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Thanksgiving Table Crafts

Hands-on craft ideas to entertain kids on Thanksgiving.

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The wait for the Thanksgiving turkey can seem endless, especially for hungry little ones. Creating a child-friendly and interactive table gives kids something to do while they wait and keeps them occupied while the grown-ups talk. Whether you set up a separate kids’ table or make a special spot at the big table, these projects will make the younger crowd feel like a part of the celebration.

To begin, cover your table or a separate kids’ table with butcher (kraft) paper to create a space for doodling and coloring. Make a couple doodles and games on the paper before the meal to get kids started. Add an extra layer of paper or a plastic tablecloth underneath to protect the table from possible marker mistakes.

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Place markers or crayons in hand-painted turkey jars (see right) so they can easily be passed around and collected when it’s time to eat. They also work as a place for children to share the things for which they are thankful.

To help kids feel like they’ve added a special touch of their own to the Thanksgiving table, have them create place cards and place mats (see right), using felt or Oly-Fun, a material that works like fabric but cuts like paper.

Hand-Painted Jar Turkeys

Supplies:

Instructions:

  1. Paint the entire outside of the jars with brown paint. Let dry.
  2. Paint white circles for the eyes. Let dry. Add black to the eyes once the white is dry.
  3. Add the turkey’s beak and wattle with orange and red paint.
  4. Let all the paint dry completely then add a thick layer of matte Mod Podge.
  5. Cut feathers out of cardstock. Separate the hook-and-loop fasteners and add one side to the back of the jar and one side to the front of the feathers.
  6. Write what you are grateful for on the feathers, or let each guest write their own items. Match up the hook-and-loop on the jar and on the feathers to make them stick.

Place Mats

Supplies:

Instructions:

  1. Cut fabric in a large rectangle, circle, or 12-inch square. If using Oly-Fun, no need to hem or finish the edges, the cloth will not fray.
  2. Cut fun shapes, letters, or borders from a coordinating color of fabric to decorate the place mats. Glue or sew the shapes on top of the place mat.
  3. Cut a fringe around the edge of the place mat, if desired.
  4. Use leftover scraps of fabric to tie up silverware at each place.

Pumpkin Place Cards

Supplies:

Instructions:

  1. Cut out two pumpkin shapes per place card.
  2. Glue two pumpkin shapes together to create a sturdy place card.
  3. Cut a stem for each pumpkin out of brown felt.
  4. Use stencils to trace each child’s name or initials onto felt and cut out.
  5. Cut a short piece of ribbon and tie in a bow.
  6. Glue all embellishments to the front of each pumpkin.

After the holiday meal, the place cards can be hung with clothespins to a long piece of twine to create a decorative garland.

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