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Thanksgiving Activities for Kindergarten

I love to teach all about Thanksgiving in my classroom. It’s such a great topic of conversation for the kindergarten classroom and there’s so much to learn! Since there’s a lot to cover, I like to use lapbooks to keep all of our Thanksgiving activities in one place. Curious as to how I do this? So glad you asked! Come along as I share my favorite lapbook Thanksgiving activities for kindergarten!

What Is A Lapbook?

If you’re new around here, you might not have seen all the fun lapbook (also called flippy flaps) activities I like to use in my classroom. Lapbooks are essentially smaller versions of interactive notebooks that we make using a manilla file folder. Tucked inside the file folder, we place all kinds of great activities and information for a topic of study.

I use lapbooks all year long, but they are SO much fun for Thanksgiving activities. After all, there’s so much information to cover for this topic. I love that all of our activities are kept in one place and allow children to look back on all they have learned. As an added bonus, lapbooks make an instant keepsake filled with fun Thanksgiving activities that students worked hard on in kindergarten! Take a peek at this video to check out how our Thanksgiving lapbooks come together.

Teaching About The First Thanksgiving

To start out our activities, I love to read my students a variety of books about the first Thanksgiving. Kindergarten is often the first time kiddos will hear about the first Thanksgiving, so I like to make sure we spend some time reading and discussing what happened in history. Some of my favorite books on this topic include:

Any of these books are a great way to open up the conversation for kiddos about the first Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, and Native Americans. After we read a couple of books, I love to sit and chat with the kids about how Thanksgiving today might look different. We discuss family traditions and what we can look forward to during this holiday.

Taking the time to open with books and discussion will lay the groundwork for high engagement in your Thanksgiving activities, so don’t skip this step! Afterward, we create a fun foldable activity that shows the chain of events that occurred during the first Thanksgiving. Students will put the events in the correct sequence, color the pieces and add them to their lapbook for a great reminder of the first Thanksgiving story.

Thanksgiving Activities for Comparing

Once we have done a bit of an introduction on the Pilgrims and Native Americans, I love to have my kiddos work on identifying how these two people groups were different. We do this in a couple of ways.

Thanksgiving Labeling Activities

First off, I have the kiddos work on coloring their own cut-outs of Pilgrims and Native Americans.

Labeling the clothing of pilgrims and Native Americans is a great Thanksgiving Activity.

As the children color, I will often ask them to think back to the stories we read and try to remember how the people were dressed to inspire their creations.

Next, I have the kiddos glue their people down and we get to work on labeling.

The students will cut out labels for the clothing on their people and then work on placing them in the correct spots.

Some kiddos might be able to sound out some words on their own, but I love doing this during a small group setting to offer help to those that need it.

After all the labels are in the correct spots, kiddos will glue them down and then we chat about similarities and differences in their clothing.

Thanksgiving Anchor Charts

Another activity we use to find similarities and differences among these groups of people are anchor charts. I’m a big fan of having kiddos brainstorm topics as a whole group.

We make a large anchor chart as a class that lists both what the Pilgrims and Native Americans “did, had, and were”. We’ll spend some time listing all the things kiddos can come up with and then they choose their favorites to add to their own chart for their lapbooks.

Thanksgiving Foods

Aside from the history of Thanksgiving, it’s fun to talk about how we celebrate it today! I love chatting with the kids about their own family traditions and things they look forward to with their families.

Thanksgiving Activities could include labeling traditional Thanksgiving foods.

Most kiddos immediately think of turkey if you ask them about what kind of food we eat on Thanksgiving but it’s fun to brainstorm all the other things they might see on their table as well.

For this Thanksgiving activity, we cut and color a set of typical foods you might see on the holiday table. Our list includes turkey, bread, potatoes, corn, peas, cranberry sauce, and pie!

Then kiddos will work on cutting and gluing a small foldable piece to their file folder to make a little pocket.

Their Thanksgiving food cards tuck neatly inside, ready to be pulled out again any time!

Thanksgiving Sorting

Thanksgiving is a great time to introduce or review the concepts of now and then or past and present. Students will cut out and sort a variety of objects and then classify when they were used.

This is another great activity to do as a whole group before sending kiddos to complete their own pieces for their lapbooks. To do this, I like to open the conversation with my class about things that are different today from the first thanksgiving. Students usually have lots of input for this question and will happily volunteer their answers.

Some of the things we talk about include clothing, electricity, transportation, how we wash dishes, and how we cook our food. After we’ve done a bit of discussion, the kiddos will cut, color, and sort their own paper pieces illustrating these differences. Then they will attach paper pockets to their lapbooks for each category and place the pieces inside.

Digital Thanksgiving Activities

Another way to add some more thanksgiving activities to your lessons is with the use of digital activities.

Digital activities are engaging and exciting for kiddos, so I love mixing them into our lessons. I use a digital version of our Thanksgiving lapbook in our classroom throughout the month. It comes in handy when giving group instruction as well as for center review activities.

Our digital activities include many of the same concepts we worked on in our physical lapbooks, so it’s a great way to assess how much your students remember and check in on their understanding. The digital version is also a fantastic option for homework or for children who missed the in-class lesson.

More Thanksgiving Activities

The nice thing about using lapbooks is that you can pick and choose which Thanksgiving activities will work best with your group. Aside from the ones I mentioned, there are so many other fun things you might want to include in your own Thanksgiving lapbooks like…

  • Pilgrim & Native American Vocabulary
  • Pilgrim & Native American Facts
  • KWL Charts
  • Favorite Thanksgiving Book Lists
  • Pilgrim & Native American Writing Prompts
  • Thanksgiving Vocabulary Words
  • Comparing Student Chores to Pilgrim Chores
  • Thanksgiving Five Senses
  • What Students Are Thankful For

The possibilities for Thanksgiving activities are endless with lapbooks! When making your own, feel free to pick and choose whichever activities work best for your students and focus on the concepts you’re looking to target.

Try Thanksgiving Lapbooks In Your Classroom

Lapbooks are such a wonderful way to keep a record of all the Thanksgiving activities you’ve done as a class. Plus, as soon as kiddos have completed their project, they will be so proud to show off their fancy creation to loved ones. These are such fun keepsakes to send home right before the holiday! If you’d like to check out all the fun Thanksgiving activities I mentioned in this post, you can find the full resource here. And don’t forget the digital option as well if you’d like to go that route!

Looking for More Lapbooks?

Are you in love with lapbooks now too?! I know I am! These are such fun, interactive ways to focus on a wide variety of topics with your little learners. That’s right, they aren’t just for Thanksgiving activities, you can use them for anything! If you’d like to check out more lapbook activities, be sure to take a peek at this list!

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Hi, I’m Julie!

If you are looking for hands-on, engaging kindergarten activities, you came to the right place!

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