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Educational Thanksgiving Activities for Kids

Updated on May 15, 2016

5 Fun Thanksgiving Activities for Kids

Teach your kids about Thanksgiving with these 5 fun activities!
Teach your kids about Thanksgiving with these 5 fun activities! | Source

How to Teach Your Kids About Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving approaches, make learning about this important holiday fun with these 5 educational activities for your kids. You can use these easy to make crafts to teach your children the history and background of the Thanksgiving holiday and the importance of being thankful for what they have in their lives.

So let's be thankful for the little ones in our lives and teach them why we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday every year. To help get you started, here are 5 fun and educational Thanksgiving activities to share and create with your kids.


Thankful Hands Wreath

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Our finished thankful hands wreath!Supplies you need to make a thankful hands wreath.Trace your child's hand on yellow, red, and orange construction paper.Use a glue stick or tape to connect hands together to make a wreath.
Our finished thankful hands wreath!
Our finished thankful hands wreath! | Source
Supplies you need to make a thankful hands wreath.
Supplies you need to make a thankful hands wreath. | Source
Trace your child's hand on yellow, red, and orange construction paper.
Trace your child's hand on yellow, red, and orange construction paper. | Source
Use a glue stick or tape to connect hands together to make a wreath.
Use a glue stick or tape to connect hands together to make a wreath. | Source

How to Make a Thankful Hands Wreath

The first educational Thanksgiving activity for kids is the thankful hands wreath. Use this fun craft to explain to your children about gratitude. Ask them what they are most thankful for in their lives. As they answer, add these items to the wreath so your kids can be reminded what is most important to them throughout the month of November. Another good idea is to laminate this wreath onto posterboard and use it for a placemat on Thanksgiving day. Here are the supplies you will need and step by step directions to create this wreath:

Supplies:

  • Yellow, orange, and red construction paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Pen or marker
  • Tape or glue stick
  • Contact paper or laminator (optional)

Directions:

  1. Stack yellow, orange, and red construction paper.
  2. Trace your child's hand four times (if possible) on the top sheet.
  3. Cut out hands. When you are finished, you should have 12 hands total.
  4. Glue or tape hands together in a circle.
  5. Write what your child is thankful for on each hand.
  6. If desired, glue to posterboard and use contact paper or laminator to make placemat.


Paper Plate Turkey

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Our finished paper plate turkey!Paint a large and small paper plate with brown paint.Trace and cut your child's hand out of red, yellow, and orange construction paper.Glue on wiggly eyes, beak, and gobbler on the small plate to create the turkey face.Glue or tape 3 hands to each side of the large plate to create the feathers.Bend orange strips of construction paper back and forth to create the turkey legs.
Our finished paper plate turkey!
Our finished paper plate turkey! | Source
Paint a large and small paper plate with brown paint.
Paint a large and small paper plate with brown paint. | Source
Trace and cut your child's hand out of red, yellow, and orange construction paper.
Trace and cut your child's hand out of red, yellow, and orange construction paper. | Source
Glue on wiggly eyes, beak, and gobbler on the small plate to create the turkey face.
Glue on wiggly eyes, beak, and gobbler on the small plate to create the turkey face. | Source
Glue or tape 3 hands to each side of the large plate to create the feathers.
Glue or tape 3 hands to each side of the large plate to create the feathers. | Source
Bend orange strips of construction paper back and forth to create the turkey legs.
Bend orange strips of construction paper back and forth to create the turkey legs. | Source

Turkey Quiz


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How to Make a Paper Plate Turkey

Another educational Thanksgiving activity for kids is the paper plate turkey. With this craft, you can explain that turkey is a traditional Thanksgiving dish due to being the most plentiful meat source back in the 1600s. For more fun facts to share with your kids, take the short quiz to the right to test your knowledge about this holiday bird. Below is a list of supplies and directions to make a paper plate turkey:

Supplies:

  • Large and small paper plate
  • Paint and paintbrush
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Wiggly eyes
  • Hole puncher
  • String or yarn
  • Glue or tape
  • Stapler

Directions:

  1. Paint large and small paper plates with brown paint.
  2. While plates are drying, trace and cut your child's hand on red, yellow, and orange construction paper. You will need 2 hands of each color to make the feathers.
  3. Glue wiggly eyes, small orange triangle for beak, and red gobbler to small plate to create the turkey's face.
  4. Glue or tape 3 hands to each side of the large plate to create the feathers.
  5. Bend long strips of orange construction paper back and forth to create the turkey legs and glue to bottom of large plate.
  6. Staple the head to the body of the turkey and punch a hole at the top of the head.
  7. Tie a piece of string or yarn through the hole and hang your turkey up for display.


