Thanksgiving Theme Learning Ideas and Resources
Elementary School Thanksgiving Resources
History of Pudding
Food historians generally agree the first puddings made by ancient cooks produced foods similar to sausages. Medieval puddings were still mostly meat-based. The earliest Pudding recipe in the British Museum dates back to around 1420.
It is very likely the Indians introduced the Pilgrims to pudding and that it was served during their Thanksgiving feast. To be sure it was nothing like the puddings we eat today. Learn more about Indian Pudding. Then learn everything you ever wanted to know about Hasty Pudding and the Pudding Stick.
Did you know that pudding didn't always come in a box? Homemade Vanilla Pudding is fun and easy to make. This recipe can even be adapted to create a wonderful Vanilla Sauce to top Bread Pudding, Apple Dumplings and other tempting treats. To make a creamy vanilla sauce, simply thin with milk during the cooking process, and pour over your favorite dessert. Try this recipe:
Make Vanilla Pudding from a box mix.
Compare and discuss the results.
- Which takes longer to make, Box mix or Homemade? Why?
- Which looks better? How do they differ in the way they look? Why do you think they look different?
- What about the taste? Is there a taste difference? Which do you prefer? Why?
- Calculate the cost of buying a mix, then attempt to figure out the cost of making vanilla pudding from scratch. Which costs less to prepare?
Star in Your Own Thanksgiving Story
While you are waiting for your pudding to cool, you can create your very own Thanksgiving Story, with you as the star.
Star in Your Own Thanksgiving Story, simply follow the link, then fill in the blanks to create your story. Be sure to print out a copy and share it with family and friends.
Thanksgiving Plays, Skits, and Puppet Plays
Help the kids put on a skit or a play in front of family and friends. Here are several selections they may enjoy, or have them try writing their own for a lot of fun.
- The Ugly Turkey - A short Thanksgiving Play
- Glad I'm Not A Turkey - Thanksgiving Puppet Skit
- Thanksgiving Song - Thanksgiving Puppet Skit
- Squanto's Thanksgiving - A One Act Children's Play
- Thanksgiving Play - Parts include: A narrator, four Pilgrims, and three Native Americans.
Costumes: Putting together an authentic wardrobe
Be sure to dress the part! Make your own costumes for an authentic play. Your outfit can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish to make it. Here are some websites for mom or dad to help you in creating your own indian wardrobe. Don't be afraid to use your imagination and create your own unique designs. After all, the indians made use of the materials they had available to them...
- Native American Headdresses: Facts for Kids
- Indian Chief Headdress War Bonnet
- Make a Pilgrim Costume
- Where to Buy Historical Clothing and Costume Patterns
- How to Make Native American Costumes for Kids
- Side Fold and Winter Moccasins
- Billy Bow-Leg Moccasins
Or you can select pre-made costumes like these:
- Native American Big Chief Indian Feather Headdress Hat
- Indian Headdress Super Deluxe Adult
- California Costume Running Bull Costume
- Deluxe Indian Girl Costume
- Pilgrim Boy Costume
- Kids Colonial Boy or Benjamin Franklin
- Child Running Brook Indian Girl Costume
- Native American Indian Princess Child Costume
- Wagon Trail Colonial Prairie Bonnet
- Little Colonial Miss Child Costume
- Patriot Boy Child Costume
Online Books, Study Guides and Articles
You will find lots of things to see and do online. Visit the following links to find online books, articles, study guides and more...
- The First Thanksgiving - Learn how the Pilgrims reached America and lived to celebrate the first Thanksgiving
- Silly Turkey - A fun easy read online book for grades K-2
- Over the River and Through the Wood - Sing-along with music
- The First Thanksgiving by Nora Smith - Legends and Short Stories to Share for Thanksgiving
- Turkey & Turkey by David Lumerman - Lil Fingers Storybook
- The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving - Lesson Plan (Stories, Poems and Craft ideas)
- Colonial Kids - A Celebration of Life in the 1700's in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Math, Crafts and Project Ideas
- My Thanksgiving Day Poem - Print and color page then write a Thanksgiving Day Poem for someone special.
- Squanto Lapbook - Learn about Squanto with this free lapbook.
- Thanksgiving Crafts - Pilgrim crafts and Native American projects
- Great Colonial America Projects You Can Build Yourself! - by Kris Bordessa
- Thanksgiving Printable Activities - Games, coloring pages, certificates and much more...
- Thanksgiving and Fall Crafts for Kids - Crafts and Learning activities for fall and thanksgiving.
- History Pockets: Life in Plymouth Colony - by Jill S. Norris (Grades 1 - 3)
- History Pockets: Colonial America - by Marc Tyler Nobleman (Grades 4 - 6)
- Pinecone Turkey - Create a beautiful Thanksgiving Centerpiece
- 175 Easy-To-Do Thanksgiving Crafts - by Sharon Dunn Umnik
- Thanksgiving Day Crafts - Fun holiday crafts kids can do by Herb and Arlene Erlbach
- Easy-To-Do Holiday Crafts From Everyday Household Items! - by Sharon Dunn Umnik
- Turkey Math - Turkey Math is a fun seasonal way for students to practice addition facts.
Songs and Poems
Books to Read
- Squanto, Friend Of The Pilgrims - by Clyde Robert Bulla
- ...If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 - by Ann Mcgovern
- Colonial America (Easy Make & Learn Projects) - by Donald M. Silver
- Colonial Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in the New World by Peter F. Copeland
- Dora's Thanksgiving - by Sarah Willson
- Early American Trades Coloring Book by Peter F. Copeland
- Northeast Indians: Reproducible Models That Help Students Build Content Area Knowledge and Vocabulary and Learn About the Traditional Life of Native American Peoples - by Donald M. Silver
- Easy Make & Learn Projects: Colonial America: 18 Fun-to-Create Reproducible Models that Bring the Colonial Period to Life - by Donald M. Silver
- Everyday Dress of the American Colonial Period Coloring Book by Peter F. Copeland
- The First Thanksgiving - by Linda Hayward
- Life in Colonial America by Peter F. Copeland
- Over the River: A Turkey's Tale - Illustrated by Derek Anderson
- Pilgrim's First Thanksgiving - by Ann Mcgovern
- A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840 - by Barbara Greenwood
- Squanto's Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving - by Joseph Bruchac
- Thanksgiving on Thursday - by Mary Pope Osborne
- Three Young Pilgrims - by Cheryl Harness
DVD's to Watch
- The Mayflower Pilgrims
- The Story of the Pilgrims
- John Bunyan: Journey of a Pilgrim
- A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
- Peanuts Holiday Collection (includes A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving)