Teach Kids the History of Thanksgiving with a Thanksgiving Crossword

Thanksgiving crossword puzzle

Whether you’re sharing the history of Thanksgiving or teaching kids about gratitude, a Thanksgiving crossword puzzle can be a great way to help people get to know the holiday.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at how to make a Thanksgiving-themed crossword and some helpful tips. You can also browse and download free Thanksgiving crossword printables on BrightSprout.

How to Make Your Thanksgiving Crossword Puzzle

You can make a great-looking, engaging thanksgiving crossword puzzle in just a few minutes online. With My Crossword Maker, creating your own Thanksgiving puzzle is fast, easy, and fun.

All you need to do is add your words and clues to the word list, then watch as the builder magically makes a crossword before your eyes.

Tip 1: Have a Theme

The theme is the organizing subject of a crossword. It’s perfectly acceptable to create a crossword without a theme. However, for a Thanksgiving crossword, you probably want a well-defined theme.

Some example themes for Thanksgiving crosswords might include:

  • Floats in the Thanksgiving Day parade
  • Historical people and places in the first Thanksgiving
  • Common foods for Thanksgiving
  • General terms associated with Thanksgiving
  • Pilgrims and Native Americans
  • Thanksgiving Then vs. Now
  • The conflicted history of Thanksgiving (as highlighted by NPR here

A Thanksgiving crossword puzzle with a tight theme can help your kids learn schoolwork while also entertaining them.

Pro Tip:  Crosswords not your thing? You can also create a Thanksgiving word search or even Thanksgiving bingo cards to add fun to your classroom.

Example Puzzle

In the puzzle below, the creator went with a Pilgrims theme. It’s a challenging puzzle, as some children may need to look up information in a reference to complete it. This is great, as research shows that crosswords can help in the classroom

Tip 2: Create Your Word List

Once you have your theme, it’s time to start generating your word list. If you have trouble generating words, there are plenty of references available online, including:

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

All answers should be at least 3 letters long.

Tip 3: Create Appropriate Clues

Once you have your list, it’s time to write your clues. If you’re working from a resource like a book, this may help you write clues. Some general tips for clues include:

  • Keep clues at the right difficulty level. You don’t want them too easy or too hard.
  • Try not to include the answer within a clue

Puzzle Example

This “Thanksgiving History” crossword made by one clever teacher demonstrates the “Thanksgiving 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.

Create Your Own Thanksgiving Crossword

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  crossword puzzle with more information, too. Who knows? Maybe you’ll also learn something along the way. And remember, younger kids may do better with a custom word search or even custom bingo cards.

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