Thanksgiving Lessons for Your Sunday School Class

For us, Thanksgiving may be a holiday celebration or a day of giving praise and thanks. When you look at the Bible, it shows how God’s followers showed their gratitude for all the blessings they received from Him. It teaches us to be grateful regardless of the circumstances — to turn to God and pray.

As Thanksgiving is just right around the corner, it’s best to introduce to our children the Christian way of giving thanks. So, here are various Thanksgiving lessons for your Sunday school activities, which different age groups will definitely learn a thing or two from. 

There are various ways to make your Sunday School fun, yet meaningful. Certainly, the kids will gain new insight and realization after these activities. We’ve listed Thanksgiving lessons for Sunday school appropriate for different age groups, whether your kid is in preschool, elementary, or middle school.

Make sure to check out our article on Thanksgiving crafts to incorporate them in these lessons, too!

For Preschool Kids

Let’s introduce Thanksgiving to our kids as early as we can! Have Sunday school Thanksgiving lessons that show the essence of the holiday as written in the Bible. At the same time, they will learn to give thanks for the life the Lord has bestowed upon them.

The Essence of Thanksgiving

For this lesson, talk about the story of the 10 Lepers. In the story, Jesus healed these men, yet only one gave Him thanks. You may start the activity by giving some treats or knick-knacks to the kids, and see who will say, “Thank you.” 

Return the favor back by saying, “You’re welcome!” or “No problem!” to the kid, then link this pre-activity to the lesson you’re about to take for this Sunday School class.

Key Passage

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him — and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Luke 17:11-19

Focus

There are times when we often forget to appreciate and give thanks to God for all the blessings He has given us — whether big or small. We may also tend to do this to the people around us — our family, friends, or even the strangers we meet on the street. 

Let’s make it a habit to say thank you to everyone, especially to God, regardless of the situation.

Discussion Questions

After reading the key passage, you may ask the following questions:

  • Leprosy was a serious illness during Jesus’ time. Why do you think Jesus came near them and healed them?
  • If you were in Jesus’ shoes, would you help the lepers, too? Why?
  • How would you feel if only one of them came back and said thank you?
  • If Jesus comes and heals you from a great sickness, will you be the Samaritan or the other nine lepers?
  • Why do you think the other nine lepers didn’t say thank you?
  • Whenever you ask for help, do you say thank you after?
  • What can you do to always remember to thank God?
  • What do you think it means when Jesus said, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well”?

Activity: 10 Little Lepers

This activity allows the kids to be more interactive and know more about the key passage, as well as the focus of the story. Sing this in the tune of the nursery rhyme, 10 Little Indians

One little, two little, three little lepers 

Four little, five little, six little lepers 

seven little, eight little, nine little lepers, 

Ten little leper men.

The lepers said, “Jesus, come heal us.” 

The lepers said, “Jesus, come heal us.” 

The lepers said, “Jesus, come heal us.” 

And that is what He did.

Just one man came back to thank Him. 

Just one man came back to thank Him.

 Just one man came back to thank Him. 

Always remember to thank Him.

Thanksgiving Snack

For your Thanksgiving snack, you may prepare popcorn in a turkey bag or turkey cup. Let the kids design their own turkey bags or cups while you pop the corn. For this snack and art, you will need:

  1. Plain popcorn
  2. Butter
  3. Flavored seasonings (sour cream, cheese, barbeque, cinnamon, etc)
  4. Paper bag
  5. Cup
  6. Glue
  7. Turkey Eyes
  8. Colored paper for the nose, mouth, and tail

For First to Third Graders

One of the reasons why we celebrate the holiday is because of the abundance of food and harvest we receive in time for winter. As kids learn what the basic needs of a person are, talk about how God blesses us with so much, even if we thought it’s not enough.

Food Harvest

This lesson is going to tackle how Jesus fed 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish. Would you believe that there were still leftovers? These are just some of the miracles Jesus has shown in the Bible.

Key Passage

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were leftover. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 14:13-21

Focus

As the key passage talks about the miracle of Jesus feeding a lot of people with just several loaves of bread and fish, this also calls us to praise and give thanks to Him for the miracles He bestowed upon us. This can be related to the harvest or abundance of food we are having every day, not only on this holiday. 

Discussion Questions

After reading the key passage, you may ask the following questions:

  • Has God provided you with everything you need?
  • Why do you think Jesus fed the 5,000 people when He could have sent them away?
  • What does this story say about Jesus?
  • How will you respond to God’s miracles and blessings?

Activity: Thankful Turkey

Every Thanksgiving, turkey is a celebration staple. For this activity, we’re going to use a turkey to cite some blessings we’re most thankful for. All you need is a cutout of a Thanksgiving turkey and some colored strips of paper, which will serve as its feathers and tail. Have the kids write the blessings they’re grateful for in these strips of paper.

