Thanksgiving Party Ideas!
Thanksgiving Classroom Party Tips
Thanksgiving Classroom Party Decorations
Thanksgiving Classroom Party Crafts & Activities
Thanksgiving Classroom Party Games
Thanksgiving Classroom Party Snack Ideas
Thanksgiving Classroom Party Favors
Thanksgiving Book Suggestions
Additional Thanksgiving Ideas
This holiday is a day to commemorate the Pilgrim's harvest of 1621, to give
thanks for blessings great and small, and to feast!
Most of the Thanksgiving Tips below will work whether your party location is indoors or outdoors, or whether you are decorating a gymnasium, a classroom, or a cafeteria.
Incorporate harvest colors into your decor: browns, golds, reds, yellows and oranges.
When decorating tables in a classroom, start by covering the tables with
orange flat paper. Group tissue pumpkins in the center and scatter tissue
leaves and a few foil wrapped chocolates in fall colors down the center of the
table. The orange paper functions as a colorful tablecloth, let the kids draw on the paper if they finish any activity sooner than
anticipated. Add baskets of markers to the table, and encourage them to make
handprint turkeys, fall leaves, pumpkins or anything else in your theme.
Create an inexpensive centerpiece using
Select balloons and curling ribbon to match your theme colors. Inflate the balloons (always use an odd number-3, 5, or 7) with helium and attach a weight to the bouquet. If you prefer not to use helium, attach the balloons to balloon sticks and press the sticks into a piece of floral foam. Turn the pilgrim hat upside down, add the balloons and tissue paper or metallic shred to complete the centerpiece.
A great Thanksgiving table decoration
Use 12" autumn leaf cutouts as mini placemats. Add gold metallic plates, gold plastic cutlery, and orange napkins. Scatter a little gold confetti or metallic shred in the center of the table, and your tables will look terrific at a budget price.
Use bales of hay, cornstalks, uncarved pumpkins and gourds, dried Indian corn, a jointed scarecrow, or lighted candy corn in the classroom and outside the doorway.
Create a centerpiece by filling a horn-of-plenty (cornucopia) basket with nuts, apples, gourds, Indian corn, fall leaves, and silk or fresh mums. Many specialty and grocery store bakeries are now offering bread in a cornucopia shape—you can eat the centerpiece during the meal!
Make placecards for each student. This can be done as a class activity during the party, or can be completed ahead of time. A charming and personal touch on any table! Mini frames, little tote bags, mini boxes, mini hay bales…all can be personalized, and then used as take-home favors.
Thanksgiving is a family holiday-- so why not share your Thanksgiving party with students' families? The festivities need not be elaborate…just an opportunity for some quality time.
Touch the hearts of all the party guests by having students make a "thankful
presentation". Involve each student prior to the family feast. Create an
assignment for each student, and gather a prop related to the topic that each
child will hold up when it is his/her turn to speak. For example, one student
could say, "I am thankful for the sun that gives us warmth and light". That
student could hold up an inflatable sun. While the entire class is lined up
at the front of the room giving thanks for all their blessings, add a special
song or two.
Create pilgrim hats
that double as snack holders.
Make festive feather Native American headdress napkin rings to add glorious fall color to your table. Cut toilet paper tubes into 1 1/2" wide rings. Paint designs in festive fall colors on the "rings". Add construction paper or real feathers. Allow each student to make a set for his/her family if time permits.
Create personalized thanksgiving placemats. They can be used at the party, and then sent home for Thanksgiving dinner. Use tissue leaves, or leaves cut from construction paper. Give each child 8-10 leaves, and have them write one thing that they are thankful for on each leaf. Glue the leaves to a 12" by 18" piece of paper, and laminate. Clear contact paper also works well for the
purpose of "laminating".
Make turkeys out of pinecones. Add colorful feathers, wiggly eyes, and cut and bent pipe cleaners for the beak, wattle and feet.
Use uncooked popcorn to create beautiful fall mosaics. The popcorn can be painted after the glue dries if desired.
Cover tables with orange flat paper . Add baskets of markers to the tables, and allow the children to draw on the decorative table covers if they finish other activities faster than anticipated. This activity is always a hit!
Make placecards for each child. This can be done as a class activity the day of the party, or can be completed ahead of time. A charming and personal touch on any table! Try one of the following, or create something with special meaning to your class:
"Thankful for you because" bags:
These can double as an activity and a placecard on the tables. You'll need:
Brown paper lunch sacks
Green paint pen
Tissue leaves in autumn colors
Plenty of small pieces of paper (approx. 3" X 4" size).
Cut the top of each sack in a decorative manner. (Use pinking shears, or regular scissors to trim the size, and give the bag a little character.) Glue one autumn leaf to the center of each bag at an angle. Tie raffia into little bows, and glue one to the base of each leaf with a hot glue gun. Write the name of each child on the bags with the green paint pen. Place small pieces of paper in a basket
along with pens and markers. Have each class member write a note or draw a picture (little ones) of why they are thankful for each person. This can be done in the days preceding the party. Drop notes into bags. Allow time during the party for the children to read their notes…a great self-esteem building activity.
Black paint pen
Black pipe cleaners
Use fine tip colored markers to draw faces on the "head" of each clothespin. Color the rest of the clothespin black. Just below the head, wrap a black pipe cleaner around the neck, to create the arms. Wrap another pipe cleaner around the feet, to make the pilgrim stand up in the bottle cap. Glue on a black construction paper hat (complete with yellow buckle), and a white paper vest. Cut
nametags from white or yellow construction paper, and attach to the pilgrim's arms. They look really cute with the nametag held above the pilgrim's head.
Terra cotta colored Sculpey™ clay
White paper plate
Fill with M&M's™ or mini candy bars in fall colors.
Mold clay into boats similar in shape to the Mayflower. Cut a good-sized sail out of the edge of a white paper plate. Write the names of each child on the sails. Poke two holes in the center of the sail (vertically), and use the toothpick as the mast. Boats should be approximately 4-5" in length when completed.
One important thing to
remember when playing games is that all the children should be "rewarded" equally for participating or winning. We have several inexpensive prizes in our Party Favor Store.
Many of these classic games can be converted to tie to a thanksgiving/harvest theme with a simple name or prop change. Try one of the following:
"Pin the Tail on the Donkey" – "Pin the Wattle on the Turkey"
"Duck, Duck, Goose" – "Turkey, Turkey, Stuffing"
"Hot Potato" – "Hot Turkey" (with a stuffed animal turkey)
"Musical Hats" – "Musical Pilgrim Hats"
"Bingo" – use candy corn as game pieces
"Dress Up Relay" – Use simple scarecrow, Native American or Pilgrim costumes.
"Ring Toss" – "Ring around the Gourd" (assign different point values to different sizes of gourds, pumpkins, or dried Indian corn.
"Three Legged or Sack Races" – Add an autumnal touch by creating an obstacle course using pumpkins, corn stalks and bales of hay.
Turkey Calling Contest – Host a turkey calling contest, complete with lots of squawking, flapping, wattle shaking, and pecking. Give each participant a prize with a fun distinction: "loudest turkey", "most authentic", "most likely to be spared", "cutest turkey", etc. This activity can also be turned into a relay race with the
class split into two teams. Loud, but fun! (Ages 4-Adult)
Turkey Bowling - The turkey will definitely be tenderized after participating in this game! Use a frozen turkey in place of a bowling ball (one that comes packaged with a "handle" attached) in a size that is appropriate for the age of the children. The frozen turkey is hurled at a set of bowling pins (use the real thing, tall wooden blocks or plastic milk
bottles filled with stones). One parent helper can reset the pins after each turn. This game is a big hit with every crowd! (Ages 5-Adult)
Balloon Popping Contest – Divide the children into two equal groups. About 25 yards away place two bags of inflated harvest colored balloons. These balloons should be overinflated to make popping easier. At the sound of a bell, the first two relay contestants, one from each team, run to the bag, and remove one balloon. Each must sit on it until it pops. Once the
balloon pops, the players run back to the starting line, and tag the next player in line. The first team to complete the course wins. If you have children who are afraid of the sound of popping balloons, offer a grown-up stand-in. Not a quiet game…but a guaranteed favorite! (Ages 4-Adult)
Pass the Corn – Divide the children into two teams and have them form two lines. You will need two cobs of dried Indian corn. At the signal to "go", the corncob is to be passed from child to child. The catch is that they can use any part of their bodies, except their hands. If the corn touches the ground at any time, it must go back to the beginning of the
line again. Whichever team manages to get the corn to the end of the line first wins the game. The corn can also be used in a relay, with the kids putting the corn between their knees, and racing "crab" style". (Ages 4-10)
If the games can be played outside, "hay" fights are great fun!
Don't forget the favor or memento! Whether big or small, give each student something special so they will fondly remember this Thanksgiving feast forever!
some fun pilgrim hats. Provide one for each guest at your Thanksgiving
table—what a terrific photo opportunity!
Give the children the opportunity to help in preparing the food for the "feast". The
following snacks are easy to make, and many are simple enough for children to make. Some can do double duty, and work well as table decorations or crafts…and then gobbled in your harvest feast
Serve dry snacks in pilgrim hats turned upside down. Popcorn, pretzels, or wrapped goodies all look much more appetizing when the presentation is cute!
NOT-QUITE-TURKEY SANDWICHES – Make sandwiches using favorite ingredients,
(PB&J, bologna, ham & cheese, honey & banana) and cutout full-sized cookie cutter turkeys. For adventurous children, try pumpernickel bread. Sliced green olives, little pieces of carrots, raisins, and chocolate chips make terrific eyes, and
no turkey would be complete without a little pimento or red licorice wattle!
BOUNTIFUL COOKIES – This snack doubles as an activity, as children decorate their own sugar cookies. Have a small table set up with plenty of sugar cookies cut out in Thanksgiving shapes, (turkeys, pumpkins, pilgrim hats, etc.) on individual plates, along with different colors of frosting, sprinkles, candy corn, and other
goodies. This activity works equally well with 2 year-old preschoolers and with 10th graders.
TEENEY TURKEYS – What you'll need for each turkey: One Nutter Butter™ cookie, one peanut butter cup, 2 chocolate wafers, chocolate frosting, 8-10 pieces of candy corn, and a few mini M&Ms™ or jelly beans. Frost the top of the peanut butter cup, and press it onto the chocolate wafer, lining up one edge of each to the
other. Use additional frosting to attach candy corn along the other edge to create the appearance of feathers. Frost one side of the Nutter Butter™ cookie and press it onto the other side of the peanut butter cup. Use small candies to create a turkey face and wattle. Using more frosting, attach the "turkey" to the remaining chocolate wafer. Add candy corn to the base of the turkey as feet.
MINI PUMPKIN PIES – Instead of baking one large pie, bake mini pies using ready-made mini pie shells and canned pumpkin pie filling (prepared as directed on the can). The same concept will work with apple pie or an apple crumble pie. Kids love to be involved in baking projects. Recruit parents to help a few days prior to the
party, and let each child make their own. Mini thanksgiving shaped cookie cutters can be used to create pie-topping garnish. For each mini pie cut one or two shapes out of ready-made pie pastry, bake on a cookie sheet, and add them to the cooled pies.
CRISPY POP – To make 16 pops, you'll need 1-12 oz. bag of Nestle's TollHouse Chocolate Chips™, 16 ready made Crispy Treats (or make your own if you have the time—cut into 2 ½" X 4" pieces), 16 pretzel rods (or popsicle sticks), and some glorious fall colored sprinkles. Cutting little holes with a knife, stick
the pretzel rods into the narrow end of the Crispy Treats. Melt the entire bag of chocolate chips for one minute in the microwave, and stir. Dip the end of the "pop" into the melted chocolate, then sprinkle with festive sprinkles. Set pops on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper, and refrigerate until the chocolate sets. If you will be using these as take home favors, or sending them to school, cover the crispy treat
portion with plastic wrap and tie with satin or curling ribbon.
CRAWLIE POP – Spiders love to move indoors in the fall...and are thankful for the warmth our homes provide! For each pop, you'll need 2 black pipe cleaners, 2 wiggly eyes, 1 Tootsie Pop™, and a 4"X4 " piece of black foil or black tissue. Wrap the black foil around the sucker, leaving the existing wrapper in place.
Cut the black pipe cleaners in half, then center them at the base of the pop and wrap them around the stick, so that there are four legs on each side. Bend the pipe cleaners to resemble legs, then glue wiggly eyes in place.
BUGS ON A LOG – This extra-easy to make treat is a fun activity for little children, and then can be instantly consumed. Ingredients: Pretzel Rods, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chips. Dip pretzel rod into peanut butter, (about half of the pretzel should be covered), and then roll in chocolate chips. If you are allowing the
children to participate, it is easiest to give each of them a plate with their own portion of ingredients on it. They'll enjoy the making as much as the tasty eating!
TASTY PLACE CARDS – Bake sugar cookies in the shape of rectangles, and let cool. With colored gel or frosting, write the names of party guests on the cookies, and decorate as desired. A miniature Snickers™ bar attached with frosting will make the cookie stand. This is a great table decoration, and a nice personal touch for a
small group or classroom of children.
RITZY BITZY SPIDERS – Ritz™ crackers, peanut butter, pretzel sticks and raisins…all you'll need to create these little critters. Spread one cracker with peanut butter. Break four pretzels in half for each spider, and add pretzel "legs" to the first cracker. Spread peanut butter on a second cracker, and place the
peanut butter side down on the pretzel legs. Attach raisins with peanut butter, and…your spider is ready to join the warm celebration.
BEVERAGES – Apple cider served warm or cool is the perfect beverage for a Thanksgiving gathering. To fill the room with a delicious aroma, fill a crock-pot with apple cider, and add ¼ cup of maple syrup and two cinnamon sticks. Simmer on low.
Thanksgiving Classroom Books by Amazon
your Thanksgiving party supplies in the
Reason To Party has your Thanksgiving