Thanksgiving Activities and Centers for Preschool, Pre-K, and Kindergarten
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It’s turkey time, and that means Thanksgiving activities and centers for your classroom! In this post, learn how to engage your students in hands-on, Thanksgiving-themed learning activities they will love. Make learning so much fun so they don’t even realize they are doing work! Don’t forget to grab your FREE Thankful placemat later in the post!
> Grab my Thanksgiving Math and Literacy Centers, Thanksgiving Fine Motor Mats, Thankful Social Skills Unit, and My Body & Teeth Science Unit for everything you need to bring Thanksgiving to your classroom! <<
Grab the FREEBIE by entering your email in the box at the bottom of this post. This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a tiny commission when you use my links at no cost to you.
Thanksgiving Activities and Centers
Turkey Cookies! Make a fun Thanksgiving snack with your little learners, turkey cookies! I put everything on a plate beforehand, so all I had to do was pass out a plate to each child. Each plate had a plain sugar cookie, chocolate frosting, a popsicle stick for spreading, candy corn, and edible eyes. Once they had made their turkeys, I added the red frosting for the waddle.
Literacy Thanksgiving Activities and Centers
Turkey Letter and Sound Match! Check out this beginning sound and letter match-up-turkey style. I put some corn kernels in a tub and then added the letter feathers, sound feathers, and magnet letters. I even threw in some magnet letters that didn’t match!
Thanksgiving Letter Puzzles! I hid these Thanksgiving letter puzzles in my sensory bin. Students matched the uppercase and lowercase letters to create the picture. Hiding puzzle pieces or game pieces in a sensory bin is a calming activity that stimulates students’ senses.
Thanksgiving Syllables Dinner! Students clapped the number of syllables in various foods and placed them onto the corresponding plate. Add more movement and have students JUMP the syllables. Trust me; it is a ton of fun!
Thanksgiving Writing Center! Add Thanksgiving-themed writing paper and vocabulary cards to your writing center. I also added fall-colored dot markers and fall stickers to the center.
Thankful Placemat! Do you do a Thanksgiving celebration in your classroom? Grab these thankful placemats to have something engaging for students to do while they celebrate. Students can draw what they are thankful for in the middle and write it on the line at the top.
>>Grab the FREEBIE by entering your email in the box at the bottom of this blog post!<<
Thankful Books! The Thanksgiving season gives us an opportunity to talk about being thankful. Children can identify what gratefulness looks like, what it feels like, what we are thankful for, and how we can show others we are thankful. Students colored mini I am Thankful books after we read The Thankful Book by Todd Parr. You can also put blank thank you cards for students to write thank you cards to their friends and family.
Thanksgiving Book List! Check out my list of Thanksgiving books that are perfect for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten students. They are books that I use in my classroom and are hand-picked over the years as our favorites.
10 Fat Turkey Retelling Activity! One of my favorite Thanksgiving books is 10 Fat Turkeys. It is a cute story, and as a bonus, I can use it to teach rhyme and informal subtraction! I drew a line on the board for the fence and placed the 10 turkeys on it. Students helped me put the numbers above the turkeys in order, and now we are identifying numbers too! As I read, the students take the turkeys off one by one.
Math Thanksgiving Activities and Centers
Turkey Color Sort! Draw turkey faces on paper towel tubes and cut them into thirds. Then tape one feather to each one. Students will then use tweezers or tongs to pick up other feathers and place them into the matching turkey.
Turkey Shape Match! Students will practice sorting shapes with these fun shape turkeys! There are printable mats and then feathers that the students add to each turkey to complete his tail feathers.
Pattern Block Turkeys! I gave students a felt or foam circle, googly eyes, a beak, and a waddle. Then they glued it all together. Next, the little learners used pattern blocks to create the rest of the turkey. This is such a fun project to encourage spatial awareness growth and creativity.
Feather Patterns! Practice forming and extending patterns with pipe cleaners placed on the turkey mats. You could also use small feathers, strips of paper, or another colored manipulatives you have in your classroom.
Turkey Number Match! It’s so important to integrate sensory into different activities as the weather changes, and we have to stay inside more. Those yucky days when students can’t go outside can be tough. So I just had to do Thanksgiving turkey number puzzles hidden in the corn sensory bucket.
Thanksgiving Number Build It Mats! Simply writing numbers on paper is boring. So why not write numbers in corn? Students pick a number card, write the number in the corn, and count out the corresponding number of pom poms to fill the ten frames. Students are developing one-to-one correspondence, identifying numbers, writing numbers, and developing fine motor skills in this activity.
