Teach Kids the History of Thanksgiving with a Thanksgiving Crossword

Thanksgiving crossword puzzle

If you’re a teacher with a lesson plan for the history of Thanksgiving, go ahead and make your crossword puzzle now. If you’re a parent or loved one who wants to help teach kids about the history of Thanksgiving, there are great ways to go about it that’ll help you and your child learn a lot along the way. Make your Thanksgiving crossword puzzle by using a resource like the ones below, and see how others have made Thanksgiving crossword puzzles about the history of Thanksgiving.


Choosing Resources for Your Thanksgiving Crossword

For those of you looking to make a standard Thanksgiving crossword with modern words about food served and floats in the Thanksgiving parade, you won’t need to look up much. However, to construct a historically accurate Thanksgiving crossword, you’ll want to make sure you draw your information from well-researched and age-appropriate resources.

Your kids may have received information about the history of Thanksgiving in school. This information would make a perfect resource for constructing a Thanksgiving crossword puzzle; it’ll help your kids with their schoolwork while also entertaining them. Particularly young children may enjoy a  word search instead. Otherwise, consider the resources below. While Thanksgiving crosswords like this one about the Pilgrims are great, they may be difficult for kids to answer without a reference.

Kids will also have more fun learning about the history of Thanksgiving with a multifaceted approach. [Link to “Teaching with Crossword Research” post when ready] Resources your kids might enjoy include:

Or you can work from a big compilation of resources like this one. Of course, you can make a Thanksgiving crossword without choosing a resource beforehand, but as you’ll see, it may help your construction.


Constructing Thanksgiving Crossword Puzzles

Choosing a resource for your history of Thanksgiving crossword will do most of the construction legwork for you. Once you have a source, you’ll already have a list of words and clues to go along with those words.

If you want to construct your puzzle with a particular perspective in history, for example, a resource will help. Some recommended perspectives for your Thanksgiving crossword include:

  • The Pilgrims
  • Native Americans
  • Thanksgiving Then vs. Now (a timeline would go well with this)
  • The conflicted history of Thanksgiving (as highlighted by NPR here)

This “Thanksgiving History” crossword made by one clever teacher demonstrates the “Then vs. Now” perspective. It mixes elements from the first Thanksgiving with elements over the years.

The Scholastic teacher’s guide to the first Thanksgiving also provides a great example. Say you wanted to create a historically accurate Thanksgiving crossword about the feast. You could click on the “Feast” slideshow, then pull clues from each slide. The first clue might be, “Ten months after their arrival, the Pilgrims had built ___ houses.” The answer then would be “seven”. You could paraphrase or mix up the clues a bit more to heighten the difficulty.

You could also mix and match historical elements with more commonplace ones, such as this crossword with historical clues mixed with straightforward modern ones.


Learning about the history of Thanksgiving is one of the first history lessons kids receive. Adding a Thanksgiving crossword puzzle will make it a fun memory that will stay with them forever. Each year as your kids get older you can make a new one with more information, too. Who knows? Maybe you’ll also learn something along the way. And remember, younger kids may do better with a word search, which you can also make here.

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