Before I became a mom, I always pictured myself as one of those moms who checks library books out for every holiday. I thought I’d do crafty projects with my kids nearly every day and always be up to date on the season’s appropriate crafts.
Now, I’m actually a mom and holidays sneak up on me. Every single time. I don’t know why “It’s November” doesn’t register in my brain as “Time to find some fun turkey crafts and check out library books about Thanksgiving!” But, for whatever reason, I’m not that on the ball.
So, this weekend, I started to think about Thanksgiving. Honestly, I felt kinda proud of myself, because I was almost a week before the holiday! (It’s the first time that’s ever happened!) I searched our library’s online catalog for Thanksgiving books and realized they’re all already checked out. Go figure. And some of them are due next week… meaning they’ve been checked out for a month. These moms are on the ball!
Giving up on the books, I figured I’d just tell the story of the first Thanksgiving off the top of my head. I think I know it well enough. (My mom actually got me Thanksgiving books in time…)
Next, I started to look up easy Thanksgiving-themed ideas. When I searched “easy Thanksgiving activities for preschoolers,” a lot of the activity and craft ideas that came up were a bit too complicated for us. (And most of them looked like an adult made them, rather than a 3 year old!) After quite a bit of time searching & a fun morning at the children’s museum, I found quite a few fun ideas that require very little planning (or money) on my part. If you’re last-minute like I am, no worries – I’ve got you covered with these 12 ideas for easy Thanksgiving-themed fun:
1. “Let Us Give Thanks!” Coloring page from DLTK.
2. Turkey Toilet Paper Roll Craft from DLTK- Beach Girl isn’t old enough to assemble this craft entirely on her own without us both pulling our hair out, so I made the turkey myself and then she colored the paper, helped me accordion fold it, and stuck it in the toilet paper roll. She’s had fun playing with her “owl.”
3. Thanksgiving picnic – gather any play food (Thanksgiving-related or not!) and have a picnic on the floor as you tell the story of the first Thanksgiving and think of what you are thankful for.
4. Turkey clothes pin color matching from Raptor Mama. This turkey is such a cute and fun way to teach color matching!
5. Paper plate turkey – Beach Girl made this at the children’s museum and, let’s be honest: this doesn’t look much like a turkey. But, she had fun making it anyway! You’ll need a paper plate, glue, a marker or some stickers for the eyes, tissue paper (for the wattle), and colorful paper for the feathers. You could also write something you’re thankful for on each of the feathers.
6. Thanksgiving mobile (originally from Made by Joel) – This one looks so artistic and professional! It probably wasn’t made by children, but they could at least contribute ideas of what to write.
7. “Dress a turkey” – This is another fun activity we did at the children’s museum. Just grab some feathers, a piece of cardstock, stickers or markers for the eyes, and glue. Cut a piece of cardstock into the shape of a turkey and decorate!
8. Turkey Snowflake – I don’t think Beach Girl is quite ready for this, but this idea to cut a paper bag like a snowflake and then decorate it to look like a turkey is super cute.
9. Turkey spoon craft – Decorate a wooden spoon with colorful popsicle sticks to look like a turkey.
10. Grateful jar – A few weeks ago, I told y’all that I’d be filling my jar with things I’m thankful for in hopes that it would help me be more grateful. It has been such a blessing to me and has helped me enjoy and remember the little moments. Even though Thanksgiving is soon, I’d encourage you to start this and continue it throughout the year.
11. Handprint turkey – This is probably the most typical toddler/preschool Thanksgiving activity, but also my favorite. Beach Baby made this as her first-ever craft at school last week and it’s so special to me! Every time she sees it, her face lights up and she rubs her hands together and then puts her hand over the handprint as if to show me how she made it. I’m inspired to get crafting with her!
12. If you’re really adventurous, you could go turkey bowling with your kids. That was one of our favorite Thanksgiving activities to do with the youth group when Beach Dad was a youth minister. I’m pretty grossed out by a frozen turkey (even in it’s packaging) but I’m pretty sure even my 3-year-old could hoist a turkey across the pavement to knock down some empty soda bottles!
So, even if you’re a bit behind on craft-planning like I was, I hope these ideas will inspire you to have some Thanksgiving-themed fun with your family over the next few days. And, if you have any other ideas, I’d love for you to share them in the comments.
I’ll be away from the computer this week to celebrate with my family, but make sure to check back next week for the next installment in my “Give Great Gifts on A Bare-Bones Budget” series or subscribe to stay up to date.
Have a great Thanksgiving!