Happy holidays: 3 Thanksgiving lesson plan ideas

Are your students keen to find out more about the Thanksgiving holiday? Get some great ideas for Thanksgiving lesson plans in our latest blog!

Published: November 14, 2019

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every November in the United States.

The tradition of Thanksgiving began in Massachusetts, where pilgrims held their first celebration of their harvest in 1621. It became a national holiday in the US in 1863 and is now widely celebrated as a special day to get together with friends and family, have a large meal and give thanks for the good things in life!

Many cities put on parades to mark the day and another popular Thanksgiving activity is watching NFL football.

This blog introduces you to some fun Thanksgiving lesson plan ideas to help students learn more about this exciting cultural celebration.

Our top three Thanksgiving lesson plans:

1) Thanksgiving wreath

Making a wreath is a great way to get creative with your students, it also makes a pretty decoration to hang in the classroom or at home.

  • Materials: Plain white paper plates (one per wreath); coloured card in appropriate tones (orange, red, yellow, brown, green); crayons or markers; scissors; glue/glue stick


  • Cut a semi-circle in the middle of the plate.
  • Cut out leaves from the coloured card and draw on veins using the crayons or markers.
  • Glue the leaves right around the edge of the plate.
  • Write what you’re thankful for in the space below the semi-circle.

2) Thanksgiving language lesson

This is a great opportunity to get students to work creatively in small groups, using their language, artistic and presentation skills!

  • Materials: Selection of sheets of paper or card; markers; magazines; scissors; glue/glue stick

NB: If you choose to create the menus and adverts in this activity digitally, e.g. using iPads, you won’t need these materials.


Ask students to pretend they’re in charge of a restaurant that will be serving up a special Thanksgiving menu to its customers.

Get them to work in groups to create a name and logo for their restaurant and design appropriate menus and adverts to attract Thanksgiving Day customers.

Ask them to give a short presentation on why their restaurant is the best place to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.

Emphasise that they should think about persuasive writing and using appropriate adjectives.

3) Shopping for Thanksgiving dinner

This is a fun activity to test your students’ maths skills and introduce them to some favourite Thanksgiving foods.

  • Materials: List of 16 Thanksgiving foodstuffs for each student (including items such as turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, yams, corn, stuffing, gravy, apple pie and cranberry sauce).

This list can be hand-drawn or created using a computer and should have a price in US dollars under each item.

  • Page showing a blank shopping bag or basket – for students to glue each of their chosen items onto.


Tell students they’re in charge of shopping for Thanksgiving dinner. Tell them they only have $25 to spend and they need to buy a minimum of six items.

When they’re finished, compose a short quiz asking:

  • How many items did you buy?
  • How much did you spend?
  • Did you have any change left over (if yes, how much)?
  • Why did you choose these items?


These lesson plan ideas are a great way to introduce kids to Thanksgiving traditions and boost key skills such as creativity and collaboration.


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