Once Halloween has passed, it’s time to take down the spooky classroom decorations and switch them out for ones that are Harvest and Thanksgiving themed. For teachers watching their budget, here’s some simple yet cheap classroom crafting and decorating ideas that will get the kids in the Thanksgiving spirit.
Decorate the window sills with leaves. Nothing reads “Autumn” more than a colorful collection of Autumn leaves in the windowsills and elsewhere in the classroom. One cheap reusable option is to buy 5′ lengths of fall foliage garlands at the dollar store. These colorful leafy garlands can be used to decorate the window sills, draped around your desk or chalkboard, and can even be used to outline the edges of the bulletin board. Free, although a bit more work is pressing your own fall leaves for decorating. What I do to preserve the colors is to sandwich Autumn leaves between the pages of a 25 cent paper back, weigh down the book with a brick, and let the leaves dry for about a week. The leaves can be scattered on the sills or attached to a bulletin board with a thumbtack.
Paper chains made in Autumn colors. Hardly anyone makes paper chains anymore which is a shame since they can be so pretty. You can get the kids involved in this project by precutting a few hundred 1×4 inch construction paper strips in Autumn yellows, browns, reds, and orange. Have the kids write a message on the strips for something they are thankful for and then assemble the strips into long chains which can be hung from the ceiling or draped around the room.
Japanese lanterns in Harvest or Autumn themed colors. Yet another practically free project is making traditional Japanese lanterns in Harvest colors. Browns, yellows, oranges, and red construction paper lanterns look wonderful and can also be scattered on the window sills or hung from the the ceiling. To customized the lanterns, have the students decorate the edges of the lanterns with Thanksgiving themed stickers.
Paper plate turkeys are a perennial classroom favorite. Instead of making your turkey feathers out of white paper plates and construction paper, why not try using Autumn or Thanksgiving themed paper plates and gift wrap instead? Hit the dollar stores to find themed paper goods priced at 12-16 for a dollar and Autumn themed wrapping papers. Here’s a fun way of making paper turkeys using your hands and feet as the pattern.
Building on a foundation of these decorations, all that’s left for a teacher to do is add some dollar store decorations for the finishing touch. Dollar store bulletin board trimmery in a Harvest theme, ceramic mini pumpkins and honeycomb corn cobs can add to handmade Autumn or Thanksgiving decor without blowing a classroom budget.