Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and, of course, FOOD! But what about the little ones? How can you keep them occupied in the classroom during that long stretch between Halloween and Thanksgiving? How will you entertain them while the turkey is cooking on Thanksgiving Day? Here are loads of Thanksgiving activities for preschoolers that are sure to get them excited for Turkey Day.
Whip up a batch of pumpkin playdough or cranberry slime, make a paper plate turkey, play a game of turkey bowling, or race turkey balloon rockets! Who knows—one of these activities may just become a Thanksgiving tradition.
With 26+ creative ideas to get everyone in the Thanksgiving spirit, you’ll have enough fun-filled activities to get you through the entire month of November.
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November’s not complete without a turkey craft or two. Here are some easy crafts we’ve found for your little turkeys. We have a HUGE list of Fall Craft Activities for Preschoolers that you should check out as well.
If you’re not all about messy crafts, you’re going to love these no-mess foam turkeys. All you need are googly eyes, puffy paint in red and orange, a couple of pipe cleaners, and craft foam in brown, red, orange, and yellow for the tail feathers. You can even omit the paint if you don’t want to bother with it, making the beak and wattle with foam pieces instead. Follow the tutorial from Artsy Momma to make one of your own.
Practice color matching with this cute turkey from Messy Little Monster. Each of the paper plate turkey’s tail feathers are a different color. Your preschooler can then match paper circles to the color on the tail feather, saying each color out loud as they work. It’s a fun way to reinforce color recognition.
These cardboard turkeys from A Dab of Glue Will Do focus on the real meaning of Thanksgiving: thanking God for all the good things He’s given us. Kids will write something they’re thankful for on each of the turkey’s tail feathers. Display it all month long to remind yourselves to practice gratitude.
Turn an ordinary paper bag into a fun turkey puppet to play with this fall. This one is made with real leaves as turkey feathers, but you can sub in faux leaves or construction paper feathers if you’d prefer. It’s a wonderful craft to go along with stories like Turkey Trouble or How to Catch a Turkey. The kids can use their turkey puppets to act out the scenes!
This project combines the fun of a turkey craft with the calming effects of a sensory bottle. The turkey’s body is made up of a bottle filled with confetti, glitter, water, and glycerin. The glycerin slows down the confetti and glitter as it floats through the water. It’s mesmerizing!
Kids of all ages will love these turkey games. Knock down a few turkeys in a bowling match, play “Would you rather? with the whole family, or have your very own turkey rocket races, complete with a trophy for the winner.
How about a round or two of turkey bowling? Kids will have a blast making these turkeys out of plastic cups and then setting them up to knock down with a mini pumpkin or ball. This is a fun and easy game you can play at home or in the classroom with your preschool students.
Memory match is great for teaching preschoolers how to concentrate and use their short term memory. Play this fun Thanksgiving memory match game featuring turkeys, pilgrims, pies, and other trappings of the usual Thanksgiving feast.
Would you rather put gravy on your pie or hot fudge on your mashed potatoes? Would you rather eat leftovers for a year or never have Thanksgiving food again? Those are just a few of the fun questions for this Thanksgiving edition of “Would you rather?”
Instead of pin the tail on the donkey, try pinning the beak on the turkey! Download this easy printable game at Simple Everyday Mom.
Here’s a super cute I-Spy game for beginners, so it’s perfect for preschoolers. They’ll count the number of each color of turkey and circle the number in the key at the bottom. This is a terrific way to reinforce counting skills and number identification.
Roll the dice to determine which of the turkey’s tail feathers you’ll color. Not only is this great for counting, but kids will learn to identify numbers in dot format rather than as digits.
Stay at Home Educator has a wonderful turkey and pumpkin-themed game with varying levels of difficulty. For preschoolers, focus on numbers 1-10. Kids can practice one to one correspondence by counting the pumpkins on the card. They’ll call out the number and then put it in the discard pile. If they pull a turkey, however, they have to say “gobble, gobble, gobble” in their best turkey impression. This game is a lot of fun for the whole family, really.
