Word search puzzles are more than just a fun and relaxing activity – they also enhance cognitive skills and build vocabulary! Enjoy this Free Thanksgiving Word Search puzzle which is an engaging and fun activity to do with your kids, family, relatives, and friends to get into the holiday spirit. But here’s the extra scoop – it’s not just about fun (although there’s plenty of that). You could also use this printable as an educational tool in the classroom to help children improve their word recognition skills. The activity is geared toward 1st – 3rd graders. Simply get your free pdf, hit print, and have fun!
Looking for Thanksgiving Turkey Math and Literacy Centers? Check out this new Thanksgiving Turkey Activities Pack that has 14 printables to pick from. Your little ones will be amazed and engaged with themed hands-on activities!
Check out our favorite kindergarten and preschool supplies with links here.
The First Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a beautiful time for people to come together for good food, better company, and some festivity before the Christmas rush. We often describe Thanksgiving as a time to be thankful and show gratitude, but it is equally important to teach kids about the history of the holiday.
Think of this activity as a cheat sheet for telling the kids about the story of Thanksgiving while incorporating a healthy dose of fun with our word search.
- The first Thanksgiving was celebrated back in 1621.
- When the pilgrims landed in 1620, they were overcome with challenges and diseases – many didn’t survive.
- However, Squanto, a Patuxet Indian, came to their rescue and taught them many survival skills like planting corn, extracting sap from maple trees, foraging for nuts and berries, and catching fish.
- Squanto also introduced them to the Wampanoag people, and they formed an alliance that lasted more than 50 years. This act of friendship and generosity allowed the Pilgrims to make it through another winter.
- The following fall, a three-day Thanksgiving feast was planned by the pilgrims in Plymouth (present-day Massachusetts).
- The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe gathered together to share their gratitude for a bountiful season. This moment of unity lead to the annual celebration we know and love.
- The Pilgrims did not have turkey, ham, pumpkin pie, apple pie gravy, yams, or much of the Thanksgiving food that we are used to, but the idea of our feast still remains true to the historical event.
Looking for more information? Here is an informative article about How to Explain Thanksgiving to Kids.
Free Printable Thanksgiving Word Search
Our Word Search is the perfect activity to teach kids about this important historical holiday. There are carefully chosen words associated with Thanksgiving included in the puzzle. As your kids search for these words, use this opportunity to share some interesting tales of the very first Thanksgiving. Combine fun, learning, family time, and national pride with this free printable.
We have 2 awesome crossword puzzles that are the perfect addition to a holiday unit or a fun way to entertain guests:
Easy Puzzle for Younger Kids
This printable Thanksgiving word search puzzle is suitable for younger kids or visual learners. I included a space for each child to write their first name, making it ideal for classroom use too! The word list comprises 9 words with pictures that double as clues next to the Thanksgiving-themed words. The puzzle is thoughtfully designed with well-spaced letters, allowing your little ones to use thicker crayons as they color in each word.
Puzzle for Older Kids and Adults
A-C-O-R-N. Can you find acorn?
The second word search is more challenging and has 20 words to find. It is an ideal Thanksgiving word search for older kids and adults as well. The word bank is at the bottom of the page, and the puzzle itself is much larger than the first option.
For added fun, ask the kids to sound out the words or even have a mini spelling test by asking them to spell the words. You can use a fine pen or thin marker to easily find, circle, or highlight the words.
Are word searches good for your brain?
Word searches are one of the more fun ways to exercise the brain! Keeping the brain active is an important part of staying healthy. Here are some benefits:
- Cognitive Stimulation: Multiple studies, such as those conducted by the University of Exeter, have shown that engaging in mentally challenging activities like puzzles can lead to improved cognitive function. Read this article that discusses The Science-Backed Benefits of Word Search for an in-depth explanation.
- Memory enhancement: For children, these puzzles can boost memory by reinforcing the recognition of letters, words, and their meanings. As they repeatedly encounter words in different books or puzzles, their brain strengthens the neural pathways associated with word recognition and recall. This improved memory can extend to other areas of learning, such as spelling, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.
- Stress reduction: This activity can be a break from stressful daily tasks and screen time. It can also improve a person’s mood as they find a word and feel a sense of accomplishment.
Get the Free Thanksgiving Word Search Printable Here
The free Thanksgiving word search printables are available in full color and black and white. The first option is a Thanksgiving word search for kids, and the second is a Thanksgiving word search for adults. These are the perfect examples of fun educational games that you can use to enhance spelling skills.
More Thanksgiving Activities you may like:
FREE Thanksgiving Color by Number Printable: 6 free printables that will help your child familiarize themselves with coloring, coordination, and more!
FREE Thanksgiving Would You Rather Game: This printable contains 100 ways to break the ice or start conversations at dinner!