Thanksgiving Projects for Children
By Alisha Whitman
, last updated August 5, 2011
Thanksgiving is a great holiday to celebrate with kids by making your own decorations. Without the distractions of the more commercial holidays, you can create your own, simple fun and enjoy your creative time together.
The simplest is the traced hand turkey, where you make the thumb into its head and add feet coming out the bottom of the palm. Your kids can color it in, or cut it out and paint it. Or, paint their hand and then make a handprint, drawing on eyes and feet. Another option is to make a coffee filter turkey. Draw with markers on a coffee filter, then dip into water and watch the colors spread. Let dry and then glue a bowling-pin shaped brown body on the front, and add eyes.
Slightly more complex is to make a 3-D turkey friend, for which there are lots of options. You could make a pinecone turkey with a pinecone for its body, and colored craft feathers sticking out in back. To help them stay, smoosh in pieces of play-dough or clay, or use a low-temp glue gun. Add a brown pom-pom for a head, with googley eyes and a small triangle of orange felt for a beak, with pipe cleaners for feet. Or use a stuffed brown paper bag for the turkey's body, with body parts simply cut out of construction paper. Other variations would be to make the body out of an upside-down paper cup, a tin can, a toilet paper roll, or a water bottle. You could even write names on their bellies and use these as place cards for Thanksgiving dinner.
Pilgrim and Indian Projects
For starters, there are the pilgrim hats and the Indian headbands with a feather that every child makes and wears at least once in elementary school. Or you could easily make puppets with some construction paper and a brown paper bag. More creative would be to make pilgrim napkin holders out of felt. Make a ring and then a face and hat, adding googley eyes for character. A simple idea is to draw or print out images of pilgrims and Indians, color them and glue them onto cardboard toilet paper rolls so they can stand. Another place card idea would be to make little teepees by rolling paper into a cone-shape and decorating.
Cut out a tree trunk to tape to the wall, draw leaves on construction paper, and have them write a different thing they're thank for on each leaf, before cutting them out and taping them on. Your leaves could be simple, flat football shapes, intricate leaf designs, or your child's handprint. You could do this all at once, or add a leaf per person each night.
If you'd rather have something more traditional for your door, take the thankful tree idea and make it into thankful wreath. The only difference is you'll need to cut out a large doughnut shape instead of a tree trunk and continue from there. It's so fun to see your kids enjoying being grateful!