Get your kids' creative juices flowing while spending quality time together with these easy, Thanksgiving-theme crafts projects.
Everything in this slideshow
String together some foam letters with a fun fall-patterned ribbon to spell out what you're thankful for this year.
Postcards of Thanks
Send a sentiment of thanks to friends and loved ones!
Make It: Buy cardstock postcards (or make your own). Cut Thanksgiving imagery or abstract patterns from various colors of construction paper and glue to the back of the cards. Cover collaged side of card with a self-adhesive laminating sheet to protect your collage in the mail. Draw a line down the center of the other side of the card, leaving space to include a message, the recipient's address, and a postage stamp.
Thanksgiving Countdown Calendar
Inspired by an advent calendar, your family can express gratitude every day leading up to Thanksgiving.
Make It: Cut flaps off of manila envelopes. Adhere number stickers or rub-ons to each envelope, one for each day leading up to and including Thanksgiving. Hang a piece of twine or string on your wall or mantel, and clip envelopes in numerical order to the line with mini clothespins. If you have four members in your family, cut four colors of paper into thin rectangles, assigning each family member a color. On each day leading up to Thanksgiving, encourage everyone to write something they are thankful for on their respective slip of paper and put into that day's envelope.
Turkey Thank-You Cards
Thanksgiving is a great time to send notes to anyone your child may be thankful for, including teachers, parents, friends, and even firefighters.
Make It: Ask your child to use a spiral-drawing toy to draw spirals with assorted colored pencils on several pieces of white paper. When they're finished, trim the art by cutting off the bottom portion of the designs and mounting each piece on a folded piece of colored card stock. Add a cut or punched circle face to each spiral and finish off the cards by embellishing the faces with googly eyes and card-stock beaks and wattles.
Sun-Print Leaf Banner
It's always fun to gather fallen autumn leaves, but what can you do with them? Preserve the interesting shapes by placing them on sun-print paper (found readily at teacher-supply stores) and use the exposed leaf-shape prints to make a Thanksgiving banner.
Make It: Mat eight leaf prints onto colored card stock, then add a letter to each leaf using a marker or letter sticker to spell out the word "Thankful." Punch holes in the top corners of each piece and thread twine through the pieces before hanging.
Designate a small notebook as your ABC journal. Have your little ones practice writing the alphabet, and help them draw a picture of something they are thankful for that begins with each letter.
Transform a bunch of clothespins into a fun way for your kids to mark down what they're grateful for.
Make it: Paint your clothespins, and once dry, attach them around a wire wreath frame. Cut a heart out of thick cardstock and attach to the center of your wreath. Write, "I'm thankful for..." on the heart, and then have your kids customize each clothespin with a different moment of gratitude.
Seeds of Gratitude
Plant the seed of thankfulness with this hanging acorn ornament. Just search for acorn clip art online, print, and add some silk leaves or real leaves for decoration to the bottom. Have your family write what everyone's grateful for, and hang from a branch in your house. Add a new acorn every week or every night in the countdown to Thanksgiving.
Handy Thanksgiving Tree
High-fives for all the awesome things your kids are grateful for!
Make it: Start by covering a bulletin board with white paper to make your canvas. Then, trace your children's hands on sheets of red, orange, green and yellow construction paper. Once you've traced and cut out handprints, have your kids write what they are thankful for. Cut a tree from brown paper (you can use your kids hand and forearm for a template), and glue on all your "leaves."
Count your blessings with this clip-on message board.
Make it: Find an open frame or remove the glass pane from a frame at least 24" x 18". Then, drill some holes about two inches apart inside the sides of the frame and install screw eyes in each of the holes. Using heavy weight hemp twine, thread each of the screws going back in forth. Cut a few notecards for your kids to write their blessings and then attach them with clothespins to your twine. Add a little "thanks" sign at the top using either cardstock or sticker letters.
3-D Turkey Bag
Kids will love adorning the colorful "feathers" of this brown-bag turkey with all the things they are thankful for.
Make It: Start with the turkey's face by folding four punched brown card-stock circles in half and gluing the folds back-to-back to create the fanned head shape. Add an orange card-stock beak, a red card-stock wattle, and two googly eyes for facial features. Then ask your kids to write things they are thankful for on a variety of colored card-stock strips and attach them to the back of the folded-over bag top.
Pumpkin Pie Spinner
This pumpkin pie may look good enough to eat, but it's actually an interactive spinner that reveals things your child is thankful for.
Make It: Trim the edge of a paper plate rim with scallop-edge scissors, then paint the rim with a mixture of white and brown paint to resemble the color of crust. From rust-color card stock, cut a circle to fit the center of the plate and adhere it in place. Put the plate on top of a second paper plate and poke a hole through the centers, then insert a brad through the holes. Cut a slice out of the top plate (be careful to avoid the brad), add letter stickers to the top, and handwrite thankful items to the bottom plate.
Thankful Family Photo Holder
Create a Thanksgiving tabletop display by showcasing a favorite family photo on an embellished artificial craft pumpkin.
Make It: Spell out "Thankful for Family" with foam letter stickers on the side of the pumpkin, then use a skewer or knife tip to poke a hole in the top of the pumpkin near the stem. Coil a green chenille stem around your thumb several times, squeeze the coils together, and poke the end into the hole in the pumpkin. Insert a family photo into the coils.
Sticky Note Door Hanger
Kids can write something they are thankful for -- and change it each day -- on the sticky notes that are attached to the front of this Indian corn door hanger.
Make It: Start with an unfinished wooden door hanger, then paint the entire hanger with yellow paint. Then use a flat-head pencil eraser to paint multicolor dots on the hanger for the corn kernels. When the paint is dry, glue a partial stack of sticky notes to the bottom of the hanger. Using your computer, print "Today I am thankful for..." onto white card stock, and glue it to the hanger above the notes. Complete the project with raffia tied to the top of the hanger.
You'll cherish this Thanksgiving art project not only for the sentiments your child writes on each leaf, but also because the trunk is made from a tracing of your child's hand.
Make It: Trace around your child's hand onto a brown paper grocery sack, then cut it out to create the trunk. Next, run the cutout under water, crumple it up, and let it air-dry. For the leaves, paint several coffee filters with assorted watercolors. When they're dry, use a marker to draw leaf shapes onto the filters and write thankful words inside the shapes (protect your surface from marker bleed-through); cut out the pieces. Finish it up by adhering the trunk and leaves to a card-stock background with a glue stick.
Transform a paper plate into a blooming sunflower plant filled with black bean "seeds" and card-stock "petals."
Make It: Paint a paper plate black, then glue black beans to the center of the dry plate. Download the petal pattern, then use it to cut out enough petals from yellow card stock to fit around the rim of the plate. Have your child think of thankful words and phrases to write onto each petal, then glue the pieces to the rim. Make the stem by painting a paint stir stick from the hardware store with green paint, and embellish it with sticker letters and raffia.
Zipper Bag Scavenger Hunt
Create a simple book out of sandwich-size zipper bags for a thankful scavenger hunt.
Make It: Start with the book header by cutting a strip of card stock that's the same width of the bags; staple it over the bottoms of 6-8 bags. Cut pieces of card stock to fit inside each bag and use a marker or sticker letters to spell out things your child is thankful for on each piece, as well as adding lettering on the header. Then have your child find items such as leaves, photos cut from magazines, etc., to place inside each bag.
Copyright © 2011 Meredith Corporation.