Thanksgiving Unit Study

~An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving~

~An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Unit Study~


Enjoy the holidays AND your family with this relaxed holiday unit study!

Stories to read aloud together, recipes to try, games to play, crafts, history, family devotional ideas, and lots more.
Homeschooling through the holidays can be stressful.
Why not let the HOLIDAY BE THE LESSON !?!

It is totally possible to keep on learning, spend time together as a family, and check off all those items on your full “to do” list this season!
*You can read more about this in my other post -> Homeschooling Through the Holidays .


*So… how do you use this unit?
If you haven’t ever done a unit study, the holidays are the PERFECT time to give one a try!
There isn’t a wrong way to work through this particular unit.
Just think of how you might naturally do these things in the course of a day-  reading, cooking, a bit of written work, playing outside, creating some lovely Thanksgiving decorations for your table, and listening to some fun music.  Those are the exact things you will find ideas for below!
I’ve done the time consuming work of finding all the ideas…all you have to do is work them into the natural rhythm of your own family.  You will be amazed at how much your children can learn this way!

Holiday binders.  We loved to create special holiday binders full of funny essays, coloring pages, lists of what everyone was thankful for, etc.  Each year, the kids added a few more pieces of work they were most proud of.  After all these years, I still have them (my youngest child is 23!!).  I bring them out every single year and display them with my holiday decorations.  It is so sweet to read the things they wrote and see their artwork.  You don’t have to do this, but it is a fun way to cherish those days of learning together.  I also have kept a binder of my own…just holiday ideas I’ve used with my family, printed out copies of our favorite Thanksgiving short stories, my Thanksgiving menus and planners (I have them going back to the 1990’s!!), a devotional or two, and even a few recipes.  It keeps everything in one neat place for easy access year after year!

What can you add to these binders?  You could print out some of the short stories as well as any of the worksheets you’d like to try that I’ve suggested in the links below. Add in drawings, recipes, photos, coloring pages, copy work pages, and anything else your child has especially been proud of!
I’ve also included a link here to the Printable Activity Pack  that I created as a companion resource for this unit study.
It is NOT required, but it is extra fun!  🙂


You can add to the fun with these Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Printables !

Thanksgiving Unit Study Printables

So here we go!


*Thanksgiving Reading Ideas:

*Main Text-
An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving
   by Louisa May Alcott
(google reader, book format)

it out  here (See Grammar Activities below for ideas!)
+Listen to “An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving” Audiobook    (FREE version!)
+Watch the Hallmark movie version of   “An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving”   online
-> or watch it on Amazon Prime- “An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving” DVD


*Other “Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving” short stories and poems-

(The following stories are all found free by clicking the links below.  They would be great for further Reading, Grammar, Narration, and/or Copy Work –  I listed ideas for this in the Grammar Activities section below.  You could use these simply by visiting the sites, or you could print them out and put them together into a Thanksgiving notebook or binder for this unit. )

* “The Silver Party  by Louisa May Alcott

* Celebrating Thanksgiving Day with Literature  .…a VERY nice collection of short stories & other writing all in one place.  Excellent resource !!

*  “We Thank Thee   by Robert Louis Stevenson,

* Thanksgiving Poetry Selections  from Ambleside Online

* “Hunting the Deceitful Turkey  by Mark Twain (read online)

* “The New England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving Day

* “Aunt Susanna’s Thanksgiving Dinner by Lucy Maud Montgomery
     Listen to the  audio book  (16 minutes)

* ”Thanksgiving Time , an essay by Laura Ingalls Wilder

* Louisa May Alcott Unit Study

*Louisa May Alcott Biography

*More Holiday Short Stories by Louisa May Alcott-

*”Effie’s Christmas Dream
(This is written as a play & I think would be great fun to act out when all the kids & cousins are gathered together! )

* “A Country Christmas

* “Tilly’s Christmas

*”A Christmas Dream, and How It Came True

*For all you book lovers like me, I’ve made a book list with even more great reading at the
end of the unit!   Be sure to scroll down and check it out!

* Thanksgiving Grammar & Writing Ideas*

*Thanksgiving Mad Libs   
(15 different stories!) from Are We There Yet?

