It’s that time of year again when the leaves start changing colors, the weather starts cooling down, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. If you’re looking for some fun and unique ideas for your child’s classroom feast this year, look no further! I’ve gathered some great ideas that will have your kids excited for this festive occasion.
Can we all agree that classroom parties were the best? They always seemed to happen the day before a long break, and it was so much fun to have parents come in and help with the games and activities. Plus, what elementary students don’t love festive treats?? Thanksgiving always seemed to get overlooked since it falls right in between Halloween and Christmas, but Thanksgiving classroom parties can be really fun. These are simple ideas that don’t take too much time, but they’ll have a big impact. At the end of the day, you know your students best and can throw them a great party!
There are three categories you’ll need to put together a great classroom Thanksgiving Feast: Food, decorations, and activities. These are the perfect formula for a classroom party, so here are some classroom Thanksgiving feast ideas you can use when planning yours:
Homemade Ice Cream
Making ice cream is so much fun for elementary kids! All you need is some half and half, sugar, vanilla extract, ice, kosher salt, and whatever toppings you like. Here’s a link to an easy recipe your elementary kids can make in the classroom! If you split the students into small groups, it’s the perfect way to have a classroom feast.
If you want something a little fancier, our homemade ice cream recipe is to die for!
Thanksgiving Turkey Fruit or Veggie Platter
This option is perfect for kids who might want a healthy alternative to all the Thanksgiving treats. Just arrange some fruit and veggies into the shape of a turkey on a plate, and you’ve got a festive and healthy snack. You can even add fruit dip and ranch dressing on the side! Parents will appreciate the healthier menu items too.
Popcorn Corn on the Cob
Another festive and fun way to serve corn on the cob! All you need is some green paper, popcorn, and a long skinny disposable bag. Cut the green paper to look like a corn husk, put it in the bottom of the bag, and fill the bag with popcorn. It’ll look like corn on the cob!
These are so easy to make and they look really impressive. All you need is a cupcake, some brown frosting, two candy eyes, candy corn, and an orange M&M for the nose. Frost the cupcake with chocolate frosting, add the candy eyes and nose, and add the candy corn as the feathers. You’ve got a turkey cupcake! These are fun for young kids at Thanksgiving dinner too. If you want to make things super easy, go to your local grocery store and pick up some pre-made cupcakes as your base.
Mini Personal Pies
This is a great way to let each student have their own pie. You can use store-bought mini graham cracker crusts or make your own with this recipe. Then, just fill them with whatever filling you like (pumpkin pie would be perfect for Thanksgiving!).
Here are some of our favorite pie ideas for Thanksgiving!
Decorate Sugar Cookies
Sugar cookies are always a hit with kids, and they’ll love decorating them with icing and sprinkles. You can either make your own sugar cookies or buy some from the store. Then, just provide some icing and sprinkles in different colors, and let the kids go to town!
Here is our favorite sugar cookie recipe!
Rice Krispie Treats in Thanksgiving Shapes
This is a fun twist on a classic treat. Just make Rice Krispie treats according to the recipe on the back of the cereal box. Once they’re cooled, cut them into different Thanksgiving shapes like turkeys, leaves, and pumpkins to mimic traditional dishes. The kids will love this festive spin on a classic! You can even add food coloring to make it more realistic. You could even put together a Thanksgiving meal with all the different shapes!
This is the best Rice Krispie recipe!
If you’re serving food at the Thanksgiving party, make sure to be mindful of any allergies kids in the classroom might have. And don’t forget to bring paper plates!
Turkey Napkin Holders
These are so easy to make and they’ll add a cute touch to your Thanksgiving feast. Just take some brown pipe cleaner, add some colorful feathers (you can use construction paper or tissue paper), and stick some googly eyes on. Roll up a napkin in the pipe cleaner and you’re all set! This is one of our favorite Thanksgiving crafts for kids.
This is a great way to make sure everyone knows where to sit. Just get some cardstock and write each student’s name on it. Then, let the students decorate them however they like! You could also make these with your Cricut machine – here is a tutorial for some Thanksgiving place cards you might love!
“Happy Thanksgiving” Banner
This is a great way to decorate your classroom for the feast. Just get some construction paper or poster board and cut it into triangles. Then, write “Happy Thanksgiving” on each triangle and string them together with yarn or ribbon. Hang it up and you’re all set!
Thanksgiving Table Decorations
This is a great way to make your classroom tables look extra festive. You can either buy some Thanksgiving table decorations or make your own. Some easy DIY options include making centerpieces out of mason jars, painting pumpkins, or making place mats out of construction paper. We would recommend pushing the classroom desks together to create a long table that mimics a Thanksgiving dinner table.
This is a fun twist on a classic game that the kids will love. Just print out some bingo cards (you can find plenty of free printables online) and put them in disposable baggies. Then, call out different Thanksgiving-themed items and have the kids mark them off with candy corn, M&Ms, or other Thanksgiving-themed candy. The first one to get bingo wins!
Test the kids’ knowledge of all things Thanksgiving with this fun trivia game. You can either make up your own questions or find a list online. Divide the kids into teams and see who can answer the most questions correctly! This is especially fun for older kids, and it’s a great way to learn about the history of Thanksgiving. They can even make a turkey craft, pilgrim hats, or a thankful tree while they learn.
Turkey Calling Contest
This is a hilarious way to entertain the kids (and adults!) at your Thanksgiving feast. Just play some turkey sounds on your phone or computer and have the kids try to imitate them. The best turkey impersonator wins a prize!
If you’re doing rotations at your classroom party, this is a great activity for the kids to wind down for a little while. Just print out some Thanksgiving-themed word searches (again, you can find plenty of free printables online) and let the kids have at it. They’ll love finding all the hidden words! You could also incorporate this into your lesson plans during the holiday season.
Mashed Potatoes Sensory Bin
If you teach preschool or kindergarten, this is a messy yet perfect way to celebrate Thanksgiving time. Put a bunch of mashed potatoes in a bowl or bin (you could also use sweet potatoes) and hide fun things inside. You could add pine cones, small prizes, or anything else you can find, then let the kids use their hands to dig them out. It will definitely be messy, but the kids will have a great time! This activity works best for young elementary school students and requires parent volunteers to supervise.
So there you have it – everything you need for a fun and festive Thanksgiving feast in your classroom! Just remember to plan ahead and have everything ready to go so the day of the party runs smoothly. And most importantly, have fun!
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the things we are grateful for. We hope that you and your students have a wonderful Thanksgiving! What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?
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Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.