Thanksgiving is often a stressful holiday for parents, involving hours spent preparing for the big family get-together. Involve the children in the process and keep them occupied at the same time with some simple Thanksgiving crafts using images they are familiar with such as pilgrims, Native Americans and turkeys. The children will be proud to see their handicrafts decorating the Thanksgiving table, and you will have time to put the finishing touches on the meal.
Even the youngest child can make festive turkey decorations using his outstretched hand as a template. Whether he chooses to trace his palm with crayons or dip it in paint and press it to paper, the thumb makes a suitable turkey neck while the remaining fingers become tail feathers ready for decorating. A handprint turkey on a paper plate makes an instant piece of artwork, or he can use fabric crayons or paint on scraps of fabric for a table runner or napkins. Help your child cut out several handprint turkeys and hang them to create a Thanksgiving-inspired mobile, or use a cut-out turkey, wax paper and a warm iron to create placemats for the table.
Pilgrim and Native American People
With a few simple materials, your child can re-create the first Thanksgiving celebration’s attendees. Use empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls, clothespins or paper dolls for the body and yarn for the hair. She can designs pilgrim and Native American clothing and accessories from construction paper or felt. Older children may enjoy the challenge of creating a Thanksgiving scene using a material like modeling clay or creating a diorama for the center of the table.
Send your child outside to collect an assortment of different sizes and shapes of leaves to bring a touch of fall indoors. Using a heavy-stock paper, he can create place cards for the table or Thanksgiving dinner invitations by tracing different leaves and coloring them with paint or crayons. Have him trace many different-shaped leaves onto yellow, red, green and brown construction paper and cut them out to be scattered around the dinner table. Older children might enjoy using very small leaves to create potato stamps. Using the stamps and several colors of fabric paint, they can create a festive tablecloth for the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Gourds and Pumpkins
Take your child to the farmers market and let her pick out a variety of small gourds and pumpkins. A paintbrush, some watered-down glue and glitter is all she will need to create a festive assortment of vegetables that can sit on the fireplace mantle or in the center of the table. Cut off the tops of miniature pumpkins, let her hollow them out and place tealights inside before setting one at each place setting at the table. She can clean off the pumpkin seeds and glue them onto construction paper to create original pumpkin-seed artwork. Set the gourds on their sides and let her turn them into turkeys with some tail feathers cut from construction paper.
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