Thanksgiving Language Arts Activities

Boy dressed as a pilgrim

Using Thanksgiving language arts activities to augment whatever you're doing around the holidays, can help add pizazz to your lesson plans. Doing seasonal or topical language arts activities with kids is a great way to inject a little variety into daily studies, and there are plenty Thanksgiving-themed activities to help kids hone their language arts skills. With a little creativity, you can have a full Thanksgiving language arts curriculum in the days leading up to the holiday.

Fun Thanksgiving Language Arts Activities

Try the following Thanksgiving language arts activities with preschool and elementary-aged students. Activities can be adapted in age-appropriate ways to support your current language arts curriculum.

Thanksgiving Dinner

This activity builds memory skills, vocabulary skills and reinforces alphabetizing concepts. The game is a variation on other memory games, but with a Thanksgiving theme. To play, have students sit in a circle. The first student starts out saying, "I'm making Thanksgiving dinner, and I'm going to make..." The student then lists a food that starts with the letter "A." The next student says the same thing, and then repeats what the first student said and then adds her own item that starts with the letter "B." Each student adds on the next item in alphabetical order, repeating what the students before her said before saying the food that starts with her letter.

Word Jumble

Word jumble activities help build spelling skills. Give each student a piece of paper with "Happy Thanksgiving" written across the top and have the students make as many words from the letters of "Happy Thanksgiving" as they can in an alloted time period.


Hone writing and penmanship skills by having students create invitations from the pilgrims to the Native Americans inviting them to the first Thanksgiving.


Once the students have created their invitations, have each make a formal menu for the first Thanksgiving feast. Have them describe each menu item briefly.

Selling America

This is an activity that works best with slightly older students (grades three and up). It helps to develop persuasive writing skills.

Have the students design sales materials such as a brochure or sales poster convincing people in England to come to the New World. Let students do a bit of research beforehand so that the brochures or posters they create are appropriate for the time period. This is a great way to incorporate technology into the curriculum if students have access to computers.

Family Tradition Interview

Older students can develop interviewing and writing skills with this activity. Send each student home with an assignment to interview a member of his family about a Thanksgiving tradition. Students can then write the interviews as a newspaper article. When all of the interviews have been turned in, the class can compile the articles into a book on Thanksgiving traditions.

Thankful for "Man on the Street" Interviews

Work together on a classroom video project. Have the students design a newscast where they do "man on the street" interviews with students in the classroom discussing what they are thankful for.

Thankful Poetry

Have students start by free-associating a list of things that they are thankful for. Once students have their list, ask them to write a poem using some of the items on their list.

New World Debate

Students can sharpen their debating skills with this activity. Pair students together and assign one student to take the "pro" position and the other to take the "con" position. Now have students debate the pros and cons of coming to the New World on the Mayflower.

Pilgrim Dialogue

This activity stresses properly using quotation marks and punctuation while helping students hone their dialogue writing skills. Have students write an imaginary dialogue between two pilgrims who are landing at Plymouth Rock using the appropriate punctuation and dialogue format.

Thanksgiving Jokes

Hone the writing skills of budding comedians with this humorous Thanksgiving activity. Start by telling students a few Thanksgiving jokes such as:

Q: If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?

A: Pilgrims

Now have students make up their own Thanksgiving jokes and write them down to share with the class.

These are just a few of the many Thanksgiving activities for kids that you can do. By incorporating Thanksgiving language arts activities into your curriculum, you can keep kids engaged and entertained as they learn.

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Thanksgiving Language Arts Activities