Holidays are always great times to include our content area practice with a little relevant fun. Thanksgiving time is no exception.  It’s like all the things you’ve been practicing from letter formation to math facts are new when you have a turkey theme!

It’s also the start of one of the busiest times of the year for me personally. We’ve got all of our own holiday chaos, and so do most other families… which leaves our students bringing that excitement into the classroom every day. It’s good…. really… but it’s also exhausting and harder than ever to keep them engaged all day.

Here are 10 of my favorite Thanksgiving and Turkey themed activities.

1. Thanksgiving Color By Number & Color By Number Addition

I had to list this first. If you’re like me, and usually in a hurry, this one is probably something like what you’re looking for.  It’s no prep, print and go… and the color by number or addition pictures are pretty much self checking. You can tell at a quick glance whether or not students have completed the activity correctly. They also love this sort of thing, and it’s a great center activity or quiet work station while you’re busy doing other fun things! (Read more about all the other reasons I love Color  by Number resources here:)

2. I am Thankful for Writing… with a twist!

Ok, you’ve probably done this prompt every single year right? And every year the kids write the same things on their turkey feathers or leaves or whatever way you choose to present their work. To be honest, even by first grade they were tired of listing things they were thankful for, which is why I just had to get creative. I started asking them to think of reasons to be thankful for ordinary every day things… a stapler, a chair, a lightbulb, doors! Their imaginations came to life! The pages included in this resource can also be used for the traditional prompt, but it might be fun to explore this alternative.


3.  Thanksgiving Writing Activities

Writing is always one of the struggle areas for young learners since they are just  building out background knowledge and sometimes have a hard time getting started. With fun prompts like “Make a dinner plate shape poem.” or the famous “disguise a turkey” prompt, you can make writing more engaging and fun. They can even practice using all those skills you’ve been working on (you know, like finger spaces, capitalization and punctuation!).


4. Life Cycle of a Turkey-

Curious young learners love to learn about new things… especially animals! Learn all about the life  cycle of a turkey using any book or resource you have in your classroom. Then students can practice what they have been learning about chronological order, applying vocabulary, and sequencing to tell about the life cycle of a turkey.


5. Turkey Math Fact Spinner Game:

This activity is a great print and go activity that’s super easy to differentiate. All you have to do is switch out the spinner or recording sheet to shift from basic addition to adding to multiples of 10, to fact families… and even to multiplication or division. Games like this are my favorite for centers because the students can really be practicing the fluency skill they need without needing a whole different activity.

6. Turkey Word Work Game

This is a perfect way to practice applying phonics skills and reading fluency with word families with your students. They can either play on their own, or use it like a bump game where they play with a partner! Again there are many spinners so you can choose the skills and have many days worth of a literacy center ready to go.


7. Thanksgiving ABC booklet:

Practice letter formation, recognition, and vocabulary building with this abc booklet. It’s great for station work or warm up for students who need a little extra practice with letter writing, but might be ready for a bit more as well. There is also a sentence on each page to help students read left to right and use previously mapped high frequency words as well as to identify the letter sound when the sentence is read aloud by an adult.

8. Counting Turkeys BOOM Cards!

Looking for an interactive counting activity? This deck of self correcting BOOM cards is great for Thanksgiving time as students can drag and drop the turkeys to show that they can represent numbers.

9. How to Make Butter

This is one of my FAVORITE activities to do in the days before Thanksgiving. I’ve typically done this with book buddies, or even as our activity for a little class party. You can help students to make butter and then so many of my students every year also bring the materials home and end up making butter at home for their family feast as well! It feels like magic to them.


10. Thanksgiving Number Line Activity

Practice that math number line work with this center activity. Students can play on their own or with a partner and work to try to get feathers for their turkeys!