While older children often want to be helpful in making preparations for the Thanksgiving feast, what can little ones—those not ready for kitchen duty—do to contribute to the holiday? They can make decorations—placemats, place cards, flower pots and crafts projects—to dress up the table and make the feast day even more festive. Here are five such simple crafts kids can make on Thanksgiving.
Pilgrim Hat Flower Pot
Everyone knows what a Pilgrim’s hat looks like, a tall black top hat with a large buckle. Turned upside down, they make very nice flower pots – provided there is an actual pot inside the hat to help it stand up and hold the flowers.Materials:
- A tall flower pot or small, wide-mouthed vase.
- Black cloth, felt or construction paper.
- Black poster board or cardboard
- Yellow or gold/brass colored cloth, felt or construction paper
- Tape and scissors
- Measure and cut black cloth, felt or construction paper so there is enough to wrap around the pot or vase.
- Turn pot right side up, place on another piece of the black material, and trace around the base. This will be used to cover the base of the pot.
- Place pot open side down on black poster board and trace a circle around the mouth. Measure out at least four inches from that circle and draw another circle (this will be the brim).
- Measure and cut out a “buckle” for the hat from the yellow or gold/brass colored cloth felt or construction paper.
- Attach black material to base and sides of pot using tape.
- Attach brim to open top of pot using tape.
- Glue or tape “buckle” on center front of pot.
May decorate with a thin strip of yellow or red cloth where brim meets hat.
Fill with flowers.
Personalized Pumpkin Placemats
Pumpkin pie is to Thanksgiving as jack-o-lanterns are to Halloween. Most kids can draw a pumpkin – or at least can trace one from a picture in a coloring book or magazine.There are several variations on this theme, depending upon how fancy and how much work the kids (and their parents) are willing to put into making them.
The simplest version is to just draw and color a pumpkin on poster board. The pumpkin can have a face – or not – and should have the name of whoever is going to be using it as a placemat – thus personalizing it and allowing it to serve double duty as a place card.
A second version involves drawing the pumpkin on sturdier material – such as orange felt or cloth. The felt or cloth can be backed with thick cardboard or sewn onto an old towel, which can then be trimmed to the same size and shape as the pumpkin. This latter version will serve better as a place mat, as it will absorb spills.
Painted Gourds Place Cards
Small pumpkins or gourds are good surfaces on which to paint. Children can use their imaginations (or copy from Thanksgiving cards, ads, or book illustrations) to paint a turkey, pilgrim hat, pilgrim, autumn leaves, a Native American or the Mayflower on their pumpkin or gourd. They can then make little place cards to attach to the stems of the pumpkin or gourd with some tape. Then they can use their own name and use it to mark where they will be sitting at the Thanksgiving table – or they can make the name show where grandma or grandpa or Aunt Betsy will sit.
Using a lemon, orange or grapefruit as the body, children can make their own citrus turkey. A small pinecone makes for a good head – but so will a Styrofoam ball from a craft store or a ping pong ball – anything that can be stuck to the fruit with a couple of sturdy toothpicks.Most of the rest of the turkey is made from construction paper or cardboard. A wattle (the part that dangles from the throat) and crown (if desired) can be made from red paper. The best design for a wattle is to draw a heart, cut it out and fold it in half.
The tail can be made from construction paper and colored or painted to resemble feathers, or if big, clean, sturdy autumn leaves are available, they can be attached with tape or glue. The same goes for the wings.
A beak should be made from yellow paper – or paper colored yellow.
To keep the turkey standing up, feet must be made and attached. Some sturdy cardboard, colored or painted brown, make for a good base, and can be attached with glue.
Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.