Use the Thanksgiving holiday to help refresh key educational concepts for your students.

Thanksgiving Spelling Bee

Select Thanksgiving-oriented words, and host a spelling bee. Ask all students to stand. Start on the left side of the room. Call out a grade-appropriate word. Ask the class to jump up when the speller says a consonant and sit down when the speller says a vowel. If a student makes a mistake, ask the student to sit down, and give another student a chance to spell the word. The last student to spell a word correctly is the winner.

Thanksgiving Word List
celebrate friends Pilgrim
cook harvest potato
corn holiday pumpkin
dish home rolls
eat meal thank
fall Native American thankful
family November turkey
feast pie yam


Counting with Corn Kernels

Corn is a popular fall veggie, and dried corn kernels can be used as a sensory way to practice counting. First, write numbers on index cards and put the cards in a pile. Have each student draw an index card from a pile, and count out the number of corn kernels to match. Then, students should do jumping jacks and count to the number on the card. Older students can also count by twos, fives, or tens. If desired, place the corn kernels in small cups to contain them.

If you’d like to continue refreshing your preschoolers’ math skills with corn, try this fun corn and dice game from I Heart Crafty Things.

The Gratitude Game

At Thanksgiving, many families take a moment to think about their blessings over the past year. In this activity, refresh the concept of nouns. On the board, make columns for People, Places, and Things. Provide each student with one sticky note for each column. Ask students to think of a person they are grateful for and then have them write (or draw) that person on the sticky note. Repeat for each column. When students have finished with each sticky note, they can hop, skip, or jump to the board and place the notes under the corresponding columns. As a class, review the answers to make sure that the sticky notes are in the correct columns.

For older students, continue the activity by making a tally on the board for the People column. As a class, count how many students said Mom, or Dad, Grandma, or Grandpa. When everyone’s sticky notes have been counted, have each student create a bar graph from the class’s tally.