Do you think of cranberries when you think of fall or Thanksgiving? These cranberry activities below are easy and awesome science ideas to add to your Thanksgiving activities. Simple set up, simple invitation to play, and an easy lesson all in one activity. Of course, cranberries are perfect for Thanksgiving science too!

Thanksgiving Science Activities

We love pairing science and sensory play for hands-on learning. Science activities you can really dig your hands into are perfect for our youngest scientists. Turning simple science into sensory bins is a great way to explore how things work too.

You can also build Cranberry Structures for STEM and fine motor play or check out our cranberry oobleck recipe. One bag of cranberries can provide so much fun for kids.


Scientists must practice their fine motor skills! Many science tools require fine motor movements, patience, hand eye coordination, and dexterity. We love using fine motor science activities to strengthen our hands in a really fun way!

Not to mention that my son has developed a great pencil grip from all of these non-writing activities!

A true hands-on learning experience that builds on valuable skills for young kids. Science is awesome and really perfect for those curious kids.

Plus, simple science activities will encourage curiosity in the world and how things work. Fun science activities help young kids to develop observation skills, critical thinking skills, and experimenting skills!

Get your FREE STEM Activities For Thanksgiving

Easy Cranberry Activity

We started off with a simple cranberry science activity to investigate how to soften cranberries.  We have been talking about irreversible change for a few weeks now as well as reversible change and transformation.

We baked pumpkin to check out irreversible change too! We had a little fun with gumdrop science and STEM as well. Or you can check out our chocolate science for some yummy reversible change!


  • Bag of Fresh Cranberries
  • Large plastic bin or similar container
  • Water
  • Kitchen Utensils {tongs, scoops, basters, sieves}


STEP 1. Prep your tools, and you are ready.

Our fine motor tools included a baster, salad tongs, and various other tongs, a scoop, and a sifter. Take a look at your kitchen drawers for simple fine motor tools. Eye droppers and basters are our favorite and are great for strengthening little hands.

Cranberry Science Sensory Activity Set Up With Fine Motor Tools

STEP 2. Test the fresh cranberries to see if you smash them as is.

Before you try this, make sure to ask your kids what they think will happen. Encourage developing their “think like a scientist” skills by making predictions and coming up with a hypothesis. Read more on the science method here.

STEP 3. Well, we couldn’t smash them, so what else could we do to soften them. Come up with some ideas to test. Next we boiled them for a few minutes and then tested again.

Can you squash them now? We could!

STEP 4. Then make sure to make some observations by comparing and contrasting the fresh and cooked cranberries.

Remember, these cranberry science activities are great for developing observational skills so ask plenty of questions! What do you see? What do you feel? What do you smell? What are the differences?

Cranberry Science Sensory Activity Exploring Irreversible Change Transformation

More Things To With Cranberries


This cranberry activity makes great water sensory play. Have your kids help you add cranberries to the water. Again make sure to have them make predictions about whether the berries will sink or float!

Add fine motor tools to the water sensory bin for great play. You can easily increase fine motor skills through play! We used a water bottle to make a simple sensory bottle.

Cranberry Science Activity Floating cranberries

Look at all the great fun and learning you can do with a bag of cranberries.

Cranberry Science Sensory Play With Fine Motor Tools


Show the kids how they can write and send secret messages to one another!  Paint with cranberry juice and the message is revealed.  It’s magic!  No, it’s science!


This is a super simple and fun way to explore states of matter, density, and more for Thanksgiving! We used dried cranberries for this must try experiment.


Here is a super simple and fun way to explore states of matter, chemical reactions, and more for Thanksgiving! This Thanksgiving science experiment uses only a few ingredients for lots of fizzing action!

More Fun Thanksgiving Activities To Try

We also have fun with easy Thanksgiving art and craft projects, Thanksgiving slime and even Thanksgiving LEGO building ideas!

Printable Thanksgiving Project Pack

STEMS-Giving Pack! A full menu of Thanksgiving dinner science activities, secret codes, and more!

What’s Included:

  • STEMS-Giving! A feast of science and STEM with simple experiments and projects for home or classroom!
  • Even More Thanksgiving theme STEM activities with printable sheets, instructions, and useful information all using easy-to-source materials and perfect for limited time needs. Includes a Thanksgiving theme engineering pack with fun, problem-based challenges for kids to solve!
  • Got STEAM? Try a turkey in a disguise challenge with writing prompts and more! Also color by code turkeys in disguise!
  • Try your hand at building shapes with cranberry structure challenge cards.
  • Discover Thanksgiving brick-building challenges perfect for early finishers, quiet time, hands-on math, or family time.


  1. I tried to do some sensory play with cranberries and they became smushy after about an hour. What am I doing wrong? Plus they stained the kids hands and clothing. 🙁

  2. Hmm Maybe they weren’t fresh enough? We have had ours going for a few days now and they are fine. I left the bag in the fridge before we used them.

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