One way that I like to help young students channel their excitement about upcoming holidays is by using thematic units. In this post, I’m sharing a wide variety of literacy and math activities that you can use to put together a fun Thanksgiving unit for kindergarten!
Thanksgiving Literacy Activities for Kindergarten
There are many engaging ways to help your students practice literacy skills while learning more about the history of Thanksgiving.
All About the Mayflower
First, your students will love to learn all about the Mayflower! As you read from a variety of picture books about Thanksgiving, you can create an anchor chart to help your students understand more about the pilgrims’ journey to America.
Your students can create a craft and writing project that describes what they would take with them if they were to take a journey on the Mayflower. These writing craftivities look great on a seasonal bulletin board!
After learning about the Mayflower, your students can decide if they would want to travel on this ship. They can write a sentence about their decision, then graph the results of the other responses in the class.
Pilgrims Then and People Now
Learning how to compare and contrast is an important comprehension skill. In this Thanksgiving unit, students can compare and contrast the lives of pilgrims and the lives that people lead now.
After discussing this as a class, you can have your students complete this lift-the-flap craft and writing activity. After sorting pictures that belong to either “then” or “now,” students can write a sentence to summarize what they have learned about the people of each time period.
As you discuss the different parts of the Thanksgiving story, your students can work to put together a Thanksgiving book with the things they have learned. I like to space out the pages over the different days of the unit to go along with the discussion for each day.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving activities for kindergarten is to read “The Thanksgiving Surprise” by Peggy Archer. After reading this Thanksgiving book together as a class, you can create a story elements anchor chart and discuss the sequence of events in the story.
Another way to help students practice sequencing and story retelling is with an adorable retelling craft! Students will recreate the setting of the story to show the different places where the turkey hid from the pilgrims.
After completing the craft, students can write and illustrate their own sentences about where they would hide the turkey from the story.
Sight Word Games
Bring some Thanksgiving fun to your sight word practice with games! First, students can add feathers to their turkeys as they take turns choosing and reading sight words. If they can read the word correctly, they can place the feather on their turkey.
Another fun sight word game is Find the Turkey. You can add a variety of sight word cards to a pocket chart and then hide one or more turkey cards behind the word cards. Students will take turns choosing where to look by reading the word on a card. This is an activity that can also be used with number and alphabet cards!
Finally, you can discuss as a class what it means to be thankful for something. Then your students can write and illustrate their own sentences that can be turned into a Thanksgiving placemat. This makes a great Thanksgiving gift for parents and will be a special keepsake for years to come.
Thanksgiving Math Activities for Kindergarten
You can also include a variety of math skills in your Thanksgiving unit!
Your students will enjoy counting and coloring feathers to match the number on each turkey. They can also count out groups of five Thanksgiving dinner items for each plate in another activity.
After creating groups of five, students can practice skip counting by fives, then tens. You can help them practice this skill with an anchor chart, then they can practice on their own with themed number cards.
Another engaging way to practice counting by ten is with this adorable paper plate turkey craft! The children will receive a strip of numbers that are not in the correct order, so they will need to count by tens to help them put the numbers in the right place.
For even more practice with ordering numbers, you can use this pocket chart activity to mix up turkey cards and then put them back in order. This is great practice for skip counting and ordering numbers!
Your students can also practice ordering numbers as they find the missing number in a sequence. Students will use their knowledge of number order and sequencing to figure out which number to write.
Help your students develop an understanding of greater than with these two hands-on activities. First, students will roll dice, then compare and record which number is greater than the other.
Then students can take turns flipping cards, then use clips on a number line to help them decide which number is greater.
After discussing and practicing patterns as a class using a pocket chart activity, students can use these printable pattern mini books to practice continuing and creating a variety of different pattern types.
Students can also use patterns to create colorful necklaces and headbands for this Thanksgiving-themed craft. Then they can create their own pattern for a headband that they can wear!
Pumpkin Pie Graphing
A Thanksgiving unit isn’t complete without a pumpkin pie tasting! Once each student has had a chance to try pumpkin pie, they can vote on whether or not they enjoyed it. Once the class graph is complete, students can then record the data on an individual graphing worksheet.
Printable Thanksgiving Unit for Kindergarten
All of the activities pictured above (and more!) can be found in my printable Thanksgiving Unit for Kindergarten. This resource also includes a unit plan at-a-glance that will help you map out a week of Thanksgiving fun in your own classroom!
Save These Thanksgiving Activities for Kindergarten
If you’d like to come back to this post later, be sure to save the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest. You might also want to check out my blog post full of turkey activities for kindergarten for even more November fun!