Thanksgiving is the perfect time for some hand-made crafts. Whether you’re looking to sit down and make them with your child, or you’re in search of a project that will keep your child occupied so you can take care of things in the kitchen, this list has got a bounty of ideas!
Thankful Quilt – This is a project your family can get started days before Thanksgiving, and then as guests arrive for the special meal, let them contribute their own “square” to the quilt. Begin with autumn-colored (red, orange, yellow, brown) construction paper (you can use square or rectangle shapes. One of the easiest things to do is cut 8 1/2 x 11 paper in half). Punch holes in the corners of the construction paper. Each family member writes and/or illustrates what he/she is thankful for. Use yarn to tie the pieces together and assemble them into a family quilt.
Turkey Handprint – It depends how messy you want your kids to get. You can create a turkey handprint using paints or crayons. If using paint, paint the palm of your child’s hand and thumb brown. Paint each of the other 4 fingers a different color (for the feathers). Press down firmly on white paper. After the paint dries, kids can use a red marker to add on the wattle, orange or brown marker to add stick legs, and a black marker for the turkey’s eyes. If paint is more mess than you’re after, trace your child’s hand onto paper and let them color it all in with crayons/markers/colored pencils. (Extra tip – squirt some hand soap into the paint and mix it up before using. This will make it easier to clean your child’s hands afterwards and to wash out any paint that may have accidentally gotten on clothes.)
Placemat – Start with 9 x 12 brown construction paper. Fold it in half and beginning on the fold, cut some slits. Kids will then weave through strips of red, orange, and yellow paper. Let them create their own patterns (an important math skill!). For added durability, get the placemats laminated. (Don’t forget to label each placemat with the artist’s name and date). You can even have kids make extras so that every guest at your Thanksgiving meal uses one and then takes it home as a souvenir.
Leaf Place Settings – Let the kids gather freshly fallen leaves from the yard. Paint one side of the leaf (for best results, paint the side where you can feel the veins), and press down onto folded construction paper. Allow to dry and then add the guest’s name to the card.
Thankful Wreath – Cut out the center part of a paper-plate and discard. Using this paper-plate wreath, have kids attach paper autumn leaves to the ring shape. They can trace leaves and cut them out so they’re all uniform, or they can cut out leaf shapes free-form. Make it as uniform or as eclectic as you’d like. On each leaf, have kids write what they’re thankful for.
Thankful Hands – Have your guests (kids and adults) trace their hands onto construction paper. On each finger have your guest write what he is thankful for. (Young ones can draw or dictate to an older member of the family). On the palm of the hand, have the guest write his name and the date it was created. These thankful hands can then be assembled into a thankful hand wreath.
Pilgrim Hat Place Settings – Another alternative for table place-settings, requires black plastic cups and small (6 in. diameter) paper plates. If you can find small black plates you’ve saved your child a step. Otherwise, have your child color the plate black (using crayon or marker). Turn the cup upside down and use glue to attach it to the center of the plate. (What is usually considered the bottom of the cup should now be on top). Use yellow construction paper to create little buckles for the hats, upon which you can write your guest’s name
Alphabetical Challenge – If the kids are older and maybe aren’t inclined to glue and paint, have them try creating an alphabetical list of items they’re thankful for. (It’s harder than it sounds because some letters will cause you to really pause and think. What will you put for X?). You can create blank templates and have guests fill them out and share in the lull between the meal and dessert. Or, you can create one large list on poster board, and create a family-generated list.