Native American Teepee

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Our finished Native American teepee!Supplies you will need to make a Native American teepee.Wrap cardstock or construction paper into cyclinder shape and secure with tape.Tape 3 sticks into inside of teepee for support.
Our finished Native American teepee!
Our finished Native American teepee! | Source
Supplies you will need to make a Native American teepee.
Supplies you will need to make a Native American teepee. | Source
Wrap cardstock or construction paper into cyclinder shape and secure with tape.
Wrap cardstock or construction paper into cyclinder shape and secure with tape. | Source
Tape 3 sticks into inside of teepee for support.
Tape 3 sticks into inside of teepee for support. | Source

How to Make a Native American Teepee

The third educational Thanksgiving activity for kids is to make a Native American teepee. This craft allows you to discuss the history and the importance of Native Americans to the Thanksgiving holiday. Explain to your child that the Wampanoag tribe who lived in teepees were invited to the first Thanksgiving dinner by the Pilgrims. This tribe taught the Pilgrims how to farm and cultivate their land to survive the harsh winter. Here is a list of supplies and step by step directions to make this craft:

Supplies:

  • Cardstock or construction paper
  • Sticks, straws, or twigs
  • Paint or markers
  • Glue or tape

Directions:

  1. Wrap cardstock or construction paper into cylinder and secure with tape or glue.
  2. Tape 3 sticks, straws, or twigs into the inside of the teepee to support the cylinder.
  3. Decorate the outside of the teepee with paint or markers.


Pilgrim Hat

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Our finished Pilgrim hat!Supplies needed to make a Pilgrim hat.Cut white strips of cardstock to fit around your child's head.Cut out hat shape, white strip, and buckle from construction paper.Glue pieces together to form hat.Glue or tape hat on white strip and fit to the size of your child's head.
Our finished Pilgrim hat!
Our finished Pilgrim hat! | Source
Supplies needed to make a Pilgrim hat.
Supplies needed to make a Pilgrim hat. | Source
Cut white strips of cardstock to fit around your child's head.
Cut white strips of cardstock to fit around your child's head. | Source
Cut out hat shape, white strip, and buckle from construction paper.
Cut out hat shape, white strip, and buckle from construction paper. | Source
Glue pieces together to form hat.
Glue pieces together to form hat. | Source
Glue or tape hat on white strip and fit to the size of your child's head.
Glue or tape hat on white strip and fit to the size of your child's head. | Source

Fun Thanksgiving Treat - Sugar Cone Cornucopia

Fill a sugar cone with fruit shaped candy, candy corn, citrus slices, dried fruit, or fruit shaped cereal. Tie ribbon around cone and serve on plate. By serving this treat, you can explain how the cornucopia is a sign of abundance and nourishment and that it was used on the original Thanksgiving table to hold all the fruits and vegetables.

How to Make a Pilgrim Hat

Another educational Thanksgiving activity for kids is to make a Pilgrim hat. With this craft, you will be able to teach your child about the Pilgrims who traveled across the ocean on the Mayflower to start a new colony in America. Describe the type of clothes Pilgrims wore and lead them into making the Pilgrim hat. Below is a list of supplies and directions to this craft:

Supplies:

  • White cardstock paper
  • Yellow and black construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Glue stick
  • Measuring tape

Directions:

  1. Measure your child's head and cut a long strip of white cardstock an inch longer to fit around head. You may need to cut two strips and attach them together.
  2. Cut hat shape out of black construction paper. Also cut white strip and yellow buckle from construction paper to attach to hat.
  3. Glue white strip and buckle to hat. Then glue or tape hat to long white strip of cardstock.
  4. Tape white strip to fit around your child's head. Cut off any excess length if needed.


