8 Fun Thanksgiving Activities For High School Students

As the leaves turn golden and the crisp autumn air sets in, it can only mean one thing – Thanksgiving is just around the corner! While most people associate this holiday with turkey dinners and family reunions, high school students can make the most of this occasion by engaging in some thoughtful and quirky activities. From expressing gratitude in unique ways to indulging in festive crafts, there are plenty of creative ways to celebrate Thanksgiving that are both fun and meaningful. 

So, if you’re looking to make this holiday season extra special, grab your friends and get ready to explore these exciting Thanksgiving activities for high school students! These activities not only provide an opportunity for students to learn about the history and meaning of Thanksgiving but also allow them to express their creativity, practice communication, and collaboration skills, and give back to their community. 

Hence, these also act as history games, creativity, and communication activities. So, let’s grab a slice of pumpkin pie and give thanks for all the wonderful opportunities and blessings that come our way!

Giving thanks and making memories: Fun thanksgiving activities for high school students

1. Turkey Trot Fun Run

Turkey Trot Fun Run

Ready, set, gobble! Get your running shoes on and join us for a feather-filled, turkey-tastic fun run. You’ll have a blast running alongside your classmates and the community while supporting a local charity.

To organize a “Turkey Trot” fun run, high school students can form a planning committee to decide on the logistics of the event. This includes the date, time, location, and route of the race. They can also create flyers and posters to promote the event and use social media to spread the word. To raise funds for a local charity, they can design and sell turkey-themed t-shirts and merchandise.

On the day of the event, they should set up a registration table and distribute race bibs and other materials to participants. They should also arrange for water stations and first aid stations along the race route. After the race, they can organize an awards ceremony and provide refreshments for the participants.

2. Cultural Potluck

Cultural Potluck

Let’s spice up this year’s Thanksgiving feast! We invite you to bring a dish that reflects your unique cultural background to our potluck. You’ll get to taste new flavors and learn about each other’s family traditions and customs.

High school students can organize a Thanksgiving potluck by forming a planning committee to decide on the theme, date, time, and location of the event. They should encourage each student to bring a dish that represents their cultural background and share stories about their family traditions and customs.

They can create a sign-up sheet to ensure a variety of dishes and prevent duplicates. They can also decorate the space with cultural artifacts and symbols. To make the event more interactive, they can prepare a game or activity that highlights the diversity of cultures represented.

3. Gratitude Graffiti Wall

Gratitude Graffiti Wall

 Let’s spread some love and gratitude throughout our school. Join us in creating a colorful graffiti wall where you can share what you’re thankful for with the whole school. Get ready to unleash your creativity and express your gratitude in a fun and artistic way.

High school students can create a gratitude graffiti wall by selecting a prominent space in the school hallway or common area. They should provide colorful markers, chalk, and Post-it notes for students to write down what they’re thankful for. They can also provide prompts or questions to inspire creativity and reflection.

To make the wall more visually appealing, they can add Thanksgiving-themed decorations and illustrations. They can also take photos of the wall and share them on social media to spread the message of gratitude. One can also indulge in these activities during Christmas, to make the holiday season worth remembering. 

4. Mock Trial

Mock Trial

The court is in session! We’re putting the Pilgrims and Native Americans on trial, and you get to be the judge and jury. Prepare to debate the true meaning and significance of Thanksgiving while learning about historical figures and events.

High school students can organize a mock trial by selecting a historical figure or event related to Thanksgiving, such as the Pilgrims and Native Americans. They should assign roles to the participants, such as lawyers, judges, witnesses, and jurors.

They can research and prepare arguments and evidence to support their positions and practice their presentation skills. They can also create a script or outline to guide the trial. To make the trial more engaging, they can encourage audience participation and debate the true meaning and significance of Thanksgiving.

5. Giving Thanks or Giving Up? A Thanksgiving Debate

Giving Thanks or Giving Up? A Thanksgiving Debate

The Great Thanksgiving Debate is about to begin! In one corner, we have those who argue that Thanksgiving is a beloved tradition that brings families and friends together to give thanks and enjoy a delicious feast. In the other corner, we have those who question whether Thanksgiving is a holiday worth celebrating, given its complicated history and association with the mistreatment of Native Americans. Which side will come out on top? 

