Featured, History, Holiday

First Thanksgiving Lessons for Kids of All Ages

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday as we focus on friends, family and food.

While most of us are familiar with the first Thanksgiving story, some online lessons can really take you into the time period, people and places of the first Thanksgiving.

If you are look for something a little different this year, consider these options.

Scholastic The First Thanksgiving Virtual Field Trip


Scholastic’s First Thanksgiving Virtual Field Trip is an excellent resource for K-8. Watch videos from the real life Mayflower, Plimouth Plantation and Wampanoag Homesite. The videos are about 15-20 minutes long each.

There are also historical letters you can read or listen to.  Explore customs and artifacts and compare with today.

Tour the Mayflower and explore the voyage of the Pilgrims.


Plimouth Plantation



The site of history itself – Plimouth Plantation– offers a variety of educational experiences on their website. The interactive Thanksgiving adventure lets you be a history detective to investigate what really happened in 1621 at the first Thanksgiving.

You will read a letter written by an eyewitness to the event, learn about Wampanoag traditions of giving thanks, and visit Pilgrim Mary Allerton’s home.

Another option is an interactive recreation of the journey of the Mayflower II. The ship, which set out from Brixton, England more than 50 years ago, recreates the journey of the pilgrims.

Guided by the 1957 ships’ log, the site recreated the sailors’ historic voyage using anecdotes and artifacts, as well as vintage and contemporary video clips, to illustrate the unique endeavor of the very special crew of Mayflower II.

William Bradford: The Pen & The Person

Designed for high school, this unit from Pilgrim Hall Museum uses primary documents from the writings of William Bradford to explore journals, poetry and “Plain Style” writing used by the Pilgrims.


The Great Thanksgiving Listen

This link isn’t about the first Thanksgiving, but it is a great idea for older students as they celebrate the holiday. StoryCorps sponsors this annual event–The Great Thanksgiving Listen— to encourage students to use their app to record the  history of their elders through this national oral history project.

There are lots of great tips in this teacher’s toolbox including ideas for questions and how to interview.

Interviews become part of the StoryCorps Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Since 2015, more than 100,000 stories have been preserved.


Thanksgiving is a perfect time to remember the history of our nation and of those we love. Enjoy these lessons to enhance your holiday.

Looking for more Thanksgiving ideas? Check out 6 favorite living books for Thanksgiving.


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Turkey First Thanksgiving Lessons


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