Stick the leaves onto the ‘Thankful Tree’ wall display, or hang them up on the real branches using a hole-punch and string.
  4. Students may also like to add photographs and pictures to the Thankful Tree display.

Display this in your classroom to remind your students to appreciate what they have.

Thanksgiving Writing Activity

Stimulate your students with some Thanksgiving-themed writing using our beautiful Thanksgiving Page Border and Thanksgiving Fact Sheet

Thanksgiving Activities for the Classroom - Thanksgiving Writing Activities

Study our Thanksgiving Word Wall Vocabulary and complete one of the following with your students in your literacy centers:

  • a Thanksgiving poem
  • a recount of a past Thanksgiving
  • an informative piece about the meaning and traditions of Thanksgiving.

Save Terrance the Turkey!

Add some giggles to your turkey gobbles with these delightful writing activities about Terrance the Turkey!

Thanksgiving Activities for the Classroom - Save Terrance the Turkey

Your students will love helping him escape his fate as Thanksgiving dinner! Why not combine this activity with a writing task on our Thanksgiving Themed Writing Paper about the Presidential pardoning of the turkey?

Funky Turkey

Just in case you missed our blog The Funky Turkey Has Arrived! (FREE Turkey Printable), this is the best and craziest Thanksgiving craft activity this year!

the Funky Turkey Printable

Simply fill each section of the Funky Turkey Craft Template with a variety of lines, dots, and patterns. Cut out the template and paste it onto a colored piece of cardstock or construction paper. Choose your funky glasses – color and attach!

Looking for even more Thanksgiving activities and ideas? Check out our Thanksgiving  Teaching Resource Pack or click on the links below!

Make your classroom buzz! Create a free Teach Starter account and download hundreds of time-saving resources. Find out more

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