Use these Thanksgiving Bible lessons with printable thanksgiving crafts for Sunday School this year as an easy yet impactful activity for your students!
If you’re like me, you might have waited just a little too late to plan your Thanksgiving Sunday School lesson. And now you’re scouring the internet, looking for something that won’t require a million last-minute supplies.
I get it! It’s hard to keep all those ducks in a row.
For so many years now, the holidays seem to sneak up on me – particularly Thanksgiving – for whatever reason.
With these lessons and Thanksgiving activities, I hope to be more prepared and proactive this year.
Inspiring Gratitude with Scripture-Centered Thanksgiving Bible Lessons
Honestly, Thanksgiving is a holiday I should pay more attention to, and I hope to be more intentional about in my Sunday School classes and at home this year.
We have so much to be thankful for, regardless of what’s going on in the world. But gratitude must be cultivated.
As Christians, we have God’s very spirit dwelling within us, to sustain us each and every day!
Our kids need to learn these truths and hold on to them, just as much as we do.
3 Thanksgiving Bible Lessons + Crafts and activities
Below are three simple Thanksgiving Sunday School lessons.
Included are a few corresponding activities within the lessons, and a free printable craft that you can use to reinforce the lesson.
I tried to keep these as simple as possible, with as few materials as possible. Mainly because I tend to find that simple and easy-to-complete is better than complicated-and-half-finished. 😉
The craft follows each lesson in a separate set of instructions. The printable activities and templates are linked in each set of instructions.
Take a look at the description for each craft to decide which one will best fit your students’ age group.
The first one is best suited for preschool/kindergarten; Lesson #2 is for kids a little older (tween ages), and Lesson #3 was written with teens in mind.
- Youtube song, "Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving"
- Open in prayer.
- Play the song, "I Will Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving". Learn the song together, if time allows.
- Read Psalm 100 together (it's a short 5 verses). Let students volunteer to read if they're able.
- Ask: What do you picture in your mind when we read verse 4 that says, "Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise? Give students time to answer.
- Say: When this was written in the Old Testament times, people would come through a gate, then through a courtyard (outdoor area), to bring sacrifices to God for their sins, and to worship Him.
- Ask: Today, do we still have to bring sacrifices to the temple? (No)
- Ask: Does anyone know who died as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of ALL who would believe?
- Say: That's right, Jesus! Today, where do we worship? (At church we worship together with others, and we can also worship privately anytime, anywhere!)
- Ask: Thanksgiving is a special time where we remember all that we're thankful to God for. What are some things you're thankful for? (Write answers on a board if you have one.)
- Say: Let's remember that we can worship God anytime and anywhere, and that being thankful for the sacrifice of his son, Jesus, is an act of worship in our hearts. He is our biggest reason to be thankful every day of the year!
- Today we're going to memorize what the Bible says about giving thanks to Him. And since we tend to celebrate with special foods this time of year, we're going to use pumpkins to help remind us to thank God and to praise him in church, and everywhere we go.
- Follow instructions for the printable Enter His Gates -Thanksgiving craft in the following section.
- Colored Pencils
- Glue or glue sticks
- Color printer
- Print the craft templates here (3 pages).
- Color pumpkins. We used colored pencils to make the Bible verse still visible. (My kids' favorite are these!).
- Cut out pumpkins individually
- Paste pumpkins into "pumpkin patch" in the correct order (on top of numbers 1 through 5).
- Cut out gate in 2 pieces; add glue or paste along the back of gate posts and center over the pumpkin patch, just below the trees. Fold to crease and allow gate to open and close.
Optional: Instead of glue, you could use magnets to attach the pumpkins to their spots; children can then mix and match as many times as they want and put them back in the correct order to make the verse complete.
- "Thanks-No Thanks" printable activity
- Open in prayer.
- Pass out printable worksheet, "Thanks, No Thanks" to students. Work through together or give students a few minutes to answer on their own first.
- Ask: What were some of the obvious things that people might be thankful for on this list?
- Ask: What was the craziest thing on this list that someone could be thankful for?
