5 No-Prep Thanksgiving Activities

Looking for ready-to-use Thanksgiving activities that keep students engaged in learning? You’ll be thankful for these 5 easy activities:

1. Create A Classroom Market: Murphy Market is a center I created in which students purchase items, add totals and learn to make change. To create this center, I purchased several inexpensive Thanksgiving canned food items and priced according to my students’ academic needs. Since we are working on counting quarters, I priced most items in increments of 25.

Murphy Market 3 I scoured my local Dollar Store for market supplies and found these adorable shopping baskets, play food, price stickers and receipt books. I posted weekly grocery specials (be sure to avoid alcohol and other inappropriate items) along with specific directions for the center.

Murphy Market 4

At Murphy Market, students shop for 2-4 Thanksgiving items. I scaffold the number of purchases based on instructional needs; my proficient mathematicians shop for 4 items while my developing mathematicians shop for 2 items.

Murphy Market 2

Murphy Market 5

After selection, students come over to my whiteboard table and we take turns adding up totals. Each shopper takes a turn to show items and name prices while all students play cashier, adding up totals. This keeps students engaged and provides multiple opportunities for mathematical practice. We compare strategies and answers and then move to the next shopper.

Murphy Market 6

Murphy Market 7

I change pricing and weekly specials regularly and rotate items seasonally. After Thanksgiving, I will set up a holiday boutique full of Dollar Store holiday gifts.

2. Record Thankful Thoughts: Generate excitement about Thanksgiving and help students realize all of the things they are thankful for with this fun craft. Read and discuss one of the books below.

Thanksgiving books

Then students assemble the turkey and write what they are thankful for on the turkey feathers. Download this FREE craft here. Check out our Thanksgiving Writing With Icons and Sentence Frames for additional Thanksgiving writing activities.

Thankful Thoughts

3. Make Turkey Cupcakes: Students love classroom cooking projects and this Turkey Cupcake recipe is one of their favorites!

turkey cupcake 1

You need plain, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate bells (found at Dollar Store), candy corn, chocolate frosting and Wilton candy eyes (found at Target’s baking aisle near the sprinkles). Students will gather ingredients, read the recipe (functional text) and eat and enjoy them. Download complete recipe here.

Turkey cupcake 2

4. Pose for Turkey Portraits: I found these adorable turkey hats in the dollar section of my local Target. I let students pick their hat of choice and then use them to make Thanksgiving cards. You can also use them for turkey acrostic poems, descriptive writing or Thanksgiving recipes.

Turkey hat 1

turkey hat 2

5. Create Turkey Bags: These cute turkey bags organize and house all of students’ Thanksgiving projects. Simply pick up a class set of brown grocery bags and have students make a turkey on the front. You can use our free downloadable turkey graphic or any other turkey pattern. My students add a red balloon for the gobbler and large googly eyes to add character to each turkey.

Turkey bag




Thankful Thoughts: FREE Thanksgiving Turkey Writing

Check out this fun and easy to use Thanksgiving craft and writing activity. Includes original Astute Hoot colored turkey body and feathers for craft, blackline master of turkey graphic, suggestions for use including Thanksgiving books for read aloud, and Thanksgiving themed journal writing paper. Great for grades Pre-K through grade 3.



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