Thanksgiving is a special time to remember our country’s humble beginnings and the struggles that have made America great. Of course, it’s also a time to gather with family and friends, say "thank you" and celebrate our good fortune with a wonderful feast! While you anticipate the Turkey Day festivities, serve your kids a "side" of crafty creations.
1. Thanksgiving collages
Search magazines, catalogs and family photos for images of items or situations that show the things your kids are thankful for. These might include family members, their favorite foods, a family pet or a treasured toy. Alternately, they could cut out pictures of the foods planned for the upcoming Thanksgiving feast. Kids paste the photos on a paper plate or sheet of construction paper to create a collage. Discuss with your children why they chose a specific picture, and label the collages with their quotes.
2. Paper bag pilgrim
On a paper lunch bag, paint or color a black belt and buttons. Stuff the bag with newspaper, then fold and glue the top down. The fold will act as your pilgrim’s shoulder area where you can affix a head, pilgrim hat and arms. Glue black boots to the bottom of the bag. These pilgrim parts can be cut from construction paper and decorated. Don’t forget to draw on a happy face.
3. Hand turkey greeting card
These classic cards are memorable to make and distribute to family members – especially grandparents. Fold construction paper in half. Draw a hand turkey for the cover. Have your child lay his hand down onto the paper. Spread the fingers and trace. Now, kids can brightly color the fingers for the turkey’s tail feathers. Color the body (palm) brown, adding a beak, eye and wattle. Inside, write a personal message, or print a poem like this:
This is a turkey,
As you can see.
I made it with my hand,
Which is a part of me.
It comes with special thoughts,
Especially to say,
I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving Day!
For a variation: Print a hand turkey with poster (tempera) paint. Apply a thin coat of paint to the child’s hand with a brush. Press the hand down onto paper for a print. Add features (as shown in the photo above).
4. Native American feather awards
Make a construction paper "headdress" to fit around your child’s head (a strip of paper, stapled to fit). Native Americans were given feathers for accomplishing a significant goal. Set up a list of goals, such as walking the dog every day, organizing the closet – or even use it as a potty training aid. Make construction paper feathers and staple a feather on the child’s headdress for each deed he or she has completed. Kids will feel special and enjoy counting up their feathers.
5. Tepee photo frame
Make an easy and inexpensive photo frame for Thanksgiving that can later be used as a Christmas tree ornament. Glue three craft sticks (Popsicle) together to form a triangular tepee. Glue three colored toothpicks onto the top of the tepee. To decorate the frame, cut geometric shapes from colorful construction paper and glue these randomly along the tepee frame (or use holiday stickers). Cut a photo of your child to fit behind the frame and glue or tape it in place. Use a piece of yarn or raffia to make a hanger.