3 Simple Thanksgiving Lesson Ideas for Elementary Students

Let’s talk about Thanksgiving Lesson ideas! With the end of November creeping up again this year we wanted to share our 3 simple thanksgiving lesson ideas for you to try in your classroom.

Thanksgiving Lesson Ideas


Note to Aussie teachers: Even though we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, November is the perfect time to teach your students about having an Attitude of Gratitude! Read on, because these ideas can easily be gratitude focused lessons (and we have included Aussie versions in the printables too!)


These low-prep activities will not only get your students reflecting on what they’re grateful for but also jazz up your classroom walls in the process. We’re talking gratitude, creativity, and just a hint of that Thanksgiving spirit without all the wordy stuff. 

The gratitude project - Thanksgiving lesson ideas


Teaching kids how to be grateful and thankful is giving them a life long gift! So, get ready for a gratitude journey that’s going to leave your classroom looking awesome and your students feeling all warm and fuzzy inside…


Thankful Hearts (Thanksgiving lesson idea 1)

This is the best Thanksgiving craft ever because it focuses on what it actually means to be thankful in our lives. The hearts are the perfect reflection and craft activity in the lead-up to Thanksgiving (but you could use it any time of the year really because learning about being thankful is always so powerful). 

Thanksgiving lesson ideas - Thankful Hearts

Help your students learn about what it means to be thankful and then reflect upon what they are thankful for in their own lives. 


The four pages included are scaffolded for the students so they can easily complete them and reflect upon what they are thankful for. And the best part? This thanksgiving lesson is very minimal teacher prep for an awesome outcome.

Thanksgiving lesson ideas - Thankful Hearts


“My students loved this activity. It was easy to prepare. We worked on one side at a time and the students found it really engaging. They also made the classroom look great” Michelle

Thanksgiving lesson ideas - Thankful Hearts


This was a great gift idea for the parents at Thanksgiving time” Jen

Find the Thanksgiving 3D Hearts here.

Thank you / Gratitude Tree (Thanksgiving lesson idea 2)

Looking for a visual for thanksgiving! Our fall tree is ideal (for our Aussie friends it also comes with the wording ‘grateful’). 

Thanksgiving lesson ideas


This Thanksgiving lesson is perfect for building your classroom community during fall. Incorporate this activity into your morning routine or finishing the end of the day with something students are thankful for. Plus you can add to the tree as the year progresses on. We have even seen teachers ask parents to add to the tree so their children can see what they are thankful for.


Teacher Tip: We like to keep a bowl of leaves in the classroom for students to use throughout the day. Allow them the autonomy to take over the creation of the tree so it is student driven rather than teacher facilitated. 

Thanksgiving lesson ideas - Thankful tree

We love this bulletin board idea to reinforce the importance and benefit of being thankful and sharing that as a class community.


“This came out so cute for our class bulletin board! Easy to prep and display” Kimberly

Thanksgiving lesson ideas - Thankful tree


“Loved working on this with my students. Had them color every part and create their own leaves” Sara

Find the Thankful / grateful tree here.

The Gratitude Project (Thanksgiving lesson idea 3)

The Gratitude Project is perfect if you want to dive a little deeper into what gratitude looks like in the world around your students. 

The Project provides students with learning and investigating opportunities to develop an understanding of what it means to be thankful, discover what others are thankful for, as well as reflecting upon what they are grateful for in their own lives.

The gratitude project - Thanksgiving lesson ideas


This project aims to expose young minds to an understanding of gratitude and how the mindful practice of gratitude can make us happier and healthier. Included are 12 different guided gratitude mini projects with a matching workbook.

The gratitude project - Thanksgiving lesson ideas

Some projects require research or talking to each other. While others include reflecting, writing or designing, so it caters for all different learning styles. 

“This was such a fun project, and the end product was super cute! Gave these to parents at conferences right before Thanksgiving break!” Jennifer

The Gratitude Project - Thanksgiving lesson ideas


“I love this resource! The students were so responsive and loved the challenges set each day. It’s a great way for everyone to focus on the positives and become more empathetic as a group. Love It!” Donna


Find the Gratitude Project here.


Ready to sprinkle a bit of thankfulness magic into your classroom? Use these activities suggestions and make your classroom the gratitude hotspot!


Did you know we have a podcast? Listen to the Biggest Teacher Mistakes we Made as New Teachers here:

What to read next:

7 ways to encourage gratitude in the classroom

Kindness at Christmas – ideas and a freebie

Activities to support student wellbeing


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