Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays to incorporate into math centers and reading activities. I have compiled my favorite Thanksgiving activities for upper elementary grades in this post, including a few free activities!
This post contains affiliate links if you wish to purchase the Thanksgiving read alouds mentioned in this post
Thanksgiving Science Activities
Science is always a favorite subject of my students and I love incorporating seasonal or holiday science activities. For Thanksgiving, we have two favorites with Thanksgiving food-themes: one with cranberries and one with bones.
Thanksgiving Science: Cranberries
Cranberries are an integral part of Thanksgiving dinner and these cranberry science activities are activity must-haves. From floating cranberries to dancing cranberries students will have fun making predictions, investigating, and drawing conclusions. Both activities are low prep!
Thanksgiving Science: Bending Bones
Another science activity that is perfect for Thanksgiving is the “Bending Bones” demonstration. Read more and grab the freebies to complete this activity by clicking here.
Thanksgiving Reading Activities
Thanksgiving Read Alouds and Picture Books
There are a ton of Thanksgiving themed books to read during the month of November. These are two of my favorite books to read to my fifth graders.
I love In November by Cynthia Rylant because of the beautiful language used by the author. This is a great mentor text to teach students about writer’s craft.
Thank You, Sarah is a book about the woman who persisted and after several attempts finally got Thanksgiving approved as a federal holiday. This book is great for teaching theme and characterization.
Looking for some fun, fantasy Thanksgiving read alouds with a turkey theme?
Thanksgiving Reading Activities
I also love using my Thanksgiving-themed reading passages during independent reading or as a break from our normal small group reading or guided reading instruction. Sometimes, it is nice to just take a break from rigorous reading instruction and enjoy holiday-themed texts.
These reading passages are great to use because they are both common core aligned and engaging for the students. This set includes a poem, informational text, and a fiction text (all with a Thanksgiving-theme) so students can have practice reading a variety of genres. Each passage includes text dependent questions, as well as printable graphic organizers. **Click here to see the Thanksgiving Just Print Reading pack.
Free Thanksgiving Bookmarks
These free bookmarks are also a nice “treat” to give to students. My students always love getting new themed bookmarks. These can be printed on colored card stock or on white card stock for the students to color. They could even be laminated for continued use and durability. Click here to download these bookmarks for free.
Thanksgiving Figurative Language Activity
Figurative language is one of my favorite skills to teach. My students love studying figurative but they always always struggle with identifying the different types and determining the meaning. To provide ongoing practice, I started creating these seasonal figurative language centers. For the Thanksgiving activity, the students sort the feathers to the correct turkey by matching the type of figurative language. This activity reminds them of their K-2 years, and they love it (and of course, I love the grade-level practice!).
Thanksgiving Writing Activities
Free Thanksgiving Writing Prompts
These free writing prompts are perfect for getting students into the spirit of giving thanks and showing gratitude. One has the students writing a descriptive paragraph or essay about all the things that they are thankful for in their lives. The other Thanksgiving writing prompt is an acrostic poem using the phrase, “Give Thanks”.
Free Thanksgiving Pie Writing Activity
And sometimes, we have time (and appropriate behavior) for a high-interest Thanksgiving writing activity involving pies. This Thanksgiving themed writing activity works well with persuasive and informational writing. After sampling several pies, students write persuasive essays as to why their favorite pie is the best pie for Thanksgiving. They could also engage in some descriptive writing as they describe the taste, texture, and smell of the pies.
Thanksgiving Math Activities
Thanksgiving Math Centers
Finally, it would not be a normal holiday if I didn’t include themed math centers in my math instruction. The first set of math centers shown are included in my Fall and Thanksgiving Math Centers pack. These centers review a variety of skills from word problems and decimals to basic fractions and whole number skills.
This next math center is a favorite of my students. They use a Thanksgiving Dinner Menu to solve a variety of different tasks. They also use the menu to take each other’s orders and calculate the total cost. That is by far their favorite part of this activity. Click here to purchase the Thanksgiving Dinner Math Activity from my store.
Thanksgiving Math Printables
This time of the year is rough in the classroom. We are tired, overwhelmed, etc. However, our students are excited for a break. These Thanksgiving math worksheets are a huge life-saver for me each year. They are perfect for mixing up things and easily integrating some Thanksgiving “fun” into the classroom with no additional prep on the part of the teacher.
These Thanksgiving math worksheets are perfect for morning work, homework, time-fillers, or even independent math work or centers. The students love the graphics and Thanksgiving themes and I love the much-needed math review.
And finally, a Thanksgiving math FREEBIE! These Thanksgiving logic puzzles are so fun for students. Click here to read more about them and get them for free!
Those are my favorite go-to activities for Thanksgiving. Check out my favorite fall themed activities here. What are your favorite Thanksgiving activities to do in your classroom? Let us know in the comments.
Want More Thanksgiving Activities?
Click the links below to check out my favorite Thanksgiving math and reading activities.
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