Race turkeys this Thanksgiving! Okay, maybe you can’t race actual turkeys against each other, but you can make these fun balloon versions that race along a string when the air is let out. Whose turkey can reach the finish line the fastest?
More Fun Thanksgiving Activities for Preschoolers
Whip up a bunch of pumpkin pie play dough for kids to play “chef” with. They can shape their pretend food into pies or any other dishes they’d like to make. Not only does this play dough smell amazing, but it’s taste-safe, too. However, kids shouldn’t be encouraged to eat any of it. It won’t taste good and has a high salt content. But if your toddler or preschooler sneaks a nibble, you don’t have to panic.
Even if kids don’t like pumpkin pie, they’ll love making this easy peasy pumpkin pie craft using popsicle sticks, cardstock, and cotton balls. You’ll also need paint to paint the craft sticks (or buy pre-painted ones). Want to make it educational? Ask for a specific number of “dollops of whipped cream” so your kiddo can practice counting.
Grab some play dough and craft feathers for this fun Thanksgiving math game! Roll the dice, and whatever number it lands on, add that number of tail feathers to the turkey. This game works on number recognition, counting, one-to-one correspondence, and fine motor skills.
Making sensory soup is a time-honored tradition for kids, though when you were a child it probably wasn’t called that. Did you ever pick flowers, leaves, and grass and mix it all together in water? Well, that’s sensory soup! This version takes on a Thanksgiving feel with cranberries, faux pumpkins, and corn kernels.
Use some of those same materials in the sensory soup above to make a Thanksgiving sensory bin. The base is corn kernels, while pumpkins, gourds, leaves, and berries are also included. You can use real pumpkins and gourds or fake ones, but the real ones add real life experience to playtime.
Pretty, pink, and fluffy is how we’d describe this fluffy cranberry slime. Because it’s made with marshmallows, coconut oil, cranberry sauce, and powdered sugar, it’s totally edible. Add some fresh cranberries to the mix for texture! Give the kids mini pie pans, cookie cutters, bowls, forks, and spoons so they can pretend to make puddings and pies with their fluffy slime. My kids LOVE this Thanksgiving activity for preschoolers!
Thanksgiving Printables for Preschoolers
These do-a-dot printables are too adorable! Use dot markers to complete pilgrims and Native Americans, work on letter recognition, practice graphing, and learn shapes. Purchase the entire packet or get the freebie, which is the boy pilgrim in a full-color version and black and white version as well as a letter W worksheet.
Find uppercase and lowercase letters for T, C, and G with these Thanksgiving letter finds. Use a bingo dabber to mark off each identified letter or place a pom pom, bean, or piece of candy on each one.
Use this Thanksgiving 5 senses book from Fantastic Fun and Learning to work on early reading skills and practice gratitude. Go through the book all at once or break it into several days of practice, each for one day of the week. Kids will explore things they’re thankful for being able to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. What a fun learning activity!
Young kids can practice their literacy skills with this fun Thanksgiving reader from Fun-a-Day. They’ll work on sight words, color words, and their coloring skills. Plus, they’ll feel pretty proud taking it home to their parents when school lets out for Thanksgiving break.
Preschool teachers, this one’s for you! Use these handy printables from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds for your circle time activity the week before Thanksgiving break. They’re great implements to use along with a flannel board while reading fun books like Five Silly Turkeys.
Whether you’re at home or in the classroom, these Thanksgiving coloring pages are a great way to keep the kids busy. In fact, if your family does a kids’ table, put a few of these sheets and boxes of crayons at the table for kids to work on until dinner’s ready. Because dinner is never on time, is it?
There are so many fun ways to use these Thanksgiving counting mats! Go outside and gather acorns to use as math manipulatives if you can find them in your area. If not, no worries. Corn kernels, bingo markers, or pom poms work great, too. Each printable includes a number to fill in with dots, objects for practicing one to one correspondence, and a few numbers to trace because writing practice is important.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of Thanksgiving preschool activities. If you did, pin it to come back to later when you need some fun ideas to keep your young children entertained and happy when Turkey season is upon us. Happy Thanksgiving!