What do your kids know about the first Thanksgiving?
Would you like to make the story of this incredible event more vivid for your children?
In this article, you’ll find all you need to plan a quick and easy Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt that’s both fun and educational.
Why a Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt?
When you ask most kids to tell you about the first Thanksgiving, they’ll rattle off a thing or two about the Pilgrims, turkeys and pumpkin pie. Not a bad start, but there’s so much more to the story!
Get your children excited to learn more about the first Thanksgiving. Send them on a scavenger hunt to track down fun Thanksgiving facts and tidbits!
They’ll learn more about the people who risked their lives to come to a new country. They’ll find out about the true meaning of helping your neighbors and they’ll develop a deeper thankfulness when they sit down to their own Thanksgiving meal.
To start your Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt, your children will follow a string of clues hidden inside your home.
At the end of the scavenger hunt, you can present a mini-Thanksgiving meal (a snack) and share more interesting facts about the first Thanksgiving.
To learn more, refer to the list of Thanksgiving books and websites in this article to keep you moving on your journey of Thanksgiving discovery.
#1: Print and Cut Out the Scavenger Hunt Clues
These are for your eyes only. Each clue is labeled with a number.
The first one, the Get Started clue, will lead to clue #1. That clue will lead to clue #2, which will lead to #3 and so on.
First, print the clues (PDF), cut them out and either roll them into small scrolls, or fold them.
You can also keep them flat and tape them to the hiding places that are listed in step #3.
#2: Announce the Hunt!
Get kids excited about the impending scavenger hunt. Gather your gang together and say something like this:
“Okay, guys. We’re going to have a Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt! But before we start, tell me two things you know about the first Thanksgiving.”
After your crew has answered, tell them you’re going to hide the Scavenger Hunt clues.
#3: Hide the Clues
Gather the kids in a place where they won’t be able to watch you hide the clues. Better yet, have one of the other relatives take them on a walk outside where they won’t be able to peek.
Hide your clues in the locations listed below.
Hiding Place Locations:
Clue 1: Your kitchen sink
Clue 2: Your front door
Clue 3: Your bathroom sink
Clue 4: At a table large enough for your children to crawl under
Clue 5: At or in your refrigerator
Clue 6: At a window
Clue 7: At a mirror
Clue 8: In a clothes closet
Clue 9: Under the pillow of a bed or on the bed
Clue 10: At the table or counter where you eat your meals
#4: The Hunt Begins!
Call your children out of hiding and officially kick off the hunt.
Hand one of them the Get Started clue and tell the gang, “Okay, we’re going to start the hunt.”
Ask them to read the first clue and then take turns finding and reading the clues as they go.
If your children can’t read yet, you can help.
The Get Started clue will lead them to clue #1, at the kitchen sink.
If your children seem to be struggling to figure out where the next clue is hidden, help them along by asking them leading questions.
Once they find the clue, have them read it aloud so the whole group can hear.
#5: The Hunt Ends
When your children reach and read the final clue, it’s time to celebrate.
Enjoy a Thanksgiving snack together, review the clues they found and talk about what they learned.
Use our More to Gobble Up Section to learn more about the first Thanksgiving, and keep the conversation going!
#6: More to Gobble Up!
If your children want to hunt down more Thanksgiving facts and stories, the books and websites listed below are a great place to start.
- Ages 5-8 The Thanksgiving Story Paperback by Alice Dalgliesh
- Ages 6-8 The First Thanksgiving by Linda Hayward
- Ages 7-9 Pilgrims, by Mary Pope Osborne, Natalie Pope Boyce, Sal Murdocca
- Ages 8-11 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O’Neill Grace
- Plimoth.org, a site of the Smithsonian Museum
- The First Thanksgiving, a Scholastic Site
Some Final Thoughts…
The first Thanksgiving is a gripping story of how determination in following your beliefs can lead you to do extraordinary things.
Just say the words “scavenger hunt” and you’ll be well on your way to having them learn about the first Thanksgiving.
What do you think? How do you teach your children about historical events like Thanksgiving? Let us know! We’re always looking for new ways to get our kids interested in history. Leave a comment or photo in the box below.