Grade 1- 3
Students create coupon books in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Before students begin the activity, discuss the history of Thanksgiving with them.
Thanksgiving was first observed by the Pilgrims in the year 1621. The Pilgrims had just survived their first difficult winter in the new settlement near present-day Provincetown, Massachusetts. The Pilgrims made friends with the Native Americans who taught them to build stronger houses and hunt for food. When spring arrived, the Pilgrims went to work plowing the land and planting seeds brought from England. One Native American, Squanto, became especially helpful to the Pilgrims.
When harvest time came, the Pilgrims discovered that they had more than enough produce to store for the next winter. The Pilgrims were so grateful that they decided to hold a feast of thanksgiving, inviting their Native American friends. The Native Americans brought shellfish, game, and wild turkeys. The Pilgrims filled the tables with bounty from their gardens. They all bowed their heads and said a prayer of thanks to God before beginning the feast which lasted three days.
Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated in America on the fourth Thursday of November. Families gather together to share a special meal and to thank God for all the good that has been given them.
Distribute the Thanksgiving Coupon Book activity pages to students and tell them that the first Thanksgiving was characterized by a spirit of sharing and cooperation. Have them create their coupon books to give to someone for whom they are thankful.
Grouping Turkey Feathers: Buy a package of brightly colored feathers (found in craft stores). Have children group the feathers that are alike in color.
Building Log Cabins: Build some log cabins for the Pilgrim family out of wooden building logs. Make a Pilgrim family. Stand up the characters to complete the scene!
Making Foam and Pipe-Cleaner Turkeys: Spray paint a foam ball brown. Let dry. Push in colored pipe cleaners for turkey feathers and feet. (Remember to spray paint outside or in a well-ventilated area.)
Stringing Popcorn Necklaces: Provide each child with a needle and strong cotton thread approximately 20 " (50 cm) long, and popcorn flakes. Tie off the two ends of the thread when the necklace is long enough to go over the child's head.
Comparing Thanksgivings: Read a book that tells about the first Thanksgiving and the conditions under which the Pilgrims lived. Make a Venn diagram or a chart comparing Thanksgiving then and now.
To emphasize a spirit of cooperation and good behavior, fill out a "Thankful Certificate" for each child. The adult completes the award by filling in the page with a comment such as "I am thankful that you were a good friend" or "I am thankful that your work showed improvement." The certificates are awarded at the end of the month and can be presented as part of a celebration feast.
- Thanksgiving Coupon Book activity pages
- crayons or colored pencils
- Accorsi, William. Friendship's First Thanksgiving. Holiday LB, 1992.
- Balian, Lorna. Sometimes It's Turkey--Sometimes It's Feathers. Humbug Books, 1987.
- Brown, Marc. Arthur's Thanksgiving. Little, 1983.
- Bunting, Eve. A Turkey for Thanksgiving. Houghton, 1991.
- Dalgliesh, Alice. The Thanksgiving Story. Macmillan, 1988.
- Dragonwater, Crescent. Alligator Arrived with Apples: A Potluck Alphabet Feast. Macmillan, 1987.
- Miller, Mary Beth and George Ancona. Handtalk School. Macmillan, 1991.
- Prelutsky, Jack. It's Thanksgiving. Scholastic, 1989.