Thursday, November 12, 2009

More Thanksgiving Ideas

Thanksgiving brings with it lot of images of turkeys and Pilgrims. Here are some ideas for Thanksgiving crafts to help you entertain the little Thanks-givers.

Construction Paper
School glue or glue stick
Safety scissors
Apples, oranges or styrofoam balls
Cheese cubes
Toothpicks or uncooked spaghetti
Marshmallows, full-size and miniature
Candy corn

Snack time:
Make little turkey treats with marshmallows: Use a full-sized marshmallow or two as the body. Thread miniature marshmallows on toothpicks or uncooked spaghetti pieces (for younger children) for the tail feathers. Use a single miniature marshmallow as the head and a piece of candy corn for the beak. Cut a marshmallow in half to serve as the wings and two pieces of candy corn for the feet. Try to enjoy it for a moment or two before devouring!

If you can find the multicolored marshmallows, they make a fun display. Or roll plain ones in cocoa powder for a brown turkey. If your turkey seems a little "tail heavy," prop it with a toothpick in back.

Larger turkey treats can be formed on apples, oranges or styrofoam balls for the body. Thread cheese cubes on toothpicks for the tail feathers. Attach a small triangle of cheese to a single cube to form the head and beak.

Just a caution: this works much better with medium cheddar (or something with a similar smooth texture) than sharp cheddar. Witness the disaster below:

Sharp cheddar is a little too crumbly to make neat cubes. So you can learn from my mistake - LOL.

Pilgrim buckles:
Cut rectangles of gold (or yellow) or silver (gray) construction paper. Cut two openings in it to form a simplified buckle.

Print a scripture or scripture reference about thanks along the outer edges. Cut a strip of black or dark blue construction paper and thread through the center.


Secure with a small piece of tape or a dot of glue on the back. These make nice little bookmarks or place cards for the table. The blue or back strip provides a good surface for a small sticker, if desired. Make them as large as you would like. My sample is about 3.5" by 4.5" for the buckle size and 2" X 9" for the strip inside.

Test your writing implement on a sample of the paper before starting the lettering. The marker I used wasn't quite as fine a tip as I would have liked. It worked - it just wasn't as tidy as I hoped it would be.

Drumsticks for all:
Cut out construction paper drumsticks, large enough for a scripture verse or reference on one side. On the other side, you might put the person's name or have each person write something for which they are thankful.


You can get several from a single sheet of paper if you reverse every other one. A template for five to an 8.5" X 11" page is here: Drumsticks Template

These make great bookmarks or place cards as well. And everyone at the table can have a drumstick!

Turkey Time - Handprint Turkeys

Ah, the handprint turkey! Is there anything more personal for little ones to do at Thanksgiving? Choose the appropriate activity level for your group.

Paper - plain white paper to trace on
Construction paper - to cut out feathers and other features; to mount finished pictures on
School glue or glue stick
Finger paint
Assorted glitz - sequins, glitter and such

To begin:
Have each child open one of his or her hands as far as possible. Trace the hand on the white paper with a crayon. Older children may want to trace their own hand. For very young children, you can make photocopies of a hand you traced from an older child.

The thumb will be the turkey's head; the other fingers serve as the tail feathers and the hand itself is the turkey's body.

Very young children:
Draw wings on the body. Draw eyes, a beak and wattle on the head. Add feet. Let the children color the bird.

(Adults should pre-cut construction paper features for the birds.) Glue construction paper tail feathers on the tail. Glue a yellow beak and a red or pink wattle on the head. Draw in eyes, feet and wings. Color as desired.

Any age that enjoys getting messy:
(With thanks to Dr. Karen Romito of HobbyTown USA in Folsom, CA) Put finger paint on the hand and fingers in a variety of colors. Place the hand down on the paper and move the four fingers (but not the thumb) back and forth a little to create a fan of colored tail feathers. Draw in any additional details after the paint dries.

Older children:
Using safety scissors, cut features for the turkey from construction paper. Glue them on as desired and use crayons to color the other parts.

Here's a picture of a real feather, if you'd like to use that:

You can download the image here: Feather Photo

Feel free to get creative within your group's abilities with things like glitter, water colors (use water color paper to start rather than copy paper), colored pencils or other decorating techniques. This is a very adaptable project, suitable for a wide variety of time frames and skill levels.

Some ideas for incorporating "Thanks" into the project:
Have the children print something or someone they or thankful for on each tail feather (or have an adult print it for them);

Have them print an appropriate scripture reference or passage at the bottom of the picture. Some options are:
I Chronicles 16:8
I Chronicles 16:34
I Chronicles 29:13
Psalm 30:4
Psalm 69:30
Psalm 75:1
Psalm 92:1
Psalm 95:2
Psalm 100:4
or have older children find their own verses;

Have them address the picture to someone they are thankful to and give it to that person as a thank you gift.