By Beth Engelman and Jenna Riggs of Mommy on a Shoestring
Celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving with these family friendly crafts and activities.
Teach your kids the story of the first Thanksgiving with this memorable craft. Your kids will love having a special bracelet for their Thanksgiving feast and you will love knowing they learned a bit of American History in the process. Thank you to Jennifer W and her blog, Ramblings of a Crazy Woman, for inspiring this activity.
You will need:
Have your children string their bracelets according to the story of Thanksgiving.
- String 1 bead (any color) to represent the Pilgrims leaving England.
- String 1 white bead to represent the white sails on the Mayflower.
- String 3 blue beads to represent the long trip over the ocean.
- Add 1 green bead to show when the Pilgrims saw land.
- The Pilgrim’s first winter was long and snowy, so add 3 white beads to represent winter.
- String 1 green bead for the arrival of spring.
- String 1 yellow bead to represent the warmth of the sun.
- Add one bead (any color) to represent the Native Americans who helped the Pilgrims.
- Add 4 beads to represent the food the Pilgrims and Native Americans enjoyed together on Thanksgiving which includes:
- 1 red bead for cranberries.
- 1 yellow bead for corn.
- 1 brown bead for turkey.
- 1 orange bead for pumpkin.
- Once the beading is complete, twist the ends of the pipe cleaner together to make a bracelet.
Create a family heirloom with this charming craft idea.
You will need:
Small tree branch (cleaned and dried)
Paper (cut into leaf shapes)
Markers and / or crayons
- Place tree branch in vase. If necessary, use stones or acorns to anchor the branch in place.
- Ask each guest to write or draw one thing for which they are grateful. On the other side of the paper, have them draw a self-portrait and write their name and age.
- Punch a hole at the top of each leaf and hang them on your “tree” with ribbon.
- When the holiday is over, keep your leaves in a secure spot so you can hang them on your tree next year, being sure to add “new” leaves as well. In years to come your tree will be full of leaves as well as reminders of holidays past.
A is for Apple, U is for Unscramble Place-Cards
If you or your children love puzzles, this clever DIY place-card craft is for you.
Apples and/or pears
Colored cardstock or index cards
- Make the name-card holder by making a slit at the top of each piece of fruit.
- Make the name-cards by writing the scramble letters of each guest’s name on a small piece of card stock.
- Place the scrambled name-cards in the fruit holders right before the guests come to the table to ensure the paper doesn’t get too soggy.
- When your guests arrive at the table, ask them to unscramble each name to find their seat.
If you are in search of an icebreaker, or need an activity the whole family can enjoy, try one of these Thanksgiving games that come courtesy of Mary Giles, Executive Editor of Disney FamilyFun magazine.
This game keeps restless kids engaged and entertained between courses.
Object: To pass a set of items (almond, acorn, cranberry, and pea) around the table using chopsticks (or a small spoon) without dropping them.
Chopsticks or spoons
- Each player gets either a set of chopsticks or a small spoon (perfect for younger players).
- Place the almond, acorn, cranberry, and pea on a small plate.
- Place the plate next to the oldest player who will begin the game by passing each item to the person on his right, who will receive it with chopsticks and pass it along to the next player. The game continues until all the items have been passed around the table.
Turkey Egg Hunt
Object: To find the hidden turkey egg using the following clues:
“Gobble, gobble” = you’re getting closer to the egg.
“Giblet, giblet” = you’re moving away from the egg.
One hard-boiled egg
- Chose one player to leave the room while the “turkey” egg is hidden.
- When the player returns, the others will call out “gobble, gobble” or “giblet, giblet,” to help the seeker find the egg. Once the egg is found, a new seeker is named, and the game repeats.
Jenna Riggs and Beth Engelman are the creative talents and owners of Mommy on a Shoestring, a website and weekly radio show chock full of ideas on how families can live creatively and large on a small budget.