Thanksgiving Snack

You may end the Sunday School by giving the kids some Caramel Apple Lollipops for doing a job well done. 

For Fourth to Sixth Graders

This Thanksgiving lesson reminds us of how wonderful, merciful, good, and great our Lord is. It also reminds us to turn into prayer and worship as an act of giving thanks and praising Him for His goodness. 

Abundance of Blessings

Do you ever count your blessings, or have you lost count because you receive a lot of blessings from the Lord every single day? This lesson opens our eyes to God’s abundant blessings.

To illustrate, we’re going to read a Psalm of David for kids to realize the abundant blessings the Lord showers them with, even in the midst of darkest times.

Key Passage

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame.

When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me. May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord, when they hear what you have decreed. May they sing of the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great. Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me. The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever — do not abandon the works of your hands.

Psalm 138:1-8

Focus

The main focus of the Bible verse is to have a thankful heart because God is always there for us through our ups and downs, triumphs and setbacks, victories and defeats. He’s our friend and Savior who’s just our one call away.

Discussion Questions

After reading the passage, you may ask the following questions:

  • What’s your favorite verse from the passage?
  • For you, what does it mean to do things from your heart?
  • If there are things that are not coming from the heart, what hinders you to give your 100 percent?
  • Describe a wholehearted thanksgiving. How do you think it feels and looks like?
  • What are you wholeheartedly thankful for?

Activity: Thankful for Our Bodies

It’s evident that God’s presence, mercy, and goodness are present no matter who and where you are. Not to mention, He’s reminding you that He’s always there for you no matter what happens.

So in this activity, we’re going to give thanks to the Lord, who created us in His own image and likeness. Form a circle and, one by one, have the kids tap the part of their body they’re most grateful for. 

You may start by tapping your eyes and saying, “Thank you, Lord God, for my eyes. My vision is a gift that I treasure the most because it allows me to see the beauty of your creation, Lord God.”

Thanksgiving Snack

For your Sunday school snack, prepare no-bake pumpkin pie bites for everyone. These are healthy treats, perfect for Thanksgiving! 

For Middle School Kids

As the kids grow older, they’re more aware of why we celebrate Thanksgiving. Being that, Sunday school Thanksgiving lessons for middle school kids should focus on the fact that there are a lot of reasons to be thankful to the Lord. As a sign of gratitude, pay it forward by thanking God through prayer and worship, as well as sharing the blessings to others.

Reasons to be Thankful

The key passages and activity encourage the kids to always give thanks to the Lord, as well as to the persons or things they’re thankful for. There may be rainy days that challenge us to find the light, but always remember that there’s a rainbow after the rain. Considering this, there are a lot of reasons to be thankful, so let’s take the holiday as an opportunity to give thanks and appreciation to God.

Key Passages

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Colossians 2:6-7

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

1 Chronicles 16:34

Focus

The main focus of the key passages is to have faith in the Lord because He always gives what’s best for us. Give Him thanks for all the blessings we receive, whether big or small. Although there may be times we don’t get what we prayed for, keep in mind that He never forgets. It’s just that perhaps now’s not the right time for it.

Discussion Questions

After reading the key passages, you may ask the following questions:

  • What are you thankful for?
  • Do you often say thanks to the Lord through prayer?
  • How do you show your appreciation and gratitude to the Lord and to others?
  • How do you feel when you do something nice to someone, but they never thank you? Do you think God feels the same way?
  • Do you agree that life’s more beautiful and happier when we are thankful for the things around us rather than complaining?

Activity: Thankful Bank

This Thanksgiving lesson is intended to be done even after the Sunday School class. After all, it aims for the kids to ponder and discern what and who they’re thankful for. All you need is an empty jar where they can slip a coin every time they feel thankful. In addition, they may also write in a strip of paper the instances they felt thankful, and reread everything.

Take the coins and papers out on Christmas, and have them share it with someone dear to them or in front of the Sunday school class. The coins they have saved can be used to buy something nice for their family or friends, for instance. Alternatively, you can also encourage them to pay it forward by buying food for the hungry or something warm for the less fortunate. As a result, they’ll create a ripple of sharing their blessings to those who are in need.

Thanksgiving Snack

To end the Sunday School class, serve a turkey cheese platter for everyone to share. If you can and want to be creative with it, arrange the biscuits, meat, cheese, and fruits to look as if it’s a turkey.

Conclusion

Surely, these Sunday school Thanksgiving lessons allow kids to go back to the real essence of the holiday. These Sunday school lessons are great reminders that Thanksgiving is particularly a time for worship and to praise to the Lord. It also gives us an opportunity to see the beauty and the good in all things. Moreover, it lets us see how great He and His plan is for us. 

His immeasurable and unconditional love is always present wherever we are in our lives. And so, may these Sunday school lessons about thanksgiving be a reminder to our little kids to always show gratitude and appreciation to God and to everyone they’re thankful to. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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