Teachers, let’s face it: the honeymoon phase of the school year is over! The end of the honeymoon period usually lines up with the start of the holiday period. This shift in the year can also mean an increase in challenging behaviors and opportunities to be out of routine, which is hard for lots of kids. That’s why I’m sharing easy, engaging Thanksgiving activities for the classroom. If you’re anything like me, you want these months to be meaningful, and you want to have easy-to-prepare activities to keep students engaged during the crazy holiday season.
#1 Plan a Thanksgiving Feast
Math + seasonal activities? Sign me up! One way to keep students engaged in review at this time of year is to tie it into the holidays. My students always review adding and subtracting decimals by planning a Thanksgiving feast.
Students practice working with a budget, shopping for different meal items, and using various sized bills to make change. This is a great Thanksgiving activity for students to do with partners, in small groups, or individually, depending on what works best for your class. My students always have a blast with this activity – just try not to work up a hunger.
#2 Writing Assignments
Another way to bring some fun and creativity to this time of year is through writing. Depending on how much time you have, you could do a variety of writing assignments as a Thanksgiving activity for the classroom.
If you’d like students to take a few days to work on an assignment, have them research the Turkey Pardon and write about it. You can even tie this with social studies for a cross-curricular assignment.
If you want a shorter assignment to take up the awkward time between awards ceremonies and holiday parties, have students pick a Thanksgiving-associated word, like TURKEY, and write an acrostic poem!
Lastly, you could have students get creative and write a story about a turkey that escaped becoming Thanksgiving dinner. This is a great creative writing assignment that can make for some very interesting stories to share with the class.
#3 Thanksgiving STEM Activities
Have a blast with your students by participating in engaging and interactive Thanksgiving STEM activities. One of the experiments is the cranberry tower. Give students toothpicks and cranberries and have them try to create the tallest tower using those items alone. My students love working with their partner or small group to draft a plan, try out different design ideas, and compete to build the tallest tower.
I included all of the instruction sheets, recording sheets, and additional details in the STEM Thanksgiving activity resource, along with four other experiments: homemade butter, turkey balloon rockets, turkey baster races, and create your own parade float.
Trust me – your students will be begging for more Thanksgiving activities, and everything is ready to go to make the activities easy for you. Just print and prep your materials.
#4 Thanksgiving Estimations
Estimation is one of those topics that can feel so boring to teach or review. Spice up the skill by having students estimate the weight, length, or height of various Thanksgiving items. For example, bring in a cornucopia decoration, a wreath, a can of cranberry sauce, or a few ears of corn. You could even bring in something simple like a Thanksgiving paper plate and have students estimate its measurements.
If you have access to a freezer and you’re feeling adventurous, bring in your frozen turkey and have students estimate its weight! Then, have students determine the measurements and compare. You can take this lesson to the next level by having students convert their measurements, too.
#5 Cyber Monday and Black Friday Reading Comprehension
While Cyber Monday and Black Friday feel less traditional than Thanksgiving, these shopping days are woven into our culture in so many ways. Planning close reading activities about the post-Thanksgiving bustle is a great way to keep students engaged and learning about more current Thanksgiving traditions.
This resource has close reading passages about both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, plus multiple choice questions, and graphic organizers for students to show what they learned. With seven different graphic organizers, students can really dig into this topic and practice a variety of reading skills.
Loved these Thanksgiving activities for the classroom?
Get them all together in the Cross-Curricular Thanksgiving Bundle.
This bundle contains the Thanksgiving feast math review, the Thanksgiving STEM activities, and the Black Friday and Cyber Monday close reading passages into one discounted bundle.
You’ll save some serious time and money by purchasing them together, and it will give you an entire week of Thanksgiving activities for the classroom to keep your students loving school the week before break!
If you use any of these activities in your classroom, I’d love to know how it turned out! Send me a DM on Instagram with all the details. I enjoy connecting with other teachers and sharing our love of teaching.