Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving or traveling to spend the holiday with family or friends, it’s a busy time for families, with lots of planning and preparation involved. To help keep the kids entertained, with minimal effort for mom and dad, we collected and created some easy and fun crafts and activities they’re sure to love.
It can be tough for young kids to wait for Thanksgiving dinner to be ready, and even harder for them to sit still through the long meal! Many of these activities would be great to give kids something to do before or after dinner.
For kids who always want to help, we’ve included some festive crafts they can make to decorate your house and table for the holiday. And when we could, we included activities that have some educational value—to keep those brains busy, too!
Check out these Thanksgiving crafts for kids and let us know in the comments which ones are your favorites!
1. Pinecone Turkeys
First, head out for a nature walk and find some pinecones. Then you just need a bit of felt, some craft feathers, and of course, some googly eyes. Use kid-safe glue (instead of hot glue) and this is a craft that kids can do with minimal supervision. To add a little learning as you hunt for pinecones, check out this article on what a pinecone is. Did you know there are male and female pinecones?
2. Make a Thankful Tree
A branch, some construction paper leaves, and a few things to be thankful for: that’s all you need to make this thankful tree! Have the whole family add leaves with the things they’re thankful for. Use it as cute fall décor or as a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table.
Image courtesy of The DIY Mommy, used with permission
3. Weave a Placemat
Have kids create their own placemats for the dinner table with this simple craft that will keep them busy while the turkey cooks. Plus, they’ll be practicing important fine-motor and pattern-making skills.
4. Make a Thankful Banner
A festive banner will help bring in the holiday spirit, and it’s a simple craft that even older kids can have fun making. Chances are your kids like to pick up sticks and leaves they find anyway—why not use them to create some fun holiday décor?
5. Handprint Turkey
This is a cute twist on the classic handprint turkey craft. For very young children, you can cut out the hand shapes in advance for them to glue. Older kids can work on their cutting skills and coordination with a pair of safety scissors.
6. Fall Fingerprint Tree
With this free printable, kids can create a frame-worthy piece of fall art with just their fingerprints.
7. Autumn Leaves Stained Glass
Bring the colors of autumn inside, with this simple activity using colorful fall leaves and clear contact paper.
8. Alphabet Turkey Matching Game
Keep the little ones busy on Thanksgiving Day with this cute educational game. Kids can practice their letters with this matching game that uses alphabet cereal (or Scrabble tiles or letter magnets).
9. Fall Leaves Salt Dough Craft
Salt dough is an easy craft to make that uses just three ingredients—water, flour, and salt. Cut out your shapes and bake them in the oven, and your ornaments will last for years to come.
10. Pressed Leaves Place Cards
Kids can help decorate the Thanksgiving table by making these fun place cards. Pressed leaves, cardstock, and glue is all you need!
11. Cornucopia Treats or Place Cards
These candy cornucopias are simple enough for older kids to create. Have them sitting out as a sweet treat for Thanksgiving guests, or just add a name and it becomes an edible place card.
12. Mayflower Craft and Science Activity
These little Mayflower ships are easy to create using materials you may already have around the house. After you make them, head outside (or fill up the sink) and conduct a mini-science experiment to see if they’ll float.
13. Make Beaded Napkin Rings
These beaded napkin rings will brighten up the Thanksgiving table, and even the older kids will have fun making them. Beading is a great way to practice fine-motor skills too, just be sure to supervise young children around those tiny beads! Feel free to add these ornamental figures featured in the picture below.
14. Turkey Counting Math Activity
Kids will have fun practicing their counting skills with this festive turkey craft.
15. Leaf Imprints
Have fun with your child gathering colorful leaves from your yard or neighborhood, and then follow these directions to draw the perfect leaf!
16. Thanksgiving Coloring Pages
Who doesn’t love coloring? Print out these free printable coloring pages to give kids something to do before or after the Thanksgiving meal. You might even catch some of your adult guests joining in the coloring fun!
For even more fall- and Thanksgiving-themed activities, be sure to visit us on Pinterest!
This article originally published November 2014 and has been revised and republished.