A fun and educational way to teach primary students about Thanksgiving is to host a classroom feast. The feast can be the culminating activity for a unit on the history of the first Thanksgiving or lessons and activities about being thankful.
Preparing for the Thanksgiving feast can be a unit with lessons and activities taking place over the course of days or weeks or as a single school day celebration devoted to Thanksgiving. Teachers can utilize the help of parent volunteers to assist in the celebration.
How to Teach Primary Students about Thanksgiving Food
Teachers can use the many catalogues and food based magazines that arrive in the mail this time of year to teach students about the foods that are part of Thanksgiving. Students can share the foods that they eat with their families and then cut the foods out of the catalogues and glue them to construction paper.
The Thanksgiving food collages can represent foods that they like, usually eat, or want to try this Thanksgiving. The food can be labeled and displayed in the classroom to aid in student reading and writing.
How to Teach Young Kids to Set the Thanksgiving Table
Teachers can demonstrate how to set the table with a placemat, plate, napkin, silverware, and glass. Students can draw or cut out pictures of the steps of setting the table on a piece of construction paper. The supplies can be placed in a box and made into a practice setting the table learning center in the classroom.
How to Make Thanksgiving Placemats with Elementary Kids
Primary students can display artwork, leaf collages, or photos on a homemade Thanksgiving placemat. Each student glues Thanksgiving themed items onto a piece of oak tag or foam to create a personal placemat. The teacher then uses contact paper to laminate the placemats.
How to Make Pinecone or Acorn Thanksgiving Napkin Rings
Leftover toilet paper or paper towel tubes can be used to make Thanksgiving napkin rings. The elementary teacher or parent volunteer cuts the tubes into rings and passes them out to the class. The students paint the ring and then glue acorns, cranberries, or small pinecones onto the ring for decoration.
How to Make Pilgrim and Wampanoag Hats
After reading Thanksgiving themed children’s books students can design their own Pilgrim or Wampanoag hats. The teacher can cut and staple strips of oak tag the size of each student’s head. The students can then use construction paper to create a Pilgrim or Wampanoag hat that is glued onto the front of the oak tag band.
How to Make Homemade Butter with Elementary Kids
Teachers can talk about how people used to make their own butter with a churn instead of buying it at the store. The class can then take turns “churning” butter in a large glass jar filled with heavy cream and salt. Each member of the class gets to shake it to make turn the cream into butter. The butter can then be tasted during the feast.
Students use and wear their Thanksgiving crafts and projects at the Thanksgiving feast celebration. Holding a classroom Thanksgiving feast teaches students about preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday and allows them to demonstrate their new knowledge while having fun.