Home Announcements/Important Dates 11 Thanksgiving Activities for Joy and Learning

11 Thanksgiving Activities for Joy and Learning

by Peggy Reimers
11 Thanksgiving Activities, Games, Puzzles, and More!

Halloween, hands down, is my favorite holiday to celebrate. But come to find out, my forte is creating activities for Turkey Day and the fall season. Below, I’ve compiled all the Thanksgiving and autumn-themed activities I’ve created! I hope this list will be beneficial to you and your students in the classroom. There is a little something for every classroom. Here’s the list of what you’ll find:

  • Thanksgiving Trivia
  • Would You Rather (Thanksgiving Style)
  • What Does Not Belong
  • Vanishing Vowels
  • Gobble Gobble Digital Breakout
  • The Giving Thanks Word Wall
  • Syllacrostic Puzzle
  • Story Starter Spinner
  • Thanksgiving Madness Bracket
  • Wheel of Thanksgiving
  • Dress a Turkey
4 examples of Thanksgiving Trivia slides including, Which sport is traditionally played on Thanksgiving? A. basketball, B. football, C.soccer, and D. Badminton
Screenshot by author

This Canva presentation is the newest addition to my Thanksgiving activities lineup. Fifteen trivia questions with bright, fall-colored graphics are featured. And after each question, the answer follows. You are welcome to edit the presentation template to customize it for your particular audience.

2. Would You Rather Thanksgiving Style

4 Examples of Would You Rather for Thanksgiving activity. Example is eat dinner at a relatives or eat dinner at a restaurant.
Screenshot by author

This presentation has 17 thought-provoking choices for Thanksgiving. The activity has fun graphics and gifs to go along with the “would you rather” questions. You are also welcome to edit the template and add, remove, edit, or change up the options however you’d like. Like all the other Would You Rather games, it can be played in several ways. As the teacher, you can decide, and there are no wrong answers! 

3. What Does Not Belong? Thanksgiving and Fall Edition

4 examples of Which One Doesn't Belong including sweaters, beverages, pies, and vegetables.

This is another ready-to-go activity for your use, and you can modify the template to suit your needs. Each of the 13 slides has four options, and the participant decides which option doesn’t belong. There isn’t just one correct answer for most! It’s interesting to hear what object students pick and why. Have your students give their reason, and cheers to lively discussions!

4. Vanishing Vowels – Fall Edition

4 examples: acorn, corn maze, hay bales, and leaves.
Screenshot by author

Vanishing Vowels is a fall-themed activity that focuses on words related to the season. In this activity, 30 words are presented without any vowels. Students need to figure out what the word is! Each slide with missing vowels is immediately followed by the complete word and an image representation of the word.

Two ways to use this fall-themed activity:

  • Use it as an individual or group exercise where students work together to decipher the words based on their consonants. This encourages teamwork, builds class community, and also incorporates word recognition into the mix.
  • Use it as a creative spelling activity where students add the appropriate vowels back in to spell the fall words. This activity not only enhances students’ word recognition skills but also offers an opportunity to reinforce spelling proficiency in a fun and interactive manner. 

5. Gobble Gobble Digital Breakout

The Gobble Gobble Digital breakout header featuring a turkey and fruit.
Screenshot by author

Any holiday resource collection of mine will definitely include a digital breakout. This one’s not only a fun challenge, but it’s filled with interesting facts about the holiday. Did you know Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey, which he called “a respectable bird,” to be our national animal instead of the bald eagle? Or that Thanksgiving became a national holiday due, in large part, to one pioneering woman? Jump in, learn even more, and see if you can break out! 

One interesting fact, this breakout was released on November 13, 2017. After six years, at the start of this month, 14,407 participants have successfully solved and broken out of this Thanksgiving digital breakout. WOW! And don’t forget teachers, send a request to preimers@tcea.org for the lock answers.

6. The Giving Thanks Word Wall

3 Slides of the deck showing the title slide, directions, and the thanks slide.
Screenshot by author

Make a copy of my Google Slides Giving Thanks slide deck and use this activity as a simple way to express thankfulness during the Thanksgiving season. Assign each student a slide, and they can add their words of gratitude with text boxes. I would save changing the font until their list of words is complete (because you and I know how choosing fonts is so much FUN!).

7. Thanksgiving Syllacrostic Puzzle

Thanksgiving activity page showcasing the syllable box and the first few puzzles.
Screenshot by author

Are you looking for a fun word game to play this Thanksgiving? Give this 18-word syllacrostic puzzle a try!  In case you aren’t familiar with syllacrostic puzzles, here’s a quick overview. You’ll be given a box filled with various syllables. Then you need to use those syllables to solve a list of Thanksgiving-related words. For each word, you’ll get three hints:

  1. An associated phrase or word related to the solution
  2. The number of syllables in the solution
  3. The number of letters in the solution

Your task is to combine the given syllables into words that fit the length and syllable criteria.

8. Thanksgiving Story Starter Wheel Spinner

The spinner has landed on The turkey, the big Thanksgiving dinner, two years from now, and in the kitchen.
Screenshot by author

If you’re looking for a story starter or a creative writing prompt for students themed around school and Thanksgiving, then this “who, what, when, and where” randomizer can get the creative juices flowing. Check out the randomizer (above) I created for this Thanksgiving season.

9. Thanksgiving Madness Bracket

An example of the Thanksgiving bracket with pumpkin pie vs. cornbread, brussel sprouts vs. cranberry sauce, etc.
Screenshot by author

I’m sure you have heard of the NCAA brackets for March Madness. Now, with Flippity, you can design a bracket challenge for Thanksgiving. Check out the pre-made bracket I designed for the holiday and play with your family or students! The bracket will determine the winner of “What food could I do without on my Thanksgiving plate?” Or, you could flip this around and say, “What food could I not live without on my Thanksgiving plate?” 

10. The Wheel of Fortune Thanksgiving

An example of the wheel of names spinner with jumbled up thanksgiving words, such as eat, turkey, corn, etc.
Screenshot by author

Try out an online wheel spinner and unscramble some scrambled-up spelling or vocabulary words! Try spinning the wheel and see which student, family member, or school faculty member can unscramble the word first or type the word correctly in the chat. I used the free Wheel of Names website for this ready-to-use Thanksgiving activity, complete with autumn hues. 

11. No Naked Turkeys

If you have built an online Jack-O-Lantern with Eric Curts from Control Alt Achieve, check out my Dress Up a Turkey activity. It’s a fun way to be creative and learn how to use the arrange and rotate tool in Google Slides. You are welcome to make a copy of this slide deck, complete with all kinds of feathers, eyeballs, hats, and shoes to clothe your turkey. 

From trivia to digital breakouts, this roundup offers teachers a diverse mix of engaging Thanksgiving activities and games suitable for all grade levels. Whether you’re looking for a silly “dress up the turkey” lesson in Google Slides or a thinking exercise like the syllacrostic puzzle, this roundup has something for every student. I hope these classroom ideas help make your Thanksgiving lessons festive and memorable! Now go and gobble up some learning!

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