Being Thankful for Thanksgiving With These Classroom Activities: Grades K-1

By Marlene Gundlach

Find some fun and creative ways to bring Thanksgiving into your Kindergarten or first-grade classroom. We have several songs and finger-plays as well as sorting, listening skills, and counting.

Songs and Finger-Plays

One Fat Turkey (spoken, not sung)

One fat turkey went strutting by.

He shook his feathers and winked his eye.

He flapped his wings and his head gave a wobble,

As he looked at me and said, "Gobble, gobble, gobble."

The Turkey is a Funny Bird (tune of Pop Goes the Weasel)

The turkey is a funny bird.

His head goes wobble, wobble.

And all he says is just one word,

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble.

I'm a Little Turkey (tune: I'm a Little Teapot)

I'm a little turkey, look at me.

Fat and plump as I can be.

Don't you try to catch, 'cause you see,

I'll hide behind this old oak tree.

The Turkey (spoken)

Who gobbles when he talks.

He waddles when he walks. (waddle)

And on Thanksgiving Day,

And whoosh he flies away. (flap arms)

Five Little Pilgrims

Five little pilgrims on Thanksgiving Day (hold up five fingers)

The first one said, "I'll have cake if I may." (lower 5 fingers, then raise respective finger with each of the following)

The second one said, "I'll have turkey roasted."

The third one said, "I'll have chestnuts roasted."

The fourth one said, "I'll have pumpkin pie."

The fifth one said, "Oh, cranberries I spy,"

But before they ate any turkey or dressing,

All of the pilgrims said a Thanksgiving Blessing. (fold hands)

Readiness Activities


Use pieces of Indian corn, off the cob, and sort the pieces by color into a muffin tin.

Listening Skills

After discussing why Pilgrims came and how and what they needed, have each child repeat the sentence and everyone's answers and add one of their own. This will help reinforce students' listening skills.

"I'm going to sail on the Mayflower, and take my _________."

Estimation and Counting

Corn-guessing game:Have children estimate how many kernels are in a small container. Count them and do again.


Indian Corn


Have students tear the tissue paper into small pieces. Glue the brown pieces to the husk and yellow, orange, brown, purple pieces to the corn.

Indian Corn Necklace

Soak Indian corn in water. Using needles and heavy vinyl thread, string the corn onto a necklace.

Corn Cob Painting

Paint fall colors onto a corn cob and roll it onto a piece of paper.

Cornucopia of Thanksgiving

Download and give each child a copy of the cornucopia; you may want to enlarge the print to an 11x17 to give the students more room to work. Have them draw pictures of things they are thankful for. For an at-home project you can have them glue photographs or pictures from magazines onto the cornucopia.

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