Help your kids learn about the history and meaning behind the Thanksgiving holiday by joining with them to create inexpensive, fun crafts.
Using items you have around the house, kids can make a number of cute items that children and adults will love.
Turkey napkin holders
Start with a cardboard base slightly larger than length and width of the stacked paper napkins you’ll be putting on the table or buffet. At one end, attach a paper plate with the bottom trimmed flat and attached to the piece of cardboard. Place brightly colored paper feathers around the circumference of the plate to make the back of the turkey. Write the names of guests on the tail feathers, or have kids write a word on each feather that identifies something they are thankful for this holiday. At the front end of the cardboard base, use part of a paper towel roll to make a turkey neck, placing a face at the top, complete with a beak and a red wattle that hangs underneath the neck.
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Pilgrim hat utensil holders
If you’re serving a buffet, put your knives, forks and spoons in black pilgrim hats, complete with a wide brim as the base and a golden or brass colored buckle in the middle of each hat. Start with the cup or other utensil holder. Wrap black construction paper around it and draw or paste the buckle in the middle. Create a stable cardboard base and cover it with black construction paper to make the brim of the hat. If possible, slightly angle the hat so it’s wider at the bottom and tapers toward the top of the “hat” just like a pilgrim’s hat.
Native American 'achievement bonnets'
Make sure to include a celebration of Native Americans (also referred to as “indigenous peoples”). War bonnets or headdresses are headgear featuring feathers, each earned from a feat of bravery, courage or honor, or as a gift of gratitude for an act performed. Instead of war bonnets, help your kids make “achievement bonnets” that feature a real or paper feather that signifies an accomplishment in their life that makes them proud. Have kids wear them to dinner, and every 10 minutes or so, take a break from grownup conversation and ask one child to explain the meaning of each feather in his or her bonnet. Make sure kids know not to use the term “Indians” and that headdresses are special to Native Americans.
Paper towel roll figurines
Save the cardboard rolls from paper towels and cut them in half or thirds to create a Thanksgiving diorama, complete with pilgrims and Native Americans. Include male and female figures from each group in their traditional garbs. Let kids use construction paper, glue and markers to create clothing and accessories. You can make heads out of Styrofoam circles or golf balls. Add hats, feathered headdresses, pipe cleaner arms and accessories. If you want to use your figurines as napkin rings for your place settings, keep them simple (without arms and headgear) and place the faces near the top of the rolls instead of making heads. To make the figures more fun, have kids make a figurine for each one of your guests, matching their hair color, glasses, etc.