Thanksgiving word games are an exciting way to kick off the holiday season. As you creep towards the highly-anticipated Thursday break, students are bound to feel the joy in the air and become more than a little restless. A list of vocabulary words for Thanksgiving will help you brainstorm different activities for your students. With a list in hand, you can create the perfect game of Hangman, Word Finder, or Scrabble.
Let's explore a few different word games that'll keep everyone on their toes and in the holiday spirit. Here are a few options for varying grade levels.
A good ol' fashioned word finder, also known as a word scramble, is the perfect way to settle students down and get their hearts and minds in the Thanksgiving spirit. Basically, students are given a jumbled up set of letters and must rearrange them to form an actual word. For example, they'd have to unscramble "uertyk" to "turkey."
Moms and Munchkins created a colorful scramble that you can simply print out and place on each student's desk as their first activity of the morning.
Another idea is a vocabulary-based bingo game. Normally, a bingo card has numbers on it with one or two free squares. Instead of using numbers, you could use vocabulary words. As the teacher, you would be the bingo conductor, calling out a letter (B-I-N-G-O) and an image on the bingo card.
For example, a normal game of bingo would have an announcer calling out a letter and a number, like "B-42." For these purposes, you'd call out something like "B-turkey leg!" or "I-apple pie!"
The Typical Mom has created three different Thanksgiving bingo sheets you can prepare for your students (and even an additional scramble in case you have any word searchers who finish well before their classmates).
If the idea of vocabulary bingo seems like a lot to tackle, then you can try something a bit easier and more expressive. This is an idea for students with a love for creative writing. Prior to your students' arrival in class one morning, you can write an array of vocabulary words on the chalkboard. Above the vocabulary words, write the title "Story Starters."
When your students arrive, you can let them know that they have to start a story with a few of the vocabulary words listed on the board. Make up your own rules and regulations that'll govern the story.
For example, have your students use at least three of the words in the first two sentences. If you don't want to go through all that set up, use this free printable to get the story started:
This is an interactive game that'll allow your students to move around a little, which is great for the younger set. Ask them to stand in a circle facing one another. One student, the turkey, should stand in the middle. The game starts when the turkey "trots" over to any student at random. They'll then say to the other student:
I'm the turkey on the table and I have apples on the table. What do you bring to the table?
The other student has to think of another Thanksgiving-related vocabulary word that begins with the next letter of the alphabet. If they can't think of one, they become the turkey. When students become stumped, offer a word suggestion or two for the next time that letter comes up.
This game builds vocabulary skills and can be a great break from desk work. It gets kids moving around, laughing, and working together. Make sure you stay on theme, and the students will learn a few new words. As a backup for anyone who struggles, you can sprinkle a few Thanksgiving vocabulary words on the board as a quick reference guide.
Another thought is to make a worksheet with two columns. One column contains a list of the words, and the other column lists a Thanksgiving item that the word can be associated with. For example, if "apple pie" was the Thanksgiving vocabulary word, then "table" could be the Thanksgiving item, and so on.
Additional worksheet ideas can be found on these websites:
ABC Teach - This site has a wide variety of Thanksgiving-based worksheets and word games, including word search puzzles and a crossword puzzle, as well as a variety of worksheets on subjects such as Thanksgiving food groups and Thanksgiving nouns.
Enchanted Learning - This site specializes in worksheets for students in kindergarten through third grade. In addition to worksheets, Enchanted Learning provides early reader books that can be customized, printable activity books, and Thanksgiving word games.
AllKidsNetwork - Here, you'll find a wide variety of free, printable worksheets available in PDF format for easy printing. Thanksgiving-themed worksheets are also included for older students, including missing word puzzles and word scramble worksheets.
Thanksgiving vocabulary words and activities are an excellent addition to your lesson plans. Even as teachers or parents, it's fun to step into the holiday spirit and shake off a little bit of the seriousness that comes with everyday lesson planning. Once you survive the week leading up to Thanksgiving, get ready to start prepping for the next holiday break.