It’s turkey time, and that means Thanksgiving-themed 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!
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.
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.
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 is the perfect open-end art activity for Thanksgiving. Look at the beautiful prints the corn makes when you roll it!
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.
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 other we are thankful. Students colored mini I am Thankful books after we read The Thankful Book by Todd Parr. This is included in my I Am Thankful pack in my TPT store.
You can also put blank thank you cards for students to write thank you cards to their friends and family.
Each student made their own thankful turkey craft. On each feather, they wrote and drew things they were thankful for. This is included in my I Am Thankful pack too.
Do you do a Thanksgiving celebration in your classroom? Grab these thankful placemats HERE or click the picture. Students can draw what they are thankful for in the middle and write it on the line at the top.
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. This is included in my Thanksgiving Centers.
Check out this beginning sound and letter match up-turkey style. I put some corn kernels in a tub then added the letter feathers, sound feathers, and magnet letters. I even threw in some magnet letters that didn’t match! This is also included in my Thanksgiving Centers.
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, which are included in my Thanksgiving Centers as well!
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! This is included in my Thanksgiving Centers.
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. This is included in my Thanksgiving Centers.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!
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.
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. This is included in my Thanksgiving Centers.
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. 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.
Love the activities? Grab my Thanksgiving Math and Literacy Centers for 13 Thanksgiving-themed centers. I just updated this unit (11/07/19) so if you own it, go to TpT to download it again for your FREE update.
You may also LOVE my I Am Thankful pack from the Social Skills Curriculum! Go to my TPT store for even more activities and charts all about being thankful. Here are a few of the fun thankful activities included pictured below!
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