Fine Motor & Art Thanksgiving Activities and Centers
Turkey Fine Motor! Grab a foam ball and paint it black or brown. Next, glue on the eyes and beak. Students will poke feathers into the foam to create a cute turkey fine motor activity.
Thanksgiving Dinner Cutting Activity! Making a Thanksgiving dinner plate is a favorite in my class! Grab some grocery store ads and cut them into manageable pieces (I cut mine on the folds). Students cut yummy items from the ads and glue them to their plates. If your students are struggling, draw a black line around the object. Don’t forget to put an empty tub on the table for trash.
Turkey Hats! Create these fun turkey hats by using a sentence strip and the feather pieces from the Thankful Turkey craft. I traced circles for the head, and students added in the details. They loved making these hats!
Thanksgiving Pie Play Dough Tray! When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of pie. Create a pie-making play dough tray. For this activity, I put out small pie pans, small pie servers, apple counters, pear counters, a rolling pin, pizza cutters, and a spice jar (with red pom poms inside) to accompany the play dough. This play dough tray will build students’ fine motor muscles, hand-eye coordination, and imagination. It would be a fun activity to do after you read There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie.
Turkey Play Dough Tray! Yes, two play dough trays for this theme! For this turkey play dough tray, you will need brown play dough, feathers, eyes, beads, and orange pipe cleaners. I had a turkey cookie cutter, so I added it to the tray too. Students sculpt a turkey body with the play dough and add other items to create their turkey. If you add dice, students can roll the dice and count out the corresponding number of feathers.
Pumpkin Pie Art! To keep the pie theme going, make puffy paint pies in art! It’s easy to make puffy paint too. It’s about equal parts, plain shaving cream (not the gel kind), white glue, and food coloring. Mix it all together to create the perfect consistency and color. Then students spread orange puffy paint on a paper plate all the way to the edges. Next, cut small strips of brown paper to make the crust, and since the paint has glue in it already, it will stick perfectly. Lastly, place one cotton ball (aka whip cream) on top.
Corn Painting! Corn painting is the perfect open-end art activity for Thanksgiving. Look at the beautiful prints the corn makes when you roll it!
Pumpkin Pie Sensory! This is such a fun sensory bin and simple to put together! I used red lentils, mini pie plates, measuring spoons & cups, pumpkin cookie cutters, pumpkin mini erasers, and white pom poms.
Turkey Bulletin Board Craft! Truth: bulletin boards are not my favorite thing. I always strive to make the bulletin boards in and outside of my classroom filled with student work. This turkey has to be the cutest bulletin board I have ever made. It’s festive, colorful, and made with love by my students!
I cut long ovals for the feathers. Students painted an AB pattern on each feather. Students also helped me paint the circle turkey body and head. Once everything was dry, I assembled the turkey and added the eyes, beak, and feet.
Science & STEM Thanksgiving Activities and Centers
Thanksgiving Blocks & STEM Props! Take the Thanksgiving theme to the blocks center! Add pumpkins, leaves, popsicle sticks, feathers, veggie counters, and cardboard pieces, and Fall STEM I Can Build Cards to get students building and engineering Thanksgiving things!
Healthy Me Science! Thanksgiving is full of food so investigate healthy foods, their bodies, and healthy habits at the science table. Sort pretend food and practice various exercises (and time them too). You can find all of these printables in my My Body and Teeth Science Unit HERE.
Dramatic Play Idea
Grocery Store Dramatic Play! My students love to play at the grocery store set-up! Check out this post to see how I set it up and all the fun ideas I use in my classroom.
Grab the printable resources for the grocery store dramatic play here.
I can’t wait for you to set up for classroom for Thanksgiving, and with all these resources and activities, your students will have a blast learning! Be sure to grab all the resources you need and get busy planning! Happy learning friends!
Check out this fun Turkey Letter & Color Sort for another great idea for Thanksgiving time in the classroom!
Make an adorable Thanksgiving craft with your students! Check out my post for Turkey Handprint Towels!
Love the activities? Grab my Thanksgiving Math and Literacy Centers for tons of Thanksgiving activities & centers for little learners.
Teach little learners about being thankful with the I Am Thankful Social Skills Unit.
Get even more fine motor activities in my Thanksgiving Fine Motor Pack, which has mats for pattern blocks, pom poms, play dough, and more!
Check out this video for more Thanksgiving activities and centers.
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I’m Jackie, your go-to girl for early childhood inspiration and research-based curriculum.