45 Fun Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids to Keep Them Busy
These easy Thanksgiving crafts for kids won't just keep your little turkeys entertained—they'll also decorate your table for your family's feast. Lay out the glitter and glue, and get your gobble on!
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There’s no doubt about it: Thanksgiving is about planning. OK, so it’s really about gratitude, food, family, and football. But all of those things are a lot easier to pull off in the lead-up to the holiday when kids aren’t at your feet clamoring for snacks or asking, “When is Thanksgiving dinner going to start?” All that good behavior and waiting to eat can be a lot to ask of kids, especially little ones who aren’t used to their parents putting a turkey’s needs before their own. All this is why parents give thanks for Thanksgiving crafts.
First of all, kids’ crafts are cute, and a holiday-themed placemat or wreath is a really nice addition to your Thanksgiving table decor. Secondly, most kids love doing crafts, and it’s a great way to get them involved with the celebrations. Yes, putting kids in charge of some of your Thanksgiving decorations might be a recipe for wonky turkeys and lopsided pumpkins, but it’s one of those Thanksgiving traditions that will give everyone in the family warm fuzzies for years—and will keep the children occupied while you mash potatoes.
Activities like crafting don’t just keep your walls well-stocked with hand turkeys, though; they develop important skills for kids, like patience, fine motor skills, and problem-solving. Plus, anything that means they get to use their imagination for an hour or two is a definite win. There’s a craft on this list for turkeys of all ages, so everyone from grandparents to toddlers can get involved. Start stocking up your craft cupboard now!
This is just one of our editors’ favorite ways to bring joy home this holiday season. Learn more.
Turkey feathers game
This cute game from Think Crafts has it all: turkeys, coloring, gluing feathers to things, and even fun math. First, print out a Think Crafts turkey game board for each of the kids to color as they like. Glue feathers to clothespins so that each player has six. Players roll the die and place a feather clothespin onto the corresponding number on their turkey. While the kids are having fun practicing their counting skills, you can work on calculating the minutes per pound the turkey needs to cook and trying not to break the turkey wishbone as you carve the bird. Isn’t turkey-based math fun?
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If your kids like to get a little messy (and what kid doesn’t?), sitting them down with some paints and glitter is a great way to get their creativity flowing. Bonus: They’ll be out of your hair. These Thanksgiving crafts would make a great centerpiece or porch decoration. You can use real or craft pumpkins, but make sure you use acrylic paints, which are water-based, for easier clean-up and a fast drying time. You can mix glue into the paint to help it adhere to the pumpkin, but be warned: It will also adhere to your kids! Still, as a funny Thanksgiving quote might have said: Better to have painted messily than not painted at all.
Apple print T-shirt
Here’s an extra-fun Thanksgiving activity: Let kids play fashion designer! All you need for this craft are a pack of white tees, some apples (cut in half), and fabric paint. Lay the apples in the paint, then stamp them onto the fabric to create patterns, shapes, or even Thanksgiving cartoons. Kids will love putting their individual stamp on things, and they can wear their creations to Thanksgiving dinner too!
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Gratitude leaf garland
One of the great things about Thanksgiving is that it’s the perfect holiday to teach kids about gratitude. Get their crafty side involved with this easy autumn leaf garland that doubles as a gratitude garland. Let the kids burn off some energy running around the yard to gather leaves while you set out the rest of the supplies: twine or ribbon, glue or mini clothespins for attaching the leaves, and sharpies for writing what they’re grateful for. Have kids write something they’re thankful for on each leaf, then attach the leaves to the twine for a gorgeous Thanksgiving decoration. To get them started, here are some reasons to be grateful this year.
Paper plate football
Some kids take a little longer than others to learn how to tie their shoes. Maybe that’s because, when you think about it, there aren’t really that many opportunities to practice those essential lacing skills in everyday life. Well, this Thanksgiving craft is here to help any child who loves to lace up, as well as those who struggle with it. As a bonus, it’s also perfect for the football fans in your life. Joy over at In the Bag Kids’ Crafts has a genius tutorial for making awesome paper plate footballs—with authentic laces! You can paint them the traditional brown, or show your support by painting or lacing them up in team colors. And the best part? You don’t need elaborate craft supplies, just things you probably already have lying around your home. Do you know why we watch football on Thanksgiving?
