Thanksgiving is a natural time to learn some American history. Below is a GIANT list of free resources from around the web to teach Thanksgiving history. I’ve organized by type of resource, so it is easier to find what you’re looking for. This list has something for everyone, with resources for every age, preschool through high school.
So, have fun with all this history goodness.
Free Thanksgiving History Resources
Mayflower Compact from US History
The Pilgrims & The Mayflower Compact from The Mayflower Society
Thanksgiving & George Washington from Mount Vernon
Children in Plimoth Colony from Plimoth Patuxet Ancestors
Plimoth Colony Timeline and other important historical documents from Plimoth Patuxet Ancestors
Biographical Profiles of colonists from Plimoth Patuxet Ancestors
Mayflower Passenger List from Mayflower History
How Big is Plymouth Rock? from Wonderopolis
Plymouth Rock Facts & Photos from See Plymouth
Are You Teaching the Real Story of the First Thanksgiving? from Education World
Finding Accurate Thanksgiving History Books for Kids from Oaxacaborn
Painted Pilgrims (Gr. 6-8) from Pilgrim Hall Museum
WILLIAM BRADFORD: the pen & the person (Gr. 9-12) from Pilgrim Hall Museum
Thanksgiving Ideas for the Classroom (Gr. 9-12) from NEA
*All of the following lesson plans are from Scholastic. They are listed by grade with the Scholastics Teaching guide first and then direct links to each lesson plan for that grade.
The First Thanksgiving Teacher’s Activity Guide Home Page
Videos, Games, & Virtual Tours:
The following videos are from History Channel’s History of Thanksgiving Videos:
The following are from Scholastic and Plimoth Plantation:
Check out the area and its history with the fun virtual tours below.
George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789 from Mount Vernon
Throwback Thursday – Thanksgiving at Times of National Turmoil from New York Times. A list of Archival Articles on Thanksgivings from 1917-2012
Lincoln and Thanksgiving from NPS
Contact Timeline for Mashpee Wampanoag from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
Who are the Wampanoag? from Plimoth Plantation
Wampanoag Fun & Games from Plimoth Plantation
Picture dictionary Wampanoag animal words from Native Languages
Fun with Wampanoag words from the WÔPANÂAK Language Reclamation Project
Wampanoag Folktales and Traditional Stories from Native Languages
Crafts, Projects, & Activities:
Below you’ll find a hodgepodge of crafts and fun activities to teach Thanksgiving History.
To start, check out the super fun Measure the Mayflower Math Activity I did with my kids to help them understand the size of the Mayflower.
Milk Carton Mayflower from Stir the Wonder
Thanksgiving with Stained Glass from Renee at Great Peace
Simple Thanksgiving Learning Projects from Sallie Borrink
Thanksgiving STEM Activities from The Learning Hypothesis
Retelling the Story of the First Thanksgiving from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
Christian Thanksgiving Object Lesson: Pilgrim in a Bottle from Christian Homeschool Moms
10 Thanksgiving History Conversation Starters from iHomeschoolNetwork
Thanksgiving Reading Comprehension for Upper Elementary and Middle Grades from The Learning Hypothesis
Cranberry Thanksgiving Lapbook from Homeschool Share
Thanksgiving Printable Pack from This Crazy Homeschool Life
Free Thanksgiving Timeline from a Teaching Mommy
Thanksgiving Writing Activity from Teach Beside Me
Thoughts on Thanksgiving: A Holiday Essay from Beyond Mommying
Pilgrim Sentence Scramble Activity from Sallie Bornick
Thanksgiving Coloring pages from Crayola
Thanksgiving Coloring Pages from Free Coloring Pages
I hope this list gives you some great resources and fun ideas for learning Thanksgiving history this year.
If you’re looking for gratitude activities for little learners this Thanksgiving, check out my post on Thanking Your Way Through the ABC’s.
It also includes a “Fill your heart with gratitude” activity for the whole family. It’s FREE to subscribers until Monday 11/13!