Potato Turkey

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Our finished potato turkey!The supplies you will need to make a potato turkey.Attach toothpicks to bottom so it can stand up and start arranging the face with peanut butter as the glue.Cut out feathers from construction paper. Tape together in a fan shape and attach to back of potato using peanut butter.Bend orange strips of paper back and forth to create turkey legs. Attach to bottom of potato.My son showing off his potato turkey.
Our finished potato turkey!
Our finished potato turkey! | Source
The supplies you will need to make a potato turkey.
The supplies you will need to make a potato turkey. | Source
Attach toothpicks to bottom so it can stand up and start arranging the face with peanut butter as the glue.
Attach toothpicks to bottom so it can stand up and start arranging the face with peanut butter as the glue. | Source
Cut out feathers from construction paper. Tape together in a fan shape and attach to back of potato using peanut butter.
Cut out feathers from construction paper. Tape together in a fan shape and attach to back of potato using peanut butter. | Source
Bend orange strips of paper back and forth to create turkey legs. Attach to bottom of potato.
Bend orange strips of paper back and forth to create turkey legs. Attach to bottom of potato. | Source
My son showing off his potato turkey.
My son showing off his potato turkey. | Source

Potato Turkey Using Only Food

Body Parts
Examples of Food to Use
Eyes
Raisins or M&Ms
Gobbler
Apple peel, red gummy, or dried cranberry
Beak
Peanuts, raisins, or carrot pieces
Feathers
Red or yellow peppers, carrots, or squash
Feet
Pretzels or carrots
Glue all body parts with peanut butter.

How to Make a Potato Turkey

The final educational Thanksgiving activity for kids is the potato turkey. This is another fun project that can help teach about the turkey and also about fruits and vegetables. We made our potato turkey using construction paper but there is an alternate way using only food. Either way you choose to make it, your kids will love the final results. Below is a list of supplies and step by step directions to make this craft:

Supplies:

  • Large brown potato

  • Peanut butter

  • Toothpicks

  • Red, yellow, and orange construction paper

  • Wiggly eyes

  • Glue or tape

Directions:

  1. Attach 3 toothpicks to the bottom of the potato to make a tripod so it can stand on its own.
  2. Cut a small beak from orange construction paper and gobbler from the red paper.
  3. Glue the wiggly eyes, beak, and gobbler on to the face using peanut butter.
  4. Cut out 3 feathers of each color construction paper and glue or tape together in a fan shape.
  5. Attach these feathers to the back of the potato using peanut butter.
  6. Cut 2 small strips of orange paper and bend back and forth to make turkey legs.
  7. Attach the legs to the bottom of the potato with peanut butter. These legs will help cover up the toothpicks.


Thanksgiving Activity Poll

Which one of these craft ideas is your favorite?

See results

How to Teach Kids About Thanksgiving

Sharing these Thanksgiving activities with your kids can be both fun and educational at the same time. Explain to your children why you are making each craft and share fun facts about each one. They will be having so much fun that they won't even realize that you are using these crafts as a teaching tool about the importance and history of the Thanksgiving holiday!

I hope you have found these educational Thanksgiving activities helpful to teach your kids all about the holiday. Will you be using any of these craft ideas? Do you have any other fun Thanksgiving activities that your kids enjoy? Feel free to share your ideas and any other comments in the section provided below. Happy Thanksgiving to all!


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    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 5 years ago from San Francisco

      These are all great activities but I think the grateful hands activity is my favorite. We will have to do this, and laminating them into placemats is a brilliant idea!

    • alissaroberts profile image
      Author

      Alissa Roberts 5 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Thanks so much Robin! The hands wreath is a great project. I always find it interesting (and sometimes funny) to hear what my boys are grateful for :) Appreciate you stopping by!

