Thanksgiving Activities for 1st Graders
Thanksgiving is a great time for kids to learn about community, gratitude, and the fall season. So much of the merriment of the holiday is celebrated at home, but there are tons of great ways to have a festive Thanksgiving season in the classroom! I’ve selected some of my favorite Thanksgiving activities for 1st graders to share with you. Break out of the yearly handprint turkey routine and try a few of these fun Thanksgiving activities with your students!
This Thanksgiving table runner makes a great decoration for a classroom table cluster! On a newspaper-covered work surface, give each student an unfolded white coffee filter. Let your students decorate their coffee filters using dot-to-dot stamp pens or water colors in fall hues. Fill an eyedropper with a metallic watercolor paint, and carefully drip the paint onto the coffee filters randomly and evenly. Allow the coffee filters to dry completely on a drying rack or on hanging clothespins. Once the filters have dried, have each student cut out a leaf shape; sketch the first leaf using a stencil, or fold the filter in half before sketching for a mini-lesson on symmetry. At each table cluster, lay out a long piece of red or orange construction paper, or two shorter pieces taped together at the ends. Have each student attach his leaf to the paper using a gluestick, then write his name underneath using a gold pen or permanent marker.
Thanksgiving plates are a great keepsake for families, and the craft also gets students to practice independent thinking and writing skills. Before starting the Thanksgiving craft, have your students do a think-pair-share activity around the question, “What are you thankful for?” Have students write down 1-5 things they are thankful for on a scrap piece of paper. On a whiteboard or blackboard, draw a blank plate for your students. Show them how you write “Thanksgiving Plate” and make a border, then write the phrase “I’m thankful for…” inside the border. Ask for raised hands for students to share things that they are thankful for, then demonstrate how you write the word and add a small picture. Once students understand the activity, pass out porcelain plates and fall-colored porcelain paint makers. Have students create the border and title first before adding their pictures and words in the center. Depending on the kind of markers you buy, these plates will either need to dry at room temperature for 24+ hours, or they’ll need to be baked in an oven for half an hour.
In addition to art and writing activities, there are also some great ways to incorporate STEM learning into Thanksgiving celebrations. This Thanksgiving addition worksheet uses colorful pictures and a Pilgrim theme to keep 1st graders engaged and learning during the holiday season. There are a ton of Thanksgiving-themed math worksheets for kids available to get your students learning all through November.
Be sure to check out Education.com for more amazing holiday resources and free printables for your classroom!