Thanksgiving For Kids: Crafts, Recipes and Learning Tools

November 08, 2010
by Sarah Amandolare
They can’t wait to dig into the turkey and pies, but many kids could use a refresher course in the origins of Thanksgiving. Luckily for parents and teachers, there are excellent Thanksgiving crafts, simple recipes and games for kids to learn about this distinctly American holiday.

Thanksgiving Crafts, Activities and Games for Kids

The National Education Association (NEA) has a selection of interdisciplinary lesson plans, activity ideas (including crafts and games) and various curriculum resources on Thanksgiving for kids, some of which were submitted to the NEA by teachers. Other items are from educational sites, such as

Of particular note in the NEA selection is Kaboose’s page of free Thanksgiving coloring pages for kids.

The Cupcakes and Crinoline blog posted a few “Thanksgiving Crafts and Kids Tables,” with photographs and links to instructions on other sites such as Martha Stewart, Country Living and Better Homes and Gardens. Among the crafts for kids are Turkey Place Cards and fringed, paper tablecloths.

Tasty Thanksgiving Recipes for Kids

PBS Kids Zoom explains how to make butter, that essential Thanksgiving ingredient, with only heavy cream and a jar with a lid. Just shake it up, the site says, and watch as the fat and protein in the cream meld into butter. The leftover liquid is buttermilk. has an assortment of Thanksgiving recipes to make with kids, such as a Popcorn Ball Turkey, snacks resembling pilgrim hats, and various cupcakes and cookies.

If you’re concerned about your kids’ sugar or fat intake, visit the American Dietetic Association Web site. You’ll find simple tips and learn of substitute ingredients that ensure great tasting, healthier desserts

Learning More About Thanksgiving

Education World provides many free Thanksgiving lesson plans. Important topics, such as the pilgrims’ experience, are covered in lessons for younger students, as well as fun tasks like creating Thanksgiving restaurant menus. Also look for more serious assignments, like creating timelines, maps and graphs about Thanksgiving.

The Web site of the National Museum of the American Indian has a colorful Thanksgiving poster available for free. On the back of the poster are Thanksgiving lesson plans for grades 4-8. There’s also a downloadable booklet offering “American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving.”

The Mailbox Blog, which caters to preschool through sixth-grade students and their teachers, presents a list of Thanksgiving books. The varied selections include Eve Bunting’s “How Many Days to America? A Thanksgiving Story” about a Caribbean family that arrives in the U.S. on Thanksgiving. Also included is “On the Mayflower” by Kate Waters, with photographs and historical facts about what life was like on the ship.

FindingDulcinea’s Thanksgiving Web Guide has a section on the history and traditions of the holiday, including museum Web sites, educational tutorials and explanations of Thanksgiving symbols applicable to students and teachers.

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