Books, Videos, and Resources for Teaching About Thanksgiving

Teaching about holidays can be fun, but they are also required. At least they are in Texas. In early elementary, we talk about the origins of customs, holidays, and celebrations celebrated in the community, state, and nation. Among those holidays is Thanksgiving. Unlike some holidays, such as Constitution Day, students are most likely familiar with Thanksgiving and probably celebrate it at home. However, our younger students may not be familiar with the story of Thanksgiving or understand its significance.

There are many ways to talk about Thanksgiving in your classroom. Check out the following videos, books, and resources to help supplement your lesson plans.


The Mouse on the Mayflower about a mouse named Willum, who is discovered on the Mayflower.

The Berenstain Bears always have great lessons to share. This video is a great way to get students thinking about the importance of being thankful.

This kid's reenactment of the story of Thanksgiving is a fun way to discuss the brave journey of the pilgrims as they struggled for religious freedom and survival in the New World.


There are too many Thanksgiving books to list! Resource Ranch offers activity extensions for Turkey Trouble, which is always a class favorite! If you plan on reading the fun book Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving with your class, use this book companion pack to follow up your read aloud. Students will LOVE writing a story to go along with their hidden turkey craft!


If you are in school the week of Thanksgiving, you may want to use some Thanksgiving themed literacy centers. These fun activities from Resource Ranch include alphabetizing, poetry, and more! To go along with your literacy centers, consider using Draw Three and Write with Me! Thanksgiving Edition to encourage creative writing.

There are plenty of non-fiction trade books available for Thanksgiving, but if you have a hard time tracking them down, you can download printable books. Creation Castle offers three printable readers for K-1 students: The Pilgrim's Journey, The First Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving Today. Resource Ranch also offers three printable books for 1st or 2nd grade students: Pilgrims, Chores, and Thanksgiving.

You will definitely want to grab the free First Thanksgiving bracelet activity. The lesson will work best if you read a book about the first Thanksgiving and then make the bracelets. The printable story included provides a very basic outline of the story – feel free to add more details orally as you complete the bracelets.

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