Add these Thanksgiving playdough mats to your Thanksgiving activities for preschoolers and kindergarten kids today. The mats are super low-prep, so you can have them ready for the kids by first thing tomorrow.
The play dough mats let the kids work their fine motor muscles and strengthen their hands. All while creating Thanksgiving dinner out of playdough! A fun pre-writing sensory experience that weaves in even more early learning skills as well.
And you don’t have to use the Thanksgiving play dough mats just one way either. You and your students can come up with other ideas along the way.
Related: Free Preschool Printables
Be sure to get your own copy of the printable at the bottom of this post. It comes with a page for a variety of Thanksgiving foods – green beans, cranberry sauce, turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie.
Thanksgiving Playdough Mats
Is play dough a big hit in your classroom? I know some teachers and parents aren’t super fond of it, but I love play dough! It’s such a great sensory experience for kids, and it inspires creativity while strengthening those little hands. Plus, you can do so much with it.
Related: Farm Animal Playdough Mats
Yes, it can be messy. But, really, anything with young children can be messy! I highly recommend teaching your students how to use play dough in appropriate ways. You can model and explain along the way, and of course set some basic rules around the use of play dough.
If you’re looking to incorporate more play dough ideas into your classroom, these simple Thanksgiving playdough mats are an easy way to do so. Read below for tips and ideas!
How to Prep the Thanksgiving Feast Play Dough Mats
First, get your hands on the materials you need. Here’s what we used to prep the mats (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
Yes, that’s it! Of course, you’ll want to grab a few other items, too. Here are some suggestions:
- Play dough (homemade or store-bought, in a variety of colors)
- Play dough tools
- Dry erase markers
- Laminator (optional)
Once you have your supplies, it’s time to prep the Thanksgiving playdough mats. First, get the free printable at the bottom of this post. Then download it to your computer. Open it in the most up-to-date version of Adobe Reader. Print the mats you’d like to use, making multiple copies as desired. Then pop those puppies into some dry erase pockets. Or you can laminate the pages. Whatever works best for you!
I did mention that the playdough mats are very low-prep, right? That’s really all there is to it!
Using the Thanksgiving Playdough Mats with Kids
The main way to use these mats is in the name . . . with play dough! Of course, the kids can use the play dough in a variety of ways with the pages.
Some kids will roll the dough into long snakes before looping them over the pictures. Other children will squish the playdough into place over the images on the mats. A few might focus on the different shapes needed to make each image. Still others will just do their own thing, making different creations on top of the sheets. All of those ways are just fine in my opinion!
If you want, you can add some loose parts and craft materials to the Thanksgiving playdough mats invitation. Pompoms, pipe cleaner pieces, buttons, and glass gems are a good place to start. If you have some food or Thanksgiving-themed small toys, you can add those as well.
While your students are creating their play dough Thanksgiving feasts, have a chat about what foods they enjoy around the holidays. It is always so interesting to hear what the children have to say. I bet you’ll get some very fun answers along the way!
You can even lead the kids in chatting about their dream Thanksgiving dinners. I know I’ve received some really creative Thanksgiving menu plans when talking with preschool and kindergarten children.
Additional Ways to Use the Play Dough Mats
As promised, you can use the Thanksgiving playdough mats in more ways than one! Here are a few more ideas to get you started:
- Challenge the children to use the play dough to make three-dimensional versions of the pictures. You can even use Model Magic or air dry clay for this.
- Let the kids use math manipulatives, like Unifix Cubes or counting bears, to trace over each of the images. Take it a step further by asking the kids to count all of the manipulatives they used.
- Use the play dough mats as visual cues for writing Thanksgiving stories. Have the kids draw their favorite foods and write the words (checking the mats as needed).
- Ask the children if they’d rather trace over the shapes with dry erase markers. Some will be keen to do so, while others will want to stick with using play dough.
Don’t forget to get your copy at the bottom of this post!
More Thanksgiving Printables
If your students enjoy the Thanksgiving playdough mats, they might enjoy these free printables as well:
- Thanksgiving Emergent Reader
- Thankful Turkey Hats
- Pumpkin Pie Beginning Sounds
- Thanksgiving ABC Pie Activity
- Turkey Shape Mats
- Editable Turkey Board Game
- Dancing Popcorn (comes with a printable recording sheet)
Play Dough Mats Bundle
Let Preschool Teacher 101 save you a ton of time with hundreds of done-for-you preschool resources (from lesson plans to dramatic play packs to STEM challenges and so much more). Members of The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101, our membership site, gain access to our materials for an even steeper discount.
If your students love fine motor resources like the free Thanksgiving playdough mats, they’ll love the more in-depth play dough mat bundle. It has over 140 play dough mats you can use at any point of the year. Click on the image below to get your own:
You can also find us on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Get the Free Printable Thanksgiving Playdough Mats
The play dough mats are available to members of Fun-A-Day’s free email community. If that applies to you, enter your email in the form below to have the download link sent to your email. If you’re not a member yet, you can join us by adding your information to the same form. Then you’ll receive the Thanksgiving playdough mats as a welcome gift.
Open the form in a new tab if you don’t see it above. And please read my printing FAQ if you run into any issues.