Thanksgiving Traditions to Teach Children

These fun facts also make for great pre-dinner trivia Thanksgiving games for adults! Read on for a bit of history and fun facts.


The modern-day Thanksgiving has come a long way from that very first meal shared by the Pilgrims and Indians. The long history provides plenty of material for teachers looking to teach students about the holiday in an engaging way. Here's a few fun facts to share.

10 Thanksgiving Fun Facts

We rounded up 10 of the quirkiest facts about America's beloved holiday, Thanksgiving.

1. Only male turkeys (Toms) gobble. It is a mating call to attract the females (hens)

2. Turducken has become a modern-day staple at many Thanksgiving meals. It consists of a de-boned turkey stuffed with a de-boned duck, which has been stuffed with a small de-boned chicken.

3. Benjamin Franklin gave male turkeys the name "Tom" in honor of Thomas Jefferson, who refused to declare the turkey as the national bird.

4. According to The Guinness Book of Records, the largest dressed turkey weighed 86 pounds. It was recorded in 1989 in London, England at the "heaviest turkey" competition.

5. Sarah Josepha Hale, who was the first female editor of a magazine, petitioned for nearly 40 years before Abraham Lincoln agreed to make Thanksgiving a national holiday.

6. There are approximately 3000 calories in the average American's Thanksgiving Day meal.

7. In 1947, Felix the Cat was the first balloon to make its debut in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

8. A turkey's egg is the size of two chicken eggs.

9. Seafood such as cod, eel and lobster were most likely also served at the first Thanksgiving meal.

10. Also according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds and measured just over 12 feet long!

10 Thanksgiving Trivia Questions

How well do you and your students/dinner guests know the story of Thanksgiving?

Q. In what year was the first Thanksgiving held?
A. 1621.

Q. The Plymouth Colonists ate with members of which American Indian tribe?
A. Wampanoag.

Q. Was turkey on the first Thanksgiving meal menu?
A. Venison and wild fowl are the only two food items documented to have been eaten. Wild fowl could have referred to wild turkey or duck or goose.

Q. How long did the first Thanksgiving celebration last?
A. Three days.

Q. Who wrote the only known documentation of the first Thanksgiving meal?
A. Colonist Edward Winslow. It was a letter written to friends in England.

Q. Which Indian Chief helped the Pilgrims survive their first winter?
A. Massasoit.

Q. When was Thanksgiving officially declared a holiday?
A. In 1863, by Abraham Lincoln.

Q. Which president was the first to officially pardon a turkey on Thanksgiving?
A. Harry S. Truman.

Q. When was the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade held?
A. 1924.

Q. Which famous movie opens with a scene about Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?
A. Miracle on 34th Street.

Popular Thanksgiving Movies to Watch

For a little extra fun (and more trivia material), check out these popular movies that capture the spirit of Thanksgiving Day.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (John Candy and Steve Martin)

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (animated)

Scent of a Woman (Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell)

Home for the Holidays (Clare Danes, Holly Hunter)

Garfield's Thanksgiving (animated)

Find more party planning inspirations for Thanksgiving
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