Thanksgiving offers a cornucopia of craft ideas and crafts make the greatest centerpieces, so what are you waiting for? Give our Thanksgiving Smarts & Crafts ideas a go and be sure to share the educational tidbits we’ve provided as you cut and paste with your kiddos. Now ready, set, craft!
Coffee Cup Mayflower
Save your next Starbucks cup (and holder) for this easy-to-make rendition of the Mayflower, the ship that carried 102 pilgrims from Plymouth, England, to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the year 1620.
1. Remove the lid from the cup and cut the top half of the cup away.
2. Place the cup into the cup holder and squeeze the ends a bit to make a “ship shape”. Note – if there’s a logo on your cupholder, you may need to cut the cup holder, flip it “inside out” and tape it back up.
3. Cut two medium sized rectangles from white construction paper and two more, smaller, rectangles.
4. Using your scissors, slide two small slits at the top and bottom of the wider edges of all four rectangles and insert a wooden coffee stirrer through one large and one small rectangle. Repeat with the other two. Then tape the bottom of the stirrers to the front and back of your cup “boat”, inside the cup holder. These will be your sails.
Paper chains are perfect for preschoolers and this sweet garland is a great way to remind everyone to be thankful this Thanksgiving! We’re guessing the pilgrims were pretty grateful for the Native Americans that taught them how to plant corn and other crops that helped them survive their first year in America.
1. Help your kiddo cut several sheets of orange, red, yellow, and brown construction paper into 4 vertical strips each. (Cutting is great fine motor skill practice!)
2. Ask your kids to name some of the things they’re most grateful for – you may need to get the ball rolling by suggesting things like yummy school lunches, friends to play with, books to read, mommies who love them, etc. Then write the responses on the paper strips using a marker. (Or, if your kids are practicing letters and learning to write, have them write the words themselves.)
3. Loop the first strip and staple the ends. Loop the next strip through the first and staple. Repeat until your chain is complete.
4. Hang in a prominent place to remember all the things you and your family have to be grateful for!
Tin Can Turkey
Although it’s more likely that the pilgrims ate duck, goose, and venison at the first Thanksgiving dinner, turkey (or tofurkey) is a modern Thanksgiving mainstay. Celebrate this beautiful bird with your very own, hand-crafted centerpiece!
1. Choose an unopened soup can to sacrifice for your project (you can put it back in the pantry in December). Wrap a piece of brown construction paper around it and mark the length and height with a pencil, then let your preschooler cut it to size. Tape or glue it tight around the can.
2. Place the can end down on a sheet of brown construction paper and have your preschooler trace and cut the circle; have your preschooler glue it to the closed end of the can. Repeat so both ends of the can are covered.
3. Cut a small, teardrop-shaped head; neck; small triangular beak; and turkey feet, then let your preschooler apply glue and place them onto your bird, along with some silly, googly eyes.
4. Next, trace a feather shape onto a sheet of cardboard or thick paper (the cover of your construction paper pack will do the trick). Cut it out and encourage your kiddo to trace it, several times teach, onto orange, red, green, and yellow sheets of construction paper. Cut these out, then cut a few triangular notches into each “feather” to make it look authentic.
5. Cover the bird’s bottom with school glue, then show your little one how to layer and spread the feathers. It’s easiest if one person holds the can, turkey face facing down, and the other presses the feathers onto the bottom. Continue gluing and layering until your bird’s plumage is perfect.
Crafting with your kids isn’t just fun – it’s educational and developmentally beneficial, too. Take advantage of your time together to talk to each other and allow your child to do as much of each project as possible, from tracing and cutting to gluing and coloring. Enjoy!