Kids’ Thanksgiving Crafts that are Better than Hand Turkeys

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When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of mashed potatoes, family, hot air balloons, football, and a parade of hand-print turkeys taped to my fridge door. Oh, those turkeys. As an art teacher in an elementary school, I get asked daily during November if the class can make turkeys. My answer is always, “Can we try something else?” Because let’s face it, hand-print turkeys are so overdone.

Here is my list of other fun choices for easy-to-do crafts that can bring a festive touch to your holiday home.fullsizerender

Toilet Paper Roll Turkeys

These super cute birds bring a 3D touch to the traditional turkey craft. This craft is great for ages 7 and up (or younger ones with help). The fun part of the craft is that you can make a few and use them for festive napkin holders!

Here’s what you need: Scissors, glue, construction paper, toilet paper roll (or paper towel roll).

Start by cutting your toilet paper roll. Depending on how wide you’d like your turkey to be, you can cut it in half or thirds. This will be the body of your turkey. You can give it a little squish to flatten the bottom so it will stand up better. The tube can be covered with construction paper to change the color of the body. Cut feet, wings, a beak, and feathers out of construction paper and glue them onto the body. Make sure the body parts stick off the tube for the 3D effect. Voila!

fullsizerender1Place Setting Cards

When I was younger, my mother always had me spend Thanksgiving morning creating a place card for each guest having dinner at our house that evening. I felt like a big shot putting them around the table and deciding where everyone should sit. I realize now that she probably just wanted me out of the way while she cooked up our holiday feast – but it worked! This craft works best for children who can copy names off the list (or anyone, if you will help with the writing).

Here’s what you need: Place cards or card stock cut and folded crayons/markers, and a list of people coming to dinner!

There is really no wrong way to decorate place cards. Your child can draw things she is thankful for, a picture of the guest, an iconic picture (a turkey, an ear of corn, a pilgrim, etc.).

Turkey Cup Cozies

This is a fun way to add a touch of child-like charm to your dining table. Of course, if you are the type to take out your finest china, you may not want a sock cozy on your crystal glasses. Try putting them on your juice cups at breakfast or red solo cups for appetizer time. This craft is great for any age child who can use scissors well enough to cut through thick felt (6 and up). 

Here’s what you need: An old sock with the foot part cut off, felt in different colors, liquid glue (or fabric glue if you have it), googly eyes, and craft feathers optional.

Start by cutting out a tan (or whatever color you want your turkey to be) peanut shape for the head and neck of the turkey. Glue it on the sock.  Cut out an orange triangle beak, a red waddle, some colored feathers, two brown wings, and any other body part you may want to add – the sky’s the limit. Glue all the body parts on the sock. When the glue dries, place the tube of the sock over your cup for an instant turkey! Experiment with different shapes and colors. Use googly eyes or real craft feathers for an extra fun touch. You can also add detail with a sharpie or other fabric maker. 

Pine Cone Crafts

I like using natural objects in craft projects. Fall is such a beautiful time of year that sometimes it’s nice to bring the outdoors in. With a wire wreath frame (that you can get online for less than $3.00) and some thin wire, you can create a great wreath to hang on your door or put on your table. Wrap the thin wire around pine cones or small pine branches and wrap the other end to the wreath. You can add in some colored fall leaves for an added dose of color. I like giving the little animal friends who live outside a little Thanksgiving treat by making a pine cone bird feeder.

Here’s what you need: Some yarn or twine, a pine cone, peanut butter, birdseed, paper plate.

Take some of the peanut butter and spread it onto the pine cone. Of course, if allergies are an issue, you can use a different kind of nut or seed butter. Crisco may work as well. Pour the birdseed onto the paper plate. Once the cone is covered with whatever sticky nut butter you choose, roll it in the bird seeds until the cone is covered. Tie a piece of yarn to the pine cone (use the little top stem). Take it outside and tie it on a branch or the edge of your balcony etc. Keep an eye on it to see who comes over for a snack! Your kids will be delighted to see a robin or squirrel taking a nibble!

Of course, there are hundreds of other crafts that you can do with your children on Thanksgiving. Buy some modeling clay and make a pilgrim or make a paper pilgrim hat for everyone at your table. You can find many craft ideas right on Pinterest. Check out my Thanksgiving craft board here.

What is your favorite craft or fun Thanksgiving activity to do with your kids? Happy crafting!

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Kristen is the proud mom of two wonderful, smart and sassy daughters (born in 2007 and 2011). Raising her kids as a single mom is a challenge and an adventure and she loves every minute of it. Kristen loves bringing up her girls in the same area of Westchester that she grew up in, having only moved a few miles from her childhood home. A long time passion for working with children led Kristen to pursue a career in education and she has been an elementary school teacher in the Bronx for over a decade. Her teaching career has taught her that every day is a new experience and to "expect the unexpected." If she can find any spare time between teaching and motherhood, Kristen likes to read, binge watch horrible romantic comedies on TV, bake, and go on road trips with her girls.