Kids love making crafts, but they also love to let their creativity out. This make-a-turkey sticker kit has tons of different possible combinations so that everyone can create the turkey of their dreams. Dress him up with hats, shoes, bow ties, and more. The turkeys can be used to make cute place cards for your Thanksgiving dinner, or you can simply see who can make the wackiest turkey! The silliest turkey might even get your family’s version of a presidential turkey pardon.
Yarn apple garland
Some of our best fall memories stem from a day spent apple picking. But when it comes to crafting with apples, we’d rather put them in a pie than use them for decor. That’s where this adorable Thanksgiving craft from The Best Ideas for Kids comes in. Instead of drying real apples, the kids will make a garland of yarn apples to remember those apple-picking good times. You might even finally use up those random yarn scraps you have lying around. Best of all, it’s perfect for all ages. Only have orange yarn? Pumpkin garland it is! While you work, try your hand at a little Thanksgiving trivia.
“Thankful for” tree
This gorgeous Thanksgiving craft makes a great table centerpiece. You can purchase an adorable wooden tree that slots together, then cut out construction paper leaves, onto which the kids can write the things they are thankful for. Glue the leaves to the tree for a colorful burst of gratitude that will help teach children what Thanksgiving is really about. You can even read them at the table, after the Thanksgiving blessings.
If there are children out there who don’t enjoy decorating cookies they get to eat later, we haven’t heard of them. This Thanksgiving activity does require some prep in the form of baking a couple dozen turkey-shaped cookies. But you can do that a couple nights before. Sit the kids down with the cookies, some icing to help things stick, candy corn, colored candy, and sprinkles. Then let them go to town! Candy corn makes an adorable turkey tail, but kids’ imaginations can go wild here, making each turkey wacky and wonderful. Having turkey troubles? The people who made these Butterball hotline calls can relate.
Paper plate apple pie
With just a couple of paper plates, some paint, and some brown construction paper, your children can create a delicious apple pie. Sure, instead of flour everywhere there’ll be paint on the rug, but putting down some newspaper first will take care of that. This tutorial from Katie at A Little Pinch of Perfect is a genius way to keep kids occupied and possibly even lay the groundwork for a lifetime of creating baked goods—all for you, of course! If your little ones love stamps, you can cut apples in half to use with the paint to create some extra-authentic-looking pie filling. It’s a perfect way to keep the kids busy before you ask them to set the table according to this ultimate guide to a Thanksgiving table setting.
Turkey gratitude box
With an empty tissue box and a few supplies, your kids can make this heartwarming Thanksgiving craft, which doubles as an after-dinner activity. Get everyone to write what they’re thankful for on a slip of paper, pop it in the turkey gratitude box, and take turns reading them out. The warm fuzzies will be flowing thanks to this tutorial from Michael’s. You can pick up everything you need there too. When you’re done sharing, pop on a playlist of Thanksgiving songs and get ready for dessert.
An alternative to the gratitude garland above, this version doubles as the perfect opportunity to practice cutting-out skills. Send your kids outside to gather a variety of different leaves from the yard, then ask them to trace the leaves’ outlines onto fall-colored construction paper (think orange, yellow, red, and brown). Older kids can cut out the leaves by themselves, but younger children might need help with the corners and details. String the paper leaves on some twine and hang them around the room for a beautiful autumnal look. For extra-festive decor, have kids create both leaf garlands and gratitude garlands.
If you’re hosting a large Thanksgiving this year and need a fun activity to keep the kids busy until dinner, look no further. This kit includes 12 placemats; all you need to do is provide the children and colored pencils. The kids will have fun, and you’ll reap the rewards: quiet time for you and individual table settings for your guests. These placemats are more than simple color-in-the-shapes activities. They also include a dot-to-dot section, a tic-tac-toe game, a space for kids to write what they’re most thankful for, and several hidden objects to find. Have the kids do these Thanksgiving crafts before a meal, then break out the Thanksgiving games once the dishes are done.
