I love this national holiday for several reasons. First, it’s not too commercialized! It’s a bit hard to sell thankfulness, don’t you think? If so, I would order a case or two of it.
Another reason I like Thanksgiving is the history regarding why the Pilgrims came to America; plus I love to read about the life of Squanto. He chose to help the race of people who had enslaved him and were responsible (directly or indirectly) for his tribe’s demise. Squanto is one of my heroes! I have included a list of books that I have enjoyed reading to my sons about Squanto and the Pilgrims that I think you will too.
One more reason I like Thanksgiving is because this day focuses on God and the blessings He has given to us. I have included some copywork/dictation pieces for your students to practice their handwriting. Make an extra set and send them to the grandparents as I am sure they would enjoy receiving them.
Would you like to focus on Thanksgiving and do unit study? I have some lapbooks that you can download. I have included two to get you started. Just look over the activities and see which ones you would like to do with your family. I have activities for students all the way from preschool through high school.
Crafts and Art Activities: There are so many ideas that it can be overwhelming. I have only provided you with some we have done as well as a few websites.
Placemats– Make a placemat for each guest that will be attending dinner. Laminate them with contact paper so that the artwork is not destroyed with gravy. Start early on this if you have a large gathering so as not to overwhelm your artists. You can personalize the placemats or make general themes.
Thankful Wreath– Using fall colors, trace your children’s hands onto the paper and cut them out. Have each person tell you (if they are little) or write one thing they are thankful on each of the hands. Glue the fingers of one hand on to the palm of another hand. You will need to have several sets as you will want to form a wreath shape from the hands. If you have a larger number of children than you can accommodate for creating a wreath then you can make more or… you can make a wreath with construction paper leaves instead.
Thanksgiving coloring pages. Print off a few to take with you on the long car ride to Grandma if you are traveling.
How about a word find or crossword puzzle? There are several levels of difficulty that are given on this website.
Have you ever seen about.com? I have found them to be an excellent resource for topics we are studying. You are sure to find something on these two pages that you and your children will enjoy pertaining to puzzles and word finds.
Enchanted Learning has a variety of crafts, worksheets, and mini books to create for elementary students.
Here is a crossword puzzle for Bible: Psalms of Thanksgiving . You can use these verses for copywork as well.
Research the first Thanksgiving. Ideas about how to use this for school: Have student(s) narrate what they have read; ask comprehension questions about the passage; calculate how many years it was from the time of the first Thanksgiving until George Washington declared a day of thanks.
Here is another site from Scholastic under the heading of Research Starters that has the history and additional websites to investigate. click here This website can be used for middle- senior high students.
Watch a video from the History Channel about Thanksgiving. (for older students) Accompanying the video are questions to answer.
There is quite a bit of information on this website about the Mayflower. You can read the original compact and also read it in Governor Bradford’s own handwriting by going here: Mayflower Compact. Middle school students can narrate what they have read and answer questions such as: What was the purpose of the signing of the compact ? Why did all men sign and not women? Junior/senior high students can create their own compact. Consider why it would be important to include when beginning a new colony. Have them create a model of their colony.
Plimouth Plantation (website with many things to do and see) I would recommend you to go to Just for Kids, but don’t stop there because there is quite a bit to look at on this website. Older students can use this website to research topics.
Scholastic. com has some fabulous resources that contain videos of the Pilgrim’s and Native American’s villages. There are also activities to accompany your unit. Click on the right hand side for activities, lessons, and worksheets.
Research how and when Thanksgiving became a national holiday.
Books to Read:
Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims by Robert Clyde Bulla Discuss how Squanto helped the Pilgrims. Squanto reminds me of another man who was ill-treated but turned it around for the good of a nation. His name was Joseph and you can read his story in the bible: Genesis chapters 37-50. Older students can compare and contrast him to Squanto.
The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh This is a nice read aloud for younger students.
Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret Pumphrey This a great book for all ages as a read aloud for younger students and an assigned reader for older students. Older students can pick a few stories to highlight and tell to the family if everyone is not going to be reading it.
The If You series are books that my children and I found to provide details and factual information in an interesting format. Here are two that pertain to Thanksgiving:
If You Were at the First Thanksgiving by Anne Kamma
If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann DeVito
How about including a book report to accompany the reading? Here is a book report form from ABC Teach thanksgiving book reports
Students can copy these scripture passages on to a piece of notebook paper. Glue a piece of construction paper to the back to provide a frame. Hang up the masterpieces and memorize this month.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
1 Chronicles 16:34
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Older students: Use any of the documents listed above as a resource for copying such as the Mayflower Compact or the declaration of a day of thanks from George Washington.
Here’s a Thankfulness Character Study for your family. Click Here
Here is a lapbook for younger students to complete using the book Give Thanks to the Lord: Celebrating Psalm 92 by Karma Wilson. If you can’t find the book you can still use the psalm from your favorite translation.