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Thanksgiving Unit Study Resources and FREE Thanksgiving Notebooking Pages

Thanksgiving is a holiday that seems more and more to be lost in the rush of Christmas sales and decorations and planning. But it's a holiday that gives us a great opportunity to think about the blessings that we have, and it's also a great way to introduce kids to some of the important history of our country and its first settlers.

Thanksgiving unit study for kids
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A great way to celebrate a holiday in your homeschool is to do a unit study. I've always loved to do this because it's a way to have fun and focus on celebrating while still learning. I also love that unit studies can be used with multiple ages. So I can include all of the kids, using the same study but have different ages complete age-appropriate work.

In this post I'm including ideas, resources and a booklist that you can use to create your own Thanksgiving unit study. If you want to know how to make your own study- along with a free printable planner, you can find out more in this post. I've included a variety of books and activities for different ages here and have given some suggested ages. You can pick and choose the activities that will fit the ages of your kids or adapt the activity for your children's ages.

There is also a FREE packet of Thanksgiving Notebooking Pages that you can download for free and print. The kids can use these pages for recording information, for written narrations, for independent writing assignments or for Thanksgiving themed copywork. Get your free notebooking pages here.

Thanksgiving books for kids

Thanksgiving Booklist

The Story of the Pilgrims (PreK-2nd)
If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 (1st-3rd)

The Thanksgiving Story (K-2nd)

Squanto's Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving (PreK-2nd)

1621: A New Look At Thanksgiving (2nd-6th)

The Pilgrims First Thanksgiving (PreK-2nd)

Thanksgiving Is... (K-3rd)

A Turkey Through Thanksgiving (PrK-2nd)

Sharing the Bread: An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Story (PreK-3rd)

Cranberry Thanksgiving (K-4th)

Our America...The Pilgrim Adventure (3rd-8th)

Three Young Pilgrims (1st-4th)

Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims (1st-5th)

Pilgrim Stories (3rd-6th)

The Landing of the Pilgrims (3rd-8th)

Learning Activities

The Turkey Walk (PreK-2nd)- When my children were younger, I created a turkey walk on our floor to use through the Thanksgiving season. Draw a turkey head on large chart paper and tape it to the floor. Make feather shapes with construction paper and tape them around the turkey head. Use these feathers to practice a variety of skills. Label the feathers with letters to practice letter and sound recognition. Label with numbers to practice number recognition or simple arithmetic. Label with easy words to practice word recognition. To play the turkey walk game, call out instructions for kids and have them find the appropriate feather to stand on. Ex. "Find the feather with the letter 'a'." "Stand on a red feather."

If I Were on the Mayflower (3rd-5th)- Have kids write a story about their experiences on the Mayflower as if they were Pilgrims coming to the new world.

Thanksgiving Science With Dancing Corn (K-2nd)- With this experiment from Little Bins for Little Hands, kids can make corn dance using simple science.

Cranberries and Science (3rd-5th)- After you read Cranberry Thanksgiving (listed above), you can read kids this article to learn more about cranberries and why they are grown in the way they are.

Word Family Turkeys (K-2nd)- Beginning readers can work with word families with this cute turkey activity from Mom to 2 Posh Little Divas.

Pilgrim Hats Skills Practice (K-2nd)- As with the turkey walk, you can use this cute upcycled pilgrim hats made from K cups to let kids practice a variety of skills- number recognition, letter recognition, simple math, and more.

The First Thanksgiving Drama (2nd-6th)- After you've read about the Pilgrims' journey to the New World and the first Thanksgiving, have kids make up their own play reenacting the story. If your family doesn't have enough members, get together with friends or a homeschool co-op to do this.

The First Thanksgiving Video (K-3rd)- This Free School video will give kids a good overview of the first Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Poetry (3rd-8th)- Have kids create a poem that describes something about the first Thanksgiving or that celebrates gratitude and thanksgiving for the blessings they have. An acrostic poem is usually a more simple structure that kids can use, but you can find a variety of poetry forms here. Kids can choose any form for their poem.

Squanto's Gift: Thanksgiving Science- This science experiment from Education World will help kids to understand why the Pilgrims' crops grew better after Squanto and the Indians shared information about fertilizing their corn with fish.

Crafts and Fun

Homemade Butter- As you're talking about the food at the first Thanksgiving, kids can make their own butter with this activity from Little Bins for Little Hands.

Paper Roll Turkeys- Make some cute turkeys using paper towel rolls and paper bags with this craft from Where Imagination Grows.

Dyed Corn Mosaics- Dyed corn kernels make beautiful art with these mosaics from Fun A Day.

Light-up Thanksgiving Turkeys- This craft at Left Brain Craft Brain will require a couple of materials you probably don't have around the house, so there may be a little prep involved. But it's a super cute, different sort of Thanksgiving turkey craft.

Lego Stamped Indian Corn- This cute idea from Crafty Morning uses Legos and paint to create Indian corn.

Thanksgiving Apple Turkeys- These cute apple turkeys from I Heart Crafty Things are a great craft that kids can use as Thanksgiving table decorations.

Other Resources

Homeschool Share has a free lapbook to go along with the book Cranberry Thanksgiving.

Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts is a site that recreates the lives of the Indians and Pilgrims in early America. Their website has a great kids' page with information, fun and activities.

Scholastic has an awesome First Thanksgiving site for kids. It has online activities, teachers' resources, and lots of virtual field trip videos. This is a site my kids loved exploring.

If you're looking for a pre-made unit study for Thanksgiving, Homeschool Legacy has a great six-week micro unit study- The First Thanksgiving. (This isn't free, but we've used it and enjoyed it.)


Don't forget to download your free prinatble Thanksgiving Notebooking Pages here.

Free Thanksgiving notebooking pages

Want more unit study ideas?


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