Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season craziness, you’ve got fun activities, parties, and family events at school and then throw in all of the stuff that also happens to be going on in your personal lives and sometimes it can be just a bit much. I have a list of simple Thanksgiving activities that children love and that will save your sanity (this is a repost from last year because these activities are still just as wonderful as they were last year)!
I Spy Thanksgiving
My kiddos love I Spy books, I think they are great for improving concentration and visual discrimination. These beginning reader versions also include simple words that encourage early reading. This will be one of the most popular activities in my classroom until Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Literacy Activities
This set includes four activities that encourage Thanksgiving-themed creative writing. All of the activities focus on pie, including; How to make a pie, Diagramming the parts of a pie, Designing your own pie flavor, and a class book about your students’ favorite kinds of pie.
Foam Thanksgiving Beads
Beads are great for practicing fine motor skills, and they are an activity that I can put out and my students will be able to do with very little instruction. These beads are foam thanksgiving shapes, which means they are less likely to roll all over my classroom floor!
Thanksgiving Alphabet Books
These books include a Thanksgiving picture for each letter of the alphabet – they are such a fun way to explore the kinds of things that students might encounter during the holiday, and after the holiday we’ll look at them again and see how many of them were actually part of our own celebrations. (they are also available for Autumn, Halloween, and Winter).
Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie
We’ll spend a lot of time talking about food over the next couple of weeks, so we might as well play with it too. This set is not only fun, but educational – it helps children practice a number of different math skills including sorting by color, sorting by shape, and counting.
Thanksgiving Matching and Counting
This is another activity that encourages a few different math skills. We’ll use this set to sort foods, count them, and then match them to the number cards.
The Thankful Book
I love Todd Parr’s books, but this one is especially helpful because it can be difficult to explain what “thankful” means to very young children. This book always leads to wonderful circle time discussions.
Thanksgiving Letter Match
My students are all over the place when it comes to their letter recognition skills, so this activity is perfect because I can use it with learners at a number of levels. For those still working on recognizing capital letters, I focus just on the capital letters, asking them to name the letter and make the sound as they pick up the pie. Students who have mastered the capital letters get to attempt to match the capital and lowercase letters so that they can put whipped cream on their pies.
Fake leaves for raking
In addition to the usual thanksgiving play food that will be in my dramatic play center, I’ll also have fake leaves and rakes out for the children. Their favorite part of this activity is always dumping the leaves all over the floor, which is fine with me as long as they rake them all up!
Thanksgiving Vocabulary Cards
There are always vocabulary cards in my writing center, and as soon as I put out a new set, my students rush over to check them out. They love to look at the pictures and see if they can guess the words. Once they know the words they pay more attention to the letters, and they love to tell me what letter each word starts with. We also practice writing the words and they are always so proud when they are able to write the longest word in the collection all by themselves. These are awesome for encouraging letter and word recognition and letter formation practice.
Thanksgiving Cards for Families
I fully admit to being a scrapbook paper hoarder, I can’t help myself! The best thing about my little obsession is that I always have tons of paper when we need to make cards. What says “I’m thankful for you” better than a handmade card? I can’t wait to see what my students come up with when I get out this DCWV Fall Paper Stack.
I have yet to meet a preschooler who doesn’t love to talk, so I try to give my students a constructive reason to talk to each other. These surveys are perfect for collecting data on what students like about thanksgiving. after the data has been collected we analyze it – count how many students like pumpkin pie and how many like apple, estimate which side dish is the class’ favorite, or create a bar graph to show how many students like gravy on their mashed potatoes.
Hopefully this will help you finalize your Thanksgiving plans for the classroom – or come up with some great ideas for the kids that will be visiting your house this Thanksgiving!
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