    • Global-Chica profile image

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      These five thanksgiving activities are awesome! I think if I had to choose just one, I'd also go with the hands wreath that shows the importance of gratitude. I love that kids get to cut up cutouts of their hands and write what they're thankful for on each hand. I'm sharing this hub with my friends who have kids children who are around 6 yrs old.

    • alissaroberts profile image
      Author

      Alissa Roberts 5 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Thanks so much Global-Chica! Actually when I recreated that craft with my 6 year old I realized he didn't need my help anymore tracing his hand. Kind of made me sad - they grow too fast! Appreciate you sharing with your friends - hope they enjoy them!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      This is a great round up of craft projects! Thanks!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I will have to pass this on to my teacher friends as they plan way ahead for school activitites. My favorite is the potato turkey. I love the unique creation from such an unusual food item. It would be fun to see kids make this one. Voted up.

    • alissaroberts profile image
      Author

      Alissa Roberts 5 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Thanks randomcreative! Appreciate you stopping by!

    • alissaroberts profile image
      Author

      Alissa Roberts 5 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Thanks teaches12345! The potato turkey was my boys favorite one to make. They thought it was funny we had to use peanut butter for the glue. Appreciate you passing this one on to your friends and for the vote up!

    • donnaisabella profile image

      Donaisabella 5 years ago from Fort Myers

      A beautiful way of teaching kids history, I enjoyed it especially that yesterday I was watching this history in a documentary 'America,the story of Us'. Great resource, I am sharing it.

    • alissaroberts profile image
      Author

      Alissa Roberts 5 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Thanks so much donnaisabella! My boys had fun making these crafts and hopefully learned a few things in the process. Appreciate you stopping by and for sharing!

    • AnnaCia profile image

      AnnaCia 5 years ago

      Just fabulous. Very well written. Your hub is very clear and organized. No doubt many will love this article as I have.

    • alissaroberts profile image
      Author

      Alissa Roberts 5 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Thanks so much AnnaCia! Happy to hear that you enjoyed it! Appreciate you stopping by!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      These are so neat! Kids would love to make these, and they're all so cute!

      Congratulations on getting one of the awards in the March contest - well deserved!!!!

    • alissaroberts profile image
      Author

      Alissa Roberts 5 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Hi Marcy! All of these crafts were a lot of fun for both my boys to make and they learned a few things in the process :) Thanks so much for your sweet comments - the award was an extra nice surprise! Appreciate you stopping by!

    • Purple Perl profile image

      Purple Perl 5 years ago from Bangalore,India

      I am sure all moms & dads are pleased with this hub. I loved every activity presented. Only I do not have kids that age.Thanks for being so creative and sharing it too! Congrats too on your win!

    • alissaroberts profile image
      Author

      Alissa Roberts 5 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Thanks so much Purple Perl! All of these crafts were a big hit with my boys. Hope other parents will like them and share with their little ones this Thanksgiving holiday. Appreciate you stopping by and for your kind comments!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      It's so important to use educational activities with children during holidays. Thanks for putting these together in one post for parents and grandparents!

    • alissaroberts profile image
      Author

      Alissa Roberts 3 years ago from Normandy, TN

      I can't even believe Thanksgiving is almost here. This year has just flown by. Hope other kids enjoy these as much as mine did. Appreciate you stopping by RTalloni!

    • rudra007 profile image

      Veenoo 3 years ago from India

      Very nice ideas. Thanks.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      Congrats on HOTD Kids love to do these...I miss doing them with my kids at school...but now I do them on a much smaller scale with my grandbaby boy.

    • Hui (蕙) profile image

      Hui (蕙) 3 years ago

      Learning from game is the best way to intrigue children to be interested in knowledge. This is so fun, lovable and knowlegeable.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 3 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Great crafts and not just for Thanksgiving, either. Thank you. I am grateful for this hub.

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 3 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      These are great ideas! I never thought of making the thankful hands wreath. In my classroom we always made green ones as a Christmas wreath in December. Way to go!

    • alissaroberts profile image
      Author

      Alissa Roberts 3 years ago from Normandy, TN

      Thank you all for the sweet comments! We had such a busy day yesterday with family and Thanksgiving that I just now got the email that this one got hub of the day. Such a nice surprise! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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