The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

Sharing creative ideas and lessons to help children learn

10 Thanksgiving Activities That Don’t Require Worksheets


November is a busy month for teachers. Between assessments and fall conferences, it can be difficult to factor in Thanksgiving arts and crafts. Here are some fun ideas to inspire you that don’t require a lot of time in front of the copier.

1. Thanksgiving word find: Use Thanksgiving-themed words and see how many words students can make out of them before a minute (or two) is up. For example: Mayflower: may, flower, flare, fly, wear, and lay.

mayflower2. Draw the Mayflower: Using chalk, have your students draw a life-size version of the Mayflower on the playground blacktop. Incorporate math and measurement skills to give them an impression of how small the boat was in comparison to the number of pilgrims. The deck length was 80 feet and the width was 24 feet.

3. Turkey hunt: Choose a student to be the “hunter” and have the class decide where to hide the turkey (stuffed animal). When the hunter is getting close, rather than yell “hotter” and “colder,” have the class gobble.

4. Pin the wattle on the turkey: Draw a turkey on poster paper (minus the wattle). Blindfold students and see who can get close to pinning the wattle correctly on the turkey.

5. Persuasive writing: Have students write from the point of view of a turkey and persuade the farmer to have a meat-free holiday.


6. Create a gratitude tree: Explore the concept of thankfulness in your class by having students write what they are grateful for on autumn paper leaf cutouts (brainstorm with the class first). Display the leaves on a gratitude tree pinned to your wall.

7. Play chicken, chicken, turkey: Change the game of duck, duck, goose for the holiday.

8. Feather the turkey: Create a cutout of a turkey without his feathers. Have each student decorate one feather and paste it on the turkey. Celebrate the diversity!

9. Graph favorite foods: Create a graph with the class of students’ favorite Thanksgiving foods. Compare the findings.

kids-playing10. Capture the turkey: Divide students into two teams on opposite sides of the field. Each team must protect their turkey from being snatched by the other team (altered version of capture the flag.)





Heather FoudyHeather Foudy is a certified elementary teacher with over 7 years’ experience as an educator and volunteer in the classroom. She enjoys creating lessons that are meaningful and creative for students. She is currently working for Evan-Moor’s marketing and communications team and enjoys building learning opportunities that are both meaningful and creative for students and teachers alike.

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