*Fun Thanksgiving Writing Prompts with Printables
+ More Creative Writing Ideas
Thanksgiving Writing Prompts

*Thanksgiving Creative Writing and Grammar Printables

*Thanksgiving Vocabulary and other fun grammar activities

*Other Thanksgiving Grammar Ideas-

If you like free, you’ll like this idea 🙂
One of my favorite ways to teach grammar in a unit study is to simply use the text of one or more of the books we are reading together.  How?
I simply make a copy (or print out) a page or more of the book.  For this unit, there are lots of Louisa May Alcott’s short stories listed in the reading that are PERFECT for this.  Next, I choose whatever grammar skills we are working on and give my children their favorite colors of gel highlighters, and tell them to loose their inner grammar detectives.  Maybe it’s a genetic thing, but we ALL love to highlight stuff 😀

Here are some ideas to get you started
(and also that might make this more clear)

+For the Littles
 (Increase the font size before you print)-
-Highlight every other row from right to left
-Highlight a certain letter throughout the page
-Find all the letters to spell your name out
-Find sight words
-Find and match a list of words you have written on a card

+For Older Students-
-Highlight a different part of speech each day (nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, etc)
-Highlight any figurative language you can find  (similes, metaphors, personification, etc)
-Highlight subject/predicates with different colors
-Dictate a paragraph
-Copy a paragraph (paying close attention to things like capitalization, punctuation, etc)
-Highlight any words that you do not know…look them up and add them to a vocabulary page for this unit

->For anyone interested these are our –> FAVORITE gel pen highlighters.
They won’t bleed through the page, smear the ink, or get all over your hands.  Also, if you like to make notes in your Bible, these are a game changer!  SEE ?!?!  I told you we (ok…ME!) were kinda obsessed with our highlighters lol.


*Thanksgiving Bible Study Ideas:

Bible Study/Film Study/Discussion 
based on the film, “An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving”

* Giving Thanks Bible Study for kids

* A Thankful Heart     ideas for families

* Family Thanksgiving Devotional Ideas

* Here are my favorite Gratitude Builders for All Ages
   (And some ways my family gives thanks!)

thanksgiving activities for families


*History of Thanksgiving*

*The History of Thanksgiving (You Might Be Surprised About!)

* The Feast of Tabernacles
the very first Thanksgiving …  audiobook (Librivox)

*American Thanksgiving  in a nutshell  (video)

* The First Thanksgiving from Scholastic…a full history unit, including virtual field trips, lesson plans, etc… 

* The History of Thanksgiving   from

William Bradford’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

* Sarah Josephine Hale  and an American Thanksgiving from Pilgrim Hall

* Sarah Josephine Hale, and America’s Holiday
Short video from the History Channel

* Thanksgiving Proclamations by various US Presidents
George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789
Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863
John F. Kennedy’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1961
George W. Bush’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 2001 and 2008
Barack Obama’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 2013
Donald Trump’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 2019

*Thanksgiving Printables   from In All You Do…Breed-Love


–>And if you want to add in some Thanksgiving History, you can learn more about how people celebrated “An Old Fashioned” Thanksgiving  (all the way back to the Ancients!), you can check out the following post-
 History & the Holidays- Thanksgiving Throughout History .
You could also add the History of Thanksgiving Printable Notebook for  relaxed and FUN homeschooling through the holidays!

thanksgiving history, harvest, indian corn, basket, corn    ancient thanksgiving history cornucopia roman woman  



Thanksgiving Math Ideas


*Thanksgiving Math Ideas:

*Thanksgiving Dinner Math Activity

* Thanksgiving Themed Math Printables   (from Basic to Geometry)

*Thanksgiving Logic and Math Puzzles

*Thanksgiving Dinner   (online game)

* Creative Math Ideas for Thanksgiving

*Thanksgiving Math Activities (K-6)

*Turkey Touchdown  (online game)

* POPcorn Math

* Sweet Math     an idea for the littles

* Turkey Roll and Cover  (Littles)

*One of my family’s favorite non-worksheet kinds of holiday math fun-

+Thanksgiving Grocery Store Math-
Look at the coupon insert for a local grocery store.  Have your child circle the foods they think you’ll need for your thanksgiving meal. Practice different math scenarios (ex. total cost, tax, if you double that list, how much change from different bills, etc…)

+Kitchen Math-
Choose your favorite Thanksgiving recipe.   Use that recipe to practice fractions…figure out how many times you’ll need to make the recipe for the number of guests you will be inviting to dinner… practice measuring out those amounts of ingredients.  This is a super way for kids to be able to “see” fractions in action!

*You will also find lots of other “kitchen math” in the next section!


Thanksgiving Science Ideas


*Thanksgiving Science (& Math) in the Kitchen:

*An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Menu*
(Based on the meal prepared  by the Bassett Children)

*Roast Turkey with Stuffing and fresh herbs 
From  Mrs. Hale’s New Cook Book, 1857

Turkey Mini Unit   from one of my favorites, The Homeschool Scientist

* All About the Turkey

Draw a Turkey   in 5 easy steps

* Roast Chestnut Stuffing

* Roast Onions

*Hasty Pudding or Indian Pudding-
– Watch this short video first 🙂
– Modern Hasty (Indian) Pudding Recipe  (This is SO good!)

