Because you have your hands full in the kitchen, we asked crafters Jennifer and Kitty O'Neil (ONeilSisters.com ) to find entertaining ways to keep your kids busy until Thanksgiving dinner. It's a veritable Turkey Day Tournament of crafts, games, and fun.
What is it about Tic Tac Toe that can occupy kids for hours? It's even more fun when they can make their own Thanksgiving-themed game out of a large sheet of craft foam. To make the game board, cut squares out of yellow and blue craft foam and glue them in the center of the mat in a grid. Make acorn and leaf game pieces out of green and brown craft foam. Glue purple strips of craft foam on either side of the grid to keep your pieces when they aren't in play. Spell out Tic Tac Toe at the top in foam stickers, then let the games begin!
Turkey Pinwheels are as much fun to make as they are to play with! For starters, make a turkey body and face out of construction paper and glue on googly eyes. Slide a red bead onto a straight pin and stick it through the top of the turkey's beak. Next, cut an 8 1/2" square out of two-sided paper. Fold it diagonally one way, then the other, then open it. Cut slits in the paper from each corner almost to the center along the diagonal lines. Fold each corner into the center, overlapping the points, then poke the turkey straight pin through the center. Slide three beads onto the pin, then poke it through the top of a straw. Bend the end of the pin and tape it down.
Then watch that turkey shake its tail feathers. In fact, send the kids out to catch a breeze with their pinwheels while you put the finishing touches on your own turkey.
This goofy gobbler is so cute your kids will want to make one for each place setting—or a whole flock to decorate the center of the table! Start by cutting feathers out of orange, red, and brown craft foam, then glue them together to make a fanned-out tail. Glue a brown pompom to the feathers to make the poufy body. Cut out a pair of yellow craft foam feet and glue the pompom body on top. Glue on googly eyes and a yellow craft foam bill. Now that's one quirky turkey!
What child wouldn't want to make pipe-cleaner finger puppets and put on a Thanksgiving show! Create the finger puppet body by wrapping your finger with a pipe cleaner. Glue a pompom onto the top for a head and decorate it with two googly eyes. For the Pilgrim, spiral a black pipe cleaner into a hat. Give the Indian a headband with a bent pipe-cleaner feather in the back. For the turkey, bend striped pipe cleaners in half to look like feathers and glue them into a fan-shaped tail.
While reading stories about that first Thanksgiving, kids can make the very food that had a starring role: corn! Cut the corncob shapes out of orange, yellow, and brown craft foam. Glue candy corn all over the fronts. Punch two holes in the top of each ear for a big green ribbon hanger. Make three to hang together on a door or on the back of each dining room chair.
Kids will love assembling a Tommy the Turkey to be the center of attention on the Thanksgiving table! It's a great craft project to do while watching the Thanksgiving parade. Here's how to do it: To make his head and body, cut a 3-inch and a 6-inch craft foam ball in half and paint them brown. Poke a toothpick halfway into the top of the body and stick the head on top. Cut big feathers out of red, orange, yellow, blue, and purple craft foam, then glue them together, alternating colors. Attach the tail feathers to the body with hot glue.
Next, decorate the feathers with shaped sequins. Stick toothpicks halfway into a mini hay bale and stick the body on top. Give your turkey big googly eyes and a craft foam bill and waddle. To make each leg, twist four gold pipe cleaners together and bend the ends into toes. Hot-glue the legs under the body and bend the knees. Make a sign out of construction paper, alphabet stickers, and a craft stick. Gobble gobble!
Your children will enjoy making this festive banner that can be hung on the mantel, from a chandelier, or even on the front door. Just cut large, medium, and small circles out of construction paper and pretty scrapbook paper using decorative-edge scissors. Next, layer the circles from largest to smallest, glue them together, then stick a letter on top. Punch holes in the sides of the big circles, string them together with wired gold ribbon, and hang up your message of thanks.
These cheerful little Pilgrim hat pots are a cinch to make and fun to decorate— and they brighten up the table. Here's how to make them: First, paint small terra-cotta pots black. To make the hatband and buckle, cut a rectangle of silver paper and cut two slits in the center to slide some ribbon through. Glue it around the lip of the pot.
For the flower, glue plain wooden craft shapes that look like sunflowers onto craft sticks. Paint the sunflower petals yellow, the stems green, then paint the centers with chalkboard paint. Stuff the pots with craft foam and poke a flower in each one. Cover the foam with corn kernels. Last, write each family member's name on a flower with chalk.
Help kids remember all the things they're grateful for (and practice the alphabet) with a cute deck of cards. Here's how: Start with 26 cards from an inexpensive deck of playing cards. Place a letter on the back of each one using alphabet stickers. Then cut pictures of things you're grateful for from magazines. Find one for each letter and glue onto the front of each card. "A" is for apple pie, "B" is for baseball, and "P" is for pumpkin pie! A really fun way to give thanks!