Multi-Grade Level Thanksgiving Unit Study

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girl in field holding corn

One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving.

I’m one of those people who strive to keep Thanksgiving in November and Christmas in December, because I want to use November as much as I can as a time to remind myself to give thanks and be grateful to God for all He is and has done in my life and family.

It is such a great way to begin our holiday season, in laying a foundation to celebrate Christ’s birth.

And I am working to build that “gratefulness” muscle in my own children’s lives.

My kids love Thanksgiving. They wait all year long to celebrate Thanksgiving, to rehearse the Thanksgiving story, and to talk about all of the things we are thankful for.

We start off in October by decorating our whole house for fall.

It’s sort of the launching pad to say, “Thanksgiving is coming!” We usually will do different fall-themed art projects to help decorate our house, and they find the decorating and art so fun as we build anticipation for this beautiful holiday and the message it brings.


I love to start off our homeschool day with hymns, and there are beautiful hymns of thanksgiving – both modern and historic – to sing in your homeschool.

I have a playlist that I put together with both modern and historic hymns of thanksgiving we like to sing in our home. I will often just let it loop and play through the month of November.

Follow up these hymns by reviewing Bible stories of thankfulness.

Jesus heals the 10 lepers – Luke 17:11-19

The crossing of the Red Sea – Exodus 14-15 (contrast the Israelites grumbling, God’s miracle, and their song of praise in chapter 15)

Hannah gives birth to Samuel – 1 Samuel 1

Psalm 100

You can memorize some of these verses about Thankfulness:

  • 1 Timothy 4:4-5
  • Psalm 106:1
  • Hebrews 13:15
  • Psalm 107:21
  • Colossians 3:16
  • 1 Chronicles 16:8


Visit The Prospect’s post “How Many Miles Did the Pilgrims Travel“, where it goes into detail about how many nautical miles they traveled, how many miles per hour they were able to travel, and how many days they journeyed.

You can take the miles and reduce them down to inches or feet (1 in. = 1 mi.) and then measure out how long that distance would be in inches or feet.

Then, get in your car and drive 1 mile, so that your children are able to feel how long one mile would be.

Afterward, you can talk about how long the journey must have been for the pilgrims!

Take out a calendar to see how many days it took the pilgrims to make that journey. You can even anchor that to a holiday we celebrate or a birthday, so that your younger children can get a feel for how long 66 days must feel like.

Check out these free math worksheets by YearRound Homeschooling: K-2nd Grade Worksheets and 3-5th Grade Worksheets

Language Arts and Spelling

My kids love doing Mad Libs, and there are tons of free Thanksgiving Mad Libs that you can download and use to help exercise those parts of speech you’ve been learning.

Here is a list of places that have fun free printable Mad Libs to download:

Lapbooks are also a great way to promote writing and spelling in a creative way that will become a keepsake later on.

YearRound Homeschooling has a great collection of lapbook ideas you can use for Thanksgiving. Also, check out these writing prompts. She has more free printable Thanksgiving resources here.

Here is another fun Lapbook idea

Another great tool for spelling, is to have your children write out the Mayflower Compact, or quotes by our Founding Fathers.

You can find the Mayflower Compact on U.S. History . org here.

Find great quotes by our Founding Fathers here and more quotes here.

Download a free set of Thanksgiving Notebooking Here!


There is no shortage of great books about Thanksgiving. Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving books that we read each year, as well as some others that are on our booklist.

The Pumpkin Patch Parable – This is a story we’ve read every year for years. While not exactly about Thanksgiving, it is a beautiful fall book that illustrates the beauty of Christ’s transformation in our lives.

The Thanksgiving Story – We read this book every year. It is such a beautiful illustration of the journey the Pilgrims took from England to North America

The Light and the Glory – We’re reading the version for young readers right now as a read aloud and as a Friday Read-Together book.

This book also comes in a version for young children and older readers, as well as in an additional 2-volume set that goes deeper.

On our book list:

Upper Grade School:

Middle School/High School

Here are more Thanksgiving book ideas that range from board books through High School reading


Read this series of posts about the history of Thanksgiving written by Foundational – who also happens to be my dad – a great student of history.

Tour the Plymouth Plantation

Wallbuilders has a number of videos on the history of Thanksgiving, even debunking some of the lies we’re hearing today.

Check out some of their videos, your older children will particularly find their information helpful.

You can also visit their website for more information on Thanksgiving, as well as historic documents, and other resources.

Another idea you can do, is have your children write a play reenactment of the Thanksgiving story

They can dress up, and then on Thanksgiving day present their play to the whole family.

Science, STEM, and Cooking

Discover why leaves change in autumn – Science Made Simple

Find out why you should plant fish with your corn – David the Good

Here is where you can find out about why the Indians taught the Pilgrims to plan fish with their corn.

Thanksgiving engineering project for younger children

Pumpkin Volcano experiment also an Apple Volcano experiment

Mayflower craft and science activity


Thanksgiving Engineering: Cranberries and Toothpicks

Hot Chocolate Science experiment

Tracing the veins of a leaf

Do a Caramel Apple Bar


On Music for Music Teachers you can find piano sheets for the hymn For the Beauty of the Earth for many different levels of piano skill.

Here is a free piano sheet for a piano student who is a between beginner and intermediate – We Gather Together and one for the intermediate player

You can also use my playlist above to sing together.


There is so much you can do for art.

Coffee Filter Fall leaves

One year we made coffee filter leaves, using leaf templates, coffee filters, and markers. Using water and a paint brush, we painted over the colored coffee filters with water to make the colors run and get beautiful fall-leaf colors.

We taped them on our window.

In this video, I share another fall leaf craft I did with my kids.

Here is a Q-tip painted fall tree we did one year.

Below are links to more fun fall art ideas you can do with your kids.

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