Get ready for tons of ideas and activities for a Thanksgiving preschool theme, including book ideas, art and sensory play, plus math and science fun. You’ll find the free Thanksgiving preschool lesson plans at the end of this post!
Free Thanksgiving Activities for Preschoolers Including Free Preschool Lesson Plans
Teaching about Thanksgiving in preschool is all about being thankful and showing gratitude! Plus some fall-themed ideas including turkeys, pumpkins, and of course, pumpkin pie! We have collected some great Thanksgiving preschool activities to use with your preschoolers that use simple materials, minimal prep, and hands-on learning.
Plus, it’s a free download! Great for use in homeschool preschool or use in the classroom. Head to the bottom of the post to snag the download.
FAQ About Teaching a Thanksgiving Theme
Discuss the importance of the meaning of Thanksgiving. Help young children learn that this holiday is all about gratitude and celebration of the family and friends who care and help us each and every day. Encourage children to share what they feel thankful for and find ways to share those feelings with the important people in their own lives. Invite children to share special traditions or games that are special in their families.
Celebrate Thanksgiving the preschool way by including fun games and activities. Include crafts or activities that promote appreciation, gratitude, and teamwork like the first thanksgiving snack. Try a gratitude activity with your preschoolers and help guide them into learning to be thankful.
There are lots of hands-on activities to use during the Thanksgiving season. Try a colorful turkey process art activity or play a silly game of Catch the Turkey! Use beads and work on hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills with a beaded feathers Thanksgiving hat.
Hands-on Preschool Activities for a Thanksgiving Theme
Learn about being thankful and celebrating one another not just at Thanksgiving, but any time of year! These are the perfect activities to keep with your Thanksgiving lesson plans.
Literacy Activities for a Thanksgiving Preschool Theme
Alphabet Turkey Feathers – Get artsy with this craft and learning activity. Cut out 26 feathers from construction paper and write a letter on each feather. Invite your preschooler to color a paper plate brown. Glue feathers to the back in alphabetical order to create a turkey. Decorate the turkey face any way you like. Sing the ABC song with your new turkey friend!
Thanksgiving Predictable Chart – This simple poster is great for encouraging your preschooler to use sentence patterns to feel empowered to read. Using a piece of large construction paper, write: (your preschooler’s name) is thankful for ______. Draw a quick picture of what your preschooler listed. Move onto other family/friend’s names and continue with the same sentence pattern, ending with a picture. Invite your preschooler to poll everyone and report back to you as the writer. Encourage your preschooler to read the sentences along with you!
Don’t Forget Picture Books!
One of the best ways to teach preschoolers about any theme is by hand-selecting the highest quality picture books! This is a book list for our best-loved books for showing love and appreciation during this thankful season.
Math and Science Activities for a Thanksgiving Preschool Theme
Catch the Turkey Number Game – Print and mix up the playing cards. If the player draws a number card, the player reads the number and then places it in the discard pile. If the player draws a turkey card, he must say, “Gobble, gobble, gobble” in his best turkey gobbling voice. He then gets to keep the turkey card until the end of the game. The goal is to collect the most turkey cards. This game builds number recognition and cooperative skills and is perfect for circle time!
Beaded Feather Turkeys – This fun math activity uses beads and pipe cleaners to make simple patterns. Stringing and counting beads is a fine motor activity, plus it’s a class favorite!
Thanksgiving Nutrition– Look through holiday food ads and help your preschooler cut out food items. Then sort by “healthy” foods or “sometimes” foods. Discuss what the difference is between “healthy” foods and “sometimes” foods and why “sometimes” foods are saved for special treats. What are some foods that we enjoy during our Thanksgiving dinner?
Playful Learning Activities for a Thanksgiving Preschool Theme
Indoor Snowball Toss – Does it snow on Thanksgiving where you live? Prepare for cold weather with an indoor snowball toss. Grab some white paper or tissue paper and crumple it into balls. Grab some buckets and create a point-based toss game. Or have a good old-fashioned snowball fight! Turn it into a fun learning game and write letters and/or numbers on the inside of the paper snowballs. Then crumple them up, enjoy the snowball fight, and unwrap each snowball and identify the letter or number!
Turkey Suncatchers – These turkey suncatchers will brighten up your windows. Follow the instructions to make the turkey template and then add tissue paper to make a beautiful, light-filled mosaic. This makes a gorgeous art display or a token of appreciation to share with a loved one.
Gratitude Lists – Make a list of random, everyday items around the house and challenge your preschooler to think of a reason why they’re thankful for each specific item. Invite them to draw a picture and/or write alongside of you.
Social-Emotional Learning for a Thanksgiving Preschool Theme
Gratitude Jar – Grab an old coffee can or plastic bottle and practice being grateful. Remind your preschooler to think of something they’re grateful for. This could be anything from their favorite food to crayons to family members. Invite them to add a marble or candy to the jar every time they think of something that brings joy to their life. See how full you can get the jar and celebrate the many wonderful things in your life! This simple preschool thankful idea is great for use any time of the year! Incorporate a gratitude journal for you and your preschooler to reflect on together.
Gratitude Leaf Garland – Trace leaves on construction or cardstock paper or grab some fake silk leaves. Invite your preschooler to cut out the leaves and think of things that they’re thankful for. Encourage them to share why they’re thankful for these things. Using a black marker, write the thankful words or notes on each leaf. Then hot glue or clip the leaves to a piece of yarn or string. Knot the end and wear or display proudly! This garland is perfect to use in other themes or even holidays. Sharing your gratitude for others is an important life skill in preschool and beyond. A simple way to teach preschool gratitude!
Just Plain Fun Activities for a Thanksgiving Preschool Theme
The First Thanksgiving Snack – Grab some yummy snack foods and invite your family members or friends to contribute their snacks to a large communal bowl. Mix the snack and discuss sharing and being grateful for one another and the yummy food that you are blessed to have and share.
Sponge Turkey Hats – Using a paper plate, colored construction paper, and some fall-colored paint…get ready to make adorable turkey hats! Grab some sponges and invite your preschooler to dip their sponge into the paint and stamp it onto the paper plate in any pattern or print they like.
Pipe Cleaner Turkey Prints – Shape a turkey foot out of a pipe cleaner and use it to stamp prints with paint. Make a line across the paper or use it as a counting math game. Or make some fun Thanksgiving art with a variety of colored paints!
Get Online Activities for a Thanksgiving Preschool Theme
Online Story – Go to YouTube and listen to the book Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson. After reading this story, invite your preschooler to share what special things they have to share with others. Is it drawing pictures? Or singing songs for all to hear? Or maybe it’s being the best helper in the house. Encourage your preschooler to recognize their own value.
Turkey Freeze Dance – Burn off some of that energy with this fun dance! This choreographed dance helps your preschooler learn the moves and song sequence.
Ten Little Turkeys Song – A classic tune perfect for a Thanksgiving remake!
Make Your Thanksgiving Theme Even Better!
Grab these Thanksgiving themed activity sets and learning resources to make your Thanksgiving theme more engaging! We’ve hand picked a few of our favorite ideas, so check out the links below.
Get your FREE Thanksgiving Preschool Lesson Plans Here
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I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.