Add these Thanksgiving activities for preschoolers to your holiday ideas for kids. They’re just what you need when planning your next Thanksgiving theme.
Even though I say these are Thanksgiving preschool activities, I know from personal experience that kindergarten students enjoy them, too! I love that you can adapt each of the ideas to best meet the needs of the children in your care.
There are over 30 ideas for Thanksgiving, and they cover most content areas. So you’ll find science, math, literacy, art, crafts, and sensory activities below. Your most difficult job is going to be narrowing down which one to start with!
This post houses all of Fun-A-Day’s Thanksgiving ideas, so you’ll find multiple ideas below. Most of them have a link (the underlined blue text) that you can click on.
To get this most out of this page, read through everything first. Then go back and click on the links of the activities you’re most interested in. The links take you to each of the individual ideas, with more pictures and in-depth descriptions (and free printables as the case may be).
Thanksgiving Activities for Preschoolers
Now it’s time to get into all of the Thanksgiving fun! Be sure to save this page, as I’ll be updating it as we add more preschool Thanksgiving activities to Fun-A-Day.
I’ve split things up into categories based on subject area. That way you can easily find what you want! You’ll find a few different topics below, too. There are general Thanksgiving ideas, as well as activities that are focused on turkeys, friends/family, corn, and pumpkins. I even included some little red hen activities because some of us enjoy incorporating that story into our Thanksgiving plans.
Thanksgiving Crafts and Art for Kids
Let’s start things off with some creative Thanksgiving activities for preschoolers! Here are some of our favorite art and crafts for November.
Do you and the kids have any favorite Thanksgiving art favorites?
Math Thanksgiving Activities for Preschoolers
Now let’s take a peek at some Thanksgiving math ideas. Have your students practice early math concepts like shapes, colors, sorting, subitizing, counting, and number recognition! All while having fun this November.
- Thanksgiving Math with foam turkeys
- Turkey Math (dice game)
- Pumpkin Pie Calendar Numbers (coming soon!)
These math ideas are sweet and simple, but the kids seriously love them! What Thanksgiving math activities are your students into right now?
Thanksgiving Science Fun
Your little scientists are going to love these science-based Thanksgiving activities for preschoolers. We’ve had such a blast with them over the years.
- Dancing Popcorn (using RAINBOW corn!)
- Pumpkin Seed Slime (two ways to make it)
What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving science activities?
Literacy Thanksgiving Activities for Preschoolers
We can’t forget about the Thanksgiving literacy ideas, can we? Below are some ideas that explore early readying concepts, fine motor skills, retelling, and more.
- Thanksgiving Cutting Strips (coming soon!)
- Pumpkin Pie Beginning Sounds (coming soon!)
- Little Red Hen Printable Book (coming soon!)
Which of these would your kids enjoy the most?
Thanksgiving Sensory Activities
And finally, we have sensory Thanksgiving activities for preschoolers! While some of the above activities include sensory aspects, the ideas below are super focused on the sensory play.
- Thanksgiving Play Dough Mats (coming soon!)
What kinds of sensory activities do you like to include with your preschool Thanksgiving theme?
More Thanksgiving Activities for Preschoolers
Here are a few collections that might help you as you plan for Thanksgiving:
- Turkey Activities
- Thanksgiving Bulletin Board Ideas
- Corn Activities
- Little Red Hen Activities
- Leaf Activities for Preschoolers
And just a few more ideas that I’ve done with young children previously:
- Set up an invitation to make Thanksgiving “dinner” with play dough
- Turn your dramatic play center into a family’s Thanksgiving dinner
- Have the kids make a class book about favorite Thanksgiving traditions
- Teach a friendship theme in November
- Teach a family theme near Thanksgiving
Okay, that is definitely more than 30 Thanksgiving activities for preschoolers to inspire your holiday planning. Let me know in the comments which ideas your students really responded to!
Why Teach a Thanksgiving Theme?
Yes, quite a bit about American Thanksgiving is fraught with controversy. And some of the topics aren’t appropriate for young children (but you can explain tough things in age appropriate ways!).
That doesn’t mean you can’t teach a Thanksgiving theme in preschool. It just means that you need to break the holiday down into a focus that preschoolers can understand. Like anything else in preschool, it’s about keeping your Thanksgiving activities for preschoolers age appropriate.
For starters, because it’s a holiday that your students are likely going to be celebrating with their families. They’re already hearing about family coming in for the holiday weekend. Or they’re making plans to go visit relatives.
When it comes down to it, Thanksgiving is about things that preschoolers can understand – family, friends, love, being thankful. And all of those things are definitely age appropriate!
(If you’re here from a locality that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, or you have students who don’t celebrate, you can still find some great ideas to use.)
Articles to Read about Thanksgiving
As I mentioned above, American Thanksgiving has become a bit controversial. One of the biggest reasons revolves around stereotyping of Native Americans.
Here are some good articles to read, if you’re interested:
- Do American Indians Celebrate Thanksgiving? from The Smithsonian Magazine
- Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education from NAEYC
- How to Tackle the Moral Dilemma of a Pre-K Thanksgiving from Rasmussen University
- What Kids are Learning about Thanksgiving is Changing from Time
Materials to Have On-Hand for Thanksgiving Activities
If you’re a regular reader of Fun-A-Day, you already know that I’m a fan of using what you have first. So don’t go rushing out to grab anything new for your Thanksgiving activities if it’s not in the budget!
If you are looking to add a few new materials to your teacher stash, here are a few items I’d suggest (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
- Corn kernels
- Pipe cleaners (orange, brown, yellow)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Brown play dough
- Googly eyes
- Pumpkin manipulatives
- Pretend play food
Thanksgiving Books for Preschool
As with all preschool themes, I feel like you need to start with a base of great books to read with the kids.
Here are a few to consider adding to your preschool Thanksgiving activities:
- How to Catch a Turkey
- Turkey Trouble
- Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks
- There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey
- Bear Says Thanks
What are some of YOUR favorite Thanksgiving books to read with your preschoolers?
Thanksgiving Lesson Plans for Preschool
If you’d like to save yourself some time and stress (and who wouldn’t?!) this holiday season, pop over to Preschool Teacher 101.
We have so many preschool resources done and ready for you:
To save yourself even more time and energy, I highly suggest looking into The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101. It’s a membership that will transform you from an overworked, stressed out teacher to a calmer, more organized, and happier preschool teacher (with a lot more time on your hands!).
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