- Say: During this time of year, we think about all the things we're thankful for, and these are usually positive things like: family, health, food... and hopefully Jesus tops the list, right?
- Say: The apostle Paul in the Bible went through some pretty hard things in his life. He was shipwrecked, stoned, beaten, flogged, imprisoned and more.
- Say: For someone who had every reason NOT to be thankful for his circumstances, he had a different point of view than we might imagine.
- READ (or ask student to read): 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
- Ask: Now, knowing how Paul suffered, does that surprise you that he would instruct other Christians to "give thanks in ALL circumstances"?
- Ask: When he says to "give thanks", what do you think that means? (Allow students to respond; then point out that it doesn't mean we're thankful FOR the circumstances, but we can give thanks to God who comforts us, provides for us and can help us grow closer to him through difficult times.)
- Ask: How do you think it was possible for Paul to have this "attitude of gratitude"? (Allow responses.)
- READ (or student): Phillipians 4:11-13.
- Say: Being content goes hand-in-hand with being thankful. When we learn to trust God in ALL things- the good, bad and the ugly - we can have a new perspective that allows us to let go of trying to control everything, and be more content. God's presence (the Holy Spirit) living in us gives us a real reason to be thankful.
- Follow instructions in the next section for the "Give Thanks" craft idea.
- Cardstock or copy paper
- Coloring pencils, crayons or markers
- Washi tape or colorful duct tape
- Twine, string, or ribbon
- Hole punch
- Print the "Give Thanks" template with cardstock or copy paper (cardstock works best).
- Color with colored pencils, crayons or markers.
- Use washi tape or duct tape to create a "frame" for the picture by tucking half the width behind the edges of the picture.
- Punch holes near the top 2 corners. Run a piece of twine, ribbon, or any kind of thick string through the holes and tie a knot at each end to secure.
- "A picture of the Christian Life" printable
- Open in prayer.
- Ask students about their Thanksgiving plans and what they're looking the most forward to.
- Say: Today we're going to talk about not just being thankful- but what it means to "overflow with thankfulness." It's part of the Christian life that Paul tells us about in Colossians 2:6-7.
- Read or ask student to read Colossians 2:6-7.
- Hand out "Picture of the Christian life" visual aid.
- Discuss how we could think of the Christian life as symbolic of how a tree grows. When we accept Christ, we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), but it doesn't stop there! Paul is reminding the church in these verses that we also need to grow by choosing to live for him and we have to remain rooted IN Him (know the Bible and recognize His voice). He then tells us to be "strengthened in the faith as you were taught".
- Ask: How can we be strengthened in the faith? (Answers: joining other Believers in church to worship together, being discipled by other believers and receive encouragement from them; reading our Bibles, sharing the Gospel.)
- Say: Last, Paul says that while we're doing these things, we should be "overflowing with thankfulness."
- Ask: Why do you think that part is so important? (Because the Christian life is not just about being saved, it's about recognizing the grace of salvation, the price Jesus paid-- and for our faith to be EVIDENT to others, so they will want to be Christians, too!)
- Say: When we look at this picture, we can also remember that after we become a Christian, we might be in different stages of growth at different times of our lives. Sometimes we'll have more spiritual fruit than others. Sometimes our faith wavers (maybe groundhogs eating at the roots?? 😉 ) God doesn't expect perfection of us, but the good news is we can start where we are TODAY and ask the Holy Spirit to help us grow and be obedient to Him. When we do, we will produce that fruit of Thankfulness that is so obvious, everyone will know who we belong to!
- Say: Keep this picture in your Bible, and let's remember what it means to live for Jesus, and to show gratitude for who He is to us.
- Gel pens (or colored pencils, thin-line markers, thin Sharpies) in fall colors
- Jute string or ribbon
- Hole punch
I hope having these options will make planning your Bible lessons on Thanksgiving just a little easier this year.
Of course, the crafts are optional and you can always mix and match to fit your particular age ranges and circumstances. You know your kiddos best!
P.S., if you are in need of a new printer, we bought this one a year and a half ago, and it’s still going strong for projects like these!
The HP Instant Ink program also saves us a ton of money– check it out! 🙂