Thanksgiving is a lovely fall celebration that bridges the Autumn season with Winter Holiday celebrations. Making crafts with kids to celebrate is a great way to spend time together and reflect on the meaning of the holiday. These Thanksgiving craft ideas will not only help you teach the meaning of Thanksgiving to your kids, they are all upcycled or recycled craft ideas. Not only is this better for the environment, but you can talk to your child about the importance of not taking things for granted by reusing items we already have. So sit down this holiday season and do some upcycled Thanksgiving art with your child.
This fun craft makes a festive centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table, reusing your Halloween pumpkin.
Items You’ll Need:
1 medium to large pumpkin with the stem attached
Colorful Feathers (either collected from nature or purchased)
1 Large brown, orange, or yellow pom-pom
2 “Googly” Eyes
Black and Yellow Construction Paper
Medicine Cup (found with most commercial children’s medicines)
Hot Glue or Craft Glue
1. Wash any dirt or debris off of your pumpkin, dry it well, and turn it on its side (so the stem sticks out the side, not the top). Most pumpkins have one flat side that it will rest on; if not, put a support around your pumpkin like a cloth napkin to keep it in place.
2. Glue feathers around the base of the pumpkin (now on the backside) in a semicircle to mimic the back of a turkey.
3. Glue the pom-pom to the end of the pumpkin stem for a head; glue the eyes onto the side of the pom-pom, cut out a triangle from the yellow construction paper for a beak, and glue it to the pom-pom as well.
4. Cut out a “gobbler” from the red felt and hang it from the stem where it meets the pom-pom. The best way to do this is to cut out 2 identical shapes, glue one to each side of the stem, and stick the 2 sides together with glue in the middle underneath the stem to keep it together.
5. To make a small pilgrim’s hat for the top of the head, cut out a strip of black construction paper to wrap around the medicine cup, making it a bit wider than the sides of the cup so that it sticks up higher. Glue the strip to the sides of the cup and trim the excess. Then, cut a black paper circle with a diameter larger than that of the cup and glue the circle to the upside-down cup. Finally, cut a thin, yellow paper strip and glue it around the base of the cup to make a hat band. Glue your pilgrim’s hat to the top of your pom-pom turkey head.
6. If desired, glue extra feathers on the sides of your turkey pumpkin for wings, and enjoy your festive centerpiece.
Native American Pillowcase Costume
Have your kids come to the Thanksgiving table dressed as Native Americans for a festive feast.
Items You’ll Need:
1 old pillow case (light colors work best)
Fabric crayons or paints
1. Hold the pillowcase so that the sewn short end is at the top and cut out a semicircle opening for your child’s head.
2. Place the cutout pillowcase over your child’s head, measure where his arms fall, take off the pillowcase, and cut out 2 armholes.
3. Cut a strip a few inches wide from around the bottom, open end of the pillowcase and set aside. Then, cut strips of fringe around the bottom of the costume, about 6 to 8 inches in length.
4. Spread the cut pillowcase out on a table with a protected surface and allow your child to draw or paint on the costume. If desired, let the front side dry, turn it over, and repeat on the back.
5. Decorate the strip of fabric with the paints or crayons and tie it around your child’s head to make a matching headband.
Note: You may want to wash your costume before wearing, per the instructions found on the crayons or markers. That way, none of the design smears or comes off at the table.
Count Your Blessings Can
Thanksgiving dinner means lots of food, and much of those traditional foods are made from canned ingredients. Whether it’s green beans, cranberry sauce, or pumpkin for pies, reuse these cans by making a special Thanksgiving keepsake the whole family can enjoy.
Items You’ll Need:
1 or more cans, medium to large, with the label taken off
Colored Construction Paper
Pencil or Pen
1. Measure out a strip of construction paper to fit around the can and cut it out.
2. Decorate your strip of paper by labeling it “Blessings” or “We are Thankful for . . .” and add pictures, stickers, or anything else to make it festive.
3. Glue the paper onto the can and let it dry.
4. Gather up scrap paper from around the house and cut it into squares or strips that can be stacked inside the wall of the can. Place the paper inside with a pen or a pencil and pass it around so that everyone can write their blessings or what they’re thankful for on the papers. Fold each blessing up and place inside the can and take turns reading them aloud during Thanksgiving dinner.