*Plum Pudding  Recipe

*Mince Meat Pie   (from 1832)

*Apple Pie 
A history of how Apple Pie fits into the Thanksgiving Feast !

* Pumpkin Pie, and other Thanksgiving Pie History

A history and some recipes

+ Popcorn math, science, grammar, and more !
+ How it’s made–  youtube video
+ Popcorn popping in slow motion…just for fun !

– Try buying a bag of whole nuts & cracking them while watching a movie one night.
–  Notice the differences and similarities between the different kinds of nuts.
–  “The Christmas Song” … Something to listen to while roasting the chestnuts

– Oranges were once considered a very special treat and still are a holiday tradition in many families today.

Old Fashioned Doughnuts recipe

*More Thanksgiving Recipes from the 1800’s-

* ‘Thanksgiving, Lincoln, and Pumpkin Pudding
a bit of Thanksgiving history and a traditional recipe

* Louisa May Alcott’s Apple Buckle Recipe~

This recipe has both a literary and cultural history. Louisa May Alcott’s favorite dessert recipe includes baking powder, which wasn’t available until after 1856, when it was introduced to the area. Also of note is that she cooked it on her own free-standing stove, considered a new-fangled invention at the time.

3 c peeled and sliced apples
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp lemon juice

For the topping:
1 c flour
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
dash of cinnamon and nutmeg (¼ tsp total)
1 beaten egg
4 tbsp butter

Combine the apples, spices, maple syrup, and lemon juice in an 8 x 8 baking pan. Sift the dry ingredients together, and then add the egg, stirring until the mixture is crumbly. Spoon this over the apples and dot with the butter. Bake at 350º for 30–40 minutes. Serve warm.
Blueberry, Peach or Pear Buckle can be made by substituting other fruits for the apples.
Serves 6–8

*If you’re feeling frazzled and want some pretty printables to organize your Thanksgiving holiday, I made some for you (and me!).
You can find them in the Book Store,  or by clicking the image below-



*Thanksgiving Art Appreciation-

*Norman Rockwell-
+ Freedom from Want    (also, The Four Freedoms collection)
+ Home for Thanksgiving
+Thanksgiving Day Blues
Classic Covers:  Thanksgiving
   (Saturday Evening Post)

*A really nice Art Appreciation Lesson with Norman Rockwell for many ages
from Harrington Harmonies
Art Appreciation Lesson-  Norman Rockwell   from Garden of Praise… scroll down to the very bottom for printable coloring pages, crossword puzzles, etc…    LOVE this resource !!!

*Other Art Ideas-

Thanksgiving Art Appreciation Unit 
 (Wide selection of artists)

*8 Thanksgiving Paintings To Enjoy  (and Study!)
 10 Thanksgiving Themed Art Words
-> How To Study a Piece of Art  
(from my favorite Kitchen Table Classroom!  Includes FREE Printables!)

*How to Draw a Pumpkin

*Pumpkin Paper Craft

*Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Decorations:

The Bassett children worked hard to make their Thanksgiving table special!
Try some of these Old Fashioned Thanksgiving decorations ideas.

*Orange Pomanders
Or try making a different type of  pomanders

*Old fashioned Hand Dipped Candles

– Make Popcorn Garlands

*Old Fashioned Sugared Fruit

* Popcorn Candles

* Decorate
with the outdoors!
PineconesAcorns,  Fruits, and whatever you’d like to bring in from your adventures outdoors !

*Turkey Tail Napkin Rings 

*Jive Turkey Centerpiece   (I really love this one!)

*Origami Turkeys  (would be cute place card holders!)

*Thanksgiving Spice Turkeys  
(The Bassett girls weren’t quite sure about which spices to use.  This activity could really be fun-  maybe play a guessing game with the spices before you make your turkeys!)

Thanksgiving Games for Kids

*Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Fun and Games:

*Nine Men’s Morris  as the Basset children played in the story
(printable with instructions)

*Blind Man’s Bluff  and a few other fun colonial kids games

* Old Fashioned Games to play for Thanksgiving or anyday!

