Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which also means the weather’s changing. The holidays are a great excuse to bust out your crafting supplies and get those little hands moving. While we all love the good ol’ handprint turkey, there are so many other crafts you and your kiddos can do together. And the best part (aside from staying active and creative on rainy days)? You can display your child’s creations on Thanksgiving Day as place cards, centerpieces, and even accessories.
Some of these crafts take some real time and supplies, while others are as easy as kneading pumpkin spice into your play dough.
We’ve got something for every kind of crafty mama this holiday season with 8 Thanksgiving crafts for kids to make.
1. Egg Carton Turkey
If you want a different kind of turkey craft, these egg carton turkeys are adorable and fun for little hands to make (with some assistance of course). You’ll need the following supplies to create these colorful little gobblers: Washable paint, construction paper, scissors, glue sticks, egg cartons, googly eyes, and a pencil.
Once you’ve collected your supplies, the first step is to cut out two cups from the egg carton. Glue the pieces together and fill gaps with excess carton, then paint the body any color you or your kiddo desires. While the paint dries, make your tail feathers by cutting out seven two-and-a-half-inch pieces of multi-colored construction paper and gluing them in a fan shape around a circle of brown paper.
Now you’ll want to cut out the other pieces of your turkey. A red oval about one-and-a-half inches high for the head and small oval for the waddle; a folded piece of orange paper cut into a triangle along the fold for a beak; and an orange, three-inch-long “Millennium Falcon” shape for the feet.
When the bodies dry, you can let your child assemble their turkey by gluing all the pieces accordingly (or not. Picasso turkey!). Add the finishing touch—googly eyes—and voila, your kid has a new best friend!
Check out the full tutorial at Living Well Mom.
2. Thankful Tree
This homemade tree is a fun way for kids to reflect on what they’re thankful for this year. For this craft you’ll need a vase, hole punch, twine, colored paper, a leaf template printout, and a few tree branches (hunting for branches can be a fun activity all on its own!).
Once you and your kiddo(s) find the perfect branches (make sure they have lots of offshoots for more places to hang your leaves!), place them in a short vase so they’re leaning to one side. Next, print and cut out your leaf template to use as a stencil on the colored paper. Cut out the festive foliage you just traced and punch a hole at the top of each leaf, then string a loop of twine through the hole so you can hang the leaf on the tree.
You can plump up your Thankful Tree a couple different ways, by having your family write down their gratitudes each day throughout the month or bringing out the tree on Thanksgiving day and having each guest fill out a leaf. Either way, your colorful, thoughtful display will make the perfect centerpiece when you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner.
Check out the full tutorial at Better Homes and Gardens.
3. Popsicle Stick Scarecrow
Scarecrows may not be a traditional Thanksgiving mascot, but kids sure do love them, so why not let them make a new Fall friend?
This easy craft requires popsicle sticks, googly eyes, orange and black washable paint, yellow paper grass or yarn, wood glue and a hot glue gun.
To make the scarecrow, line up seven popsicle sticks vertically in a row and glue them together, then add one diagonally about an inch down from the top of the sticks. Once the glue dries, let your kid paint the diagonal stick and everything above it orange. This is the scarecrow’s hat! Glue googly eyes just below and paint an orange triangle for the nose. Use black paint to make its mouth, and glue yellow paper grass or yarn behind the hat’s brim to create hair.
Though an adult should be the one using the hot glue gun, encourage your littles to draw their scarecrow’s face and design its hat and hair any way they like.
Check out the full tutorial at Simple Mom Project.
4. Thumbprint Turkey Place Card
These thumbprint turkey place cards are a great way to quite literally get little hands involved. Before you get started, you’ll need brown, red, yellow and orange paints, googly eyes, cardstock, scissors, glue and a felt-tipped marker.
Once you’ve gathered your supplies, take your cardstock and cut it in half, then fold each piece in half to make your place cards. Next comes the fun part: dip your kid’s index finger in the yellow pain and press seven fingerprints in an arch near the fold. This will be the turkey’s outer layer of feathers. Once that dries, dip your kid’s finger in orange paint and press seven fingerprints slightly overlapping the yellow to make the next layer of feathers. Let that dry and then dip your kid’s finger in red paint and press five fingerprints to make the innermost layer of feathers. Once all the feathers dry, dip your kid’s thumb in brown pain and press down below the last layer of feathers to make the turkey’s body. Once that dries, help your child glue googly eyes on its face and paint a small yellow or orange beak. Use your marker to draw feet and let your kiddo write their name below the turkey.
Check out the full tutorial at How Does She?
5. Painted Animal Leaves
The most beautiful thing about Autumn is the leaves changing color, and when those leaves eventually make their fall kids go crazy over picking them up (or jumping in them). If your child loves collecting fallen leaves, take the next batch home with you and paint them to create animals!
Aside from the leaves, you’ll need a black and a white marker or paint pen, construction paper, glue and two leather cords. Once you’ve brought your leaves inside, press them between the pages of a heavy book for several days. When they’re nice and dry, help your little one draw faces on the leaves to transform them into cats, mice, birds, or whatever their heart desires.
After they’ve made their characters, your kid can tell a story by gluing their leaves to construction paper and using the leather cords to create tree branches, water, or anything else their creative little mind can think of.
Check out the full tutorial at Handmade Charlotte.
6. Washi Tape Mini Pumpkins
It doesn’t get much easier (and mess-free) than making washi tape pumpkins. All you need for this craft is however many mini pumpkins you want to decorate and rolls of washi tape. To glam up your gourds, simply pull the tape out just a bit and stick it close to the stem of your pumpkin, then pull the tape down to the bottom, tear and press down the tape as flat as you can. Continue all the way around and then smooth at the end. These decorative pumpkins make the perfect centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner!
7. Turkey Headband
If you want to incorporate your kid’s handprint into a different kind of turkey craft, try these headbands. What you’ll need is red, yellow, orange, brown and green construction paper, googly eyes, glue, scissors, pencil and a stapler (optional).
The first step is creating the actual band, which is made from cutting two strips of brown construction paper and either stapling or gluing the ends together then wrapping the long strip around your child’s head to figure out where to staple or glue your circle closed (note: if you decide to glue, make sure to wait until it’s dry before measuring on your kid’s head).
Once you’ve finished the band, cut out the turkey’s body from the brown construction paper. Cut the orange paper into strips for the turkey’s legs, and save some to cut out its beak and feet. Now, have your kiddo put their hand on a piece of red construction paper and trace the outline using your pencil. Stack the green, yellow, and orange paper under it and cut them all together to create four feathers.
When all the pieces have been cut out, let your little one glue the googly eyes and beak to the turkey’s body. For the legs, fold the orange strips like an accordion (back and forth) to make a crinkle pattern, then glue the feet at the ends. Glue or staple the handprint feathers to the back of the headband, inside the circle, and then let your kiddo show off their new accessory during Thanksgiving!
Check out the full tutorial at Simply Today Life.
8. Pumpkin Spice Play Dough
Make your play dough festive this Thanksgiving by adding some fragrance. All you need for this craft is some play dough (it’s easy to make your own!) and cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves. (If you want to make things really simple, you can even use pre-mixed pumpkin spice.) Help your kiddo knead in the spices, and then let them build their own pumpkins, turkeys, scarecrows or any other creations they can think up. Just try not to let them eat the play dough—it won’t taste as yummy as it smells!