Cornucopias aren’t just time-honored Thanksgiving crafts; they’re also a great way to display candy, flowers, squash, or anything you want to add to your autumnal centerpiece. And they make great party favors for guests! This amazing tutorial from BiculturalMama.com recycles juice boxes to make super-cute individual cornucopias. We love a craft project that also helps the environment. You could set out some snacks for the kids to fill their cornucopias, or put silverware in them for extra cuteness at place settings.
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Gravy may be everyone’s favorite turkey add-on, but nothing adds color to a Thanksgiving dinner quite like cranberry sauce. The little berries add pops of color to holiday decorations too, whether you’re stringing them up for Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, or Christmas (or all three). All you need are fresh cranberries, dental floss to string, and a thin embroidery needle (this type of needle has a blunt tip, so it’s safer for kids—and clumsy adults!). Knot one end of your string or dental floss and pierce the cranberries. You can alternate with other fruits or berries, add the odd slice of dried orange for even more autumnal color, or go old school by adding in pieces of popcorn.
Candy corn photo frame
Some may say candy corn is only for Halloween, but we say it’s appropriate for the entire fall season. And it’s perfect for Thanksgiving crafts. This simple picture frame is ideal for holding a photo from your family’s day out apple picking. All you need is a plain picture frame; some white-, orange-, and yellow-colored foam; glue; and a plaid or fall-themed ribbon to add a little extra pizzazz. Help your child cut out 15 rounded orange triangles, then cut out and glue yellow strips to the bottom, and mini triangles of white foam to the top. Voilà, candy corn! Glue the corn around the picture frame, alternating the orientation of the corn to cover the gaps. Ask your child to try tying the ribbon in a bow; it’s good practice for those pesky shoelaces. Then glue it to a corner, add a cute fall photo, and enjoy!
We all know that Thanksgiving is about celebrating our blessings, but no one could deny that one of those blessings is pie. Lots of pie. Well, with this fun paper pie garland kit, you and your kids don’t have to choose between pumpkin and pecan, or whatever the most popular Thanksgiving pie in your state is currently. The kit comes with pie slices, pom-poms, and ribbons for hanging. Supply your own glue and tape, and your walls will be Thanksgiving-ready!
Pine cone hedgehogs
Hedgehogs are in the top three cutest woodland animals (it’s science), and now you can use all the things your kids collect out on those autumn walks to add some new friends to your fall decor. These pine cone hedgehogs from Jen at Mum in the Mad House are the sweetest! Just add googly eyes and felt to your pine cones, and you’ll soon have a whole family of little hogs—just in time for dinner.
Fall leaf wreath
A wreath made of real autumn leaves adds a fall feeling to any room. Luckily, they’re not too hard to make and are perfect for crafty kids. It’s best to use leaves that are dry and flat, preferably in several different colors. Green leaves make for a beautiful pop of color against the warmer reds, yellows, and oranges. For the wreath base, you can use a large wooden embroidery hoop or a pool noodle shaped and glued into a circle. Hot glue or pin the leaves around the hoop, layering them for maximum effect, and attach some ribbon or string for hanging. Your living room will become an autumn wonderland just in time for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
Pumpkin counting craft
We all want our kids to get comfortable with numbers. Well, what better way to practice counting and simple addition than with a fun pumpkin bingo game that you can make yourself? Just paint the dice and glue the numbers onto the grid in this craft activity from Michael’s (you can stock up on supplies there too). Kids will have fun playing the game: Roll the dice, add the numbers that come up, and cover that number with a pumpkin. The first to put down 12 pumpkins wins.
Autumn Leaf DIY Suncatchers
These gorgeous suncatchers will keep the kids busy and bring a true fall feeling into your home. Winlyn’s DIY Autumn Leaf Suncatcher kit is perfect for children who love to color. The