*The Game of Graces and other Early America Children’s Games

*Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt

*20 Thanksgiving Games for the Whole Family

*12 Hilarious Thanksgiving Games

*Games for your holiday car trip!
Are you traveling for Thanksgiving this year?  
Don’t stress!  A car trip can be extra time for Thanksgiving Family Fun!!  I have the PERFECT  list of super easy games and fun ideas for kids of ALL  AGES…and NO PREP!
And actually these are really fun car trip ideas for any time of the year!

grumpy toddler in carseat car games for kids

*Old Fashioned Holiday Music:

* Money Musk  as Eph played on his fiddle

*Over the River and Through the Woods  (song history and simple activities for all ages)
–> Or try these in the ‘Over the River and Through the Woods’ Music Unit

–>More history of Over the River song

* Turkey In the Straw

*Polly Put the Kettle On“,  “Cotton Eyed Joe   for some fiddle fun !  🙂

*Thanksgiving Hymns

* Jingle Bells   –  A Thanksgiving tune ???

*Thanksgiving Hymn Unit Study

Thanksgiving Traditions for Families

*Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Traditions:

*  A Child’s Thanksgiving Traditions
from Pilgrim Hall Museum

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
(ok…not so “old-fashioned”, but traditional!  🙂  )

*  Ideas for starting your own traditions-

 Giving Thanks Thanksgiving Family Traditions  
+  Fun Family Activities
(nice ideas to get outside too!  from Parenting Magazine)

* A Very Homeschool Thanksgiving
(I added this just for fun.  Here’s the story of one VERY memorable Thanksgiving at our house… a very Homeschool kind of Thanksgiving!  We STILL re-tell this story every year at the table, and it has in itself become one of our favorite traditions)

*Thanksgiving Activities Just For Fun:

*Fun Printables   

from Enchanted Learning…  Mini-Books, Crossword Puzzles, Coloring Pages, etc.

* Coloring Pages
from Doodle Art Alley (including a super cute turkey)

*Hidden Pictures Coloring Pages  
(including Thanksgiving and Christmas)

*Pilgrim Thanksgiving Coloring Book   (printable)

*Fields of Daisies Fall Coloring Pages for All Ages


*Favorite Books & Movies
for An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Unit Study –


**The resources below are direct links to Amazon.  At NO extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission from any sales made through them.  Thanks for supporting Fields of Daisies!

*Louisa May Alcott Books/Movies-

*An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving (book)  &  DVD
*Louisa May Alcott  (Childhood of Famous Americans)
*Little Women
*Little Men   (This is my favorite !!  Your kids will LOVE it !!)
*Jo’s Boys
*A Merry Christmas & Other Christmas Stories  (Louisa May Alcott)
*Aunt Jo’s Scrapbag
*Eight Cousins

*Thanksgiving Reading and Grammar-

*Thanksgiving Mad Libs
*Thank You, Sarah
*Thanksgiving on Thursday  and  Pilgrims   (non-fiction companion- Magic Tree House)
*Thanksgiving Thief   (Nancy Drew)
*What Was the First Thanksgiving ?

*Thanksgiving Books for the Littles-
*Over the River and Through the Wood
*Sharing the Bread: An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Story
*Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie
*The Berenstain Bears Thanksgiving Blessings
*Sweet Potato Pie
*Cranberry Thanksgiving
*The Night Before Thanksgiving
*Give Thanks to the Lord

*Thanksgiving Books for the Bigs-
*Sarah Gives Thanks
*Sweet Potato Pie  (not the same as the one listed above)
*Louisa May Alcott- Childhood of Famous Americans
*Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing
*Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving
*Thanksgiving:  A Time to Remember   (This book is for the entire family to enjoy!)
*Little House in the Big Woods

*Thanksgiving Art Study-

*Who Was Norman Rockwell ?
*Norman Rockwell:  Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists
*The Saturday Evening Post  (Spot the Differences)
*Norman Rockwell Puzzle   (Great idea for a Thanksgiving Day family activity !)

*Thanksgiving Gratitude Ideas-

*Giving Thanks
(A Holiday Guest Book to fill out-  I have similar notebooks from years of Thanksgivings !  This is so much prettier !)
*Gratitude Journal
*The Thanksgiving Ceremony

*Thanksgiving Science & Math Ideas-

*Cool Thanksgiving Dinner   (Cookbook for Kids-  Beyond the Basics)
*The Little House Cookbook

*Thanksgiving Miscellaneous-

*Little Women
*Little House on the Prairie (Season 1- Includes holiday episodes)
*A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving   (DVD)

*The Story of the Pilgrims    (Dover Coloring Book)


Thanksgiving Gratitude for Kids


thanksgiving turkey pilgrim child apple pumpkin vintage postcard   Thanksgiving turkey pumpkin children old fashioned


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