It’s up to you and your classmates to research, prepare arguments and engage in a lively debate. Get ready to sharpen your critical thinking, research, and public speaking skills as you engage in this thought-provoking and engaging activity. In this activity, students will be divided into teams and hold a debate on the topic of Thanksgiving. Divide the class into teams and assign each team a position on the topic. One team will argue in favor of celebrating Thanksgiving, while the other will argue against it. Instruct each team to research and prepare arguments to support their position. 

Encourage them to use credible sources and statistics to support their claims. Hold a debate where each team presents their arguments and responds to the opposing team’s points. Encourage respectful and constructive dialogue. After the debate, have students reflect on what they learned and discuss how they can apply these critical thinking and communication skills in other areas of their lives. This type of activities can also be used as improving communication activities as well as cultural diversity activities where they get a chance to speak about their own culture and learn about other traditions and celebrations around the world.

6. Grateful Voices

Grateful Voices

Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and gratitude, and what better way to showcase this spirit than by capturing it on film? In this activity, students will work together to create a video project that showcases the thankful thoughts and feelings of their community members. By practicing their communication and collaboration skills, students will not only gain technical skills in video production but also strengthen their empathy and appreciation for others.

To start, introduce the project by explaining the power of gratitude and how it can positively impact our lives. Then, divide the class into small groups and assign each group a location in the community to visit and interview people about what they are thankful for. Students can use smartphones or video cameras to record the interviews and then compile them into a final video project. After the videos are complete, hold a screening in the classroom or school-wide assembly for others to see and appreciate the thankful voices from the community.

7. Expressive Harvest

Expressive Harvest

Art is a powerful medium for self-expression and creativity, and this activity encourages students to channel their inner artists and create Thanksgiving-themed artwork. Whether it’s a painting, sculpture, or mixed media piece, students will have the opportunity to showcase their talents and express their gratitude through their artwork. By displaying their work in the classroom or at a school-wide Thanksgiving celebration, students will also have the chance to showcase their creations and share their artistic process with others.

 To begin, show examples of different types of Thanksgiving-themed artwork and explain how art can help us express our emotions and ideas. Provide a variety of art materials such as paint, markers, colored pencils, or clay, and let students create their own unique artwork. Encourage students to think about what they are thankful for and incorporate those ideas into their artwork. Once completed, have a classroom or school-wide exhibition of the art pieces, where students can showcase their creativity and reflect on what they are grateful for.

8. Turkey Trivia

Turkey Trivia

Get your students in the holiday spirit by creating a fun and interactive Thanksgiving trivia game. This game can test their knowledge of Thanksgiving history, traditions, and culture. It can also serve as a great way to break up the monotony of regular class activities and encourage friendly competition among students.

With questions ranging from easy to challenging, this activity can be tailored to the specific interests and abilities of your class. So get ready to learn some new fun facts about Thanksgiving while enjoying some friendly competition with your classmates.

Start by creating a set of Thanksgiving-themed trivia questions related to the history of the holiday, popular traditions, and fun facts. Divide the class into small groups and have them compete in a trivia game, where they answer questions and earn points for correct answers.

To make the game more interactive, use a buzzer system or have students write down their answers on a whiteboard. The group with the most points at the end of the game can win a prize or recognition. This activity can help students learn about the history and significance of Thanksgiving while having fun and promoting teamwork.


Thanksgiving is a time for family, gratitude, and reflection, but it can also be an opportunity for high school students to engage in fun and meaningful activities. Some ideas for Thanksgiving activities for high school students include volunteering at a local food bank or shelter, organizing a food drive at school, participating in a turkey trot or other Thanksgiving-themed race, creating and sharing gratitude journals or thank-you letters with friends and family, and hosting a Friendsgiving celebration with classmates.

These activities can help students develop a greater sense of empathy, foster community engagement, and promote a positive attitude of gratitude. Overall, Thanksgiving provides a great opportunity for high school students to reflect on what they are thankful for and to give back to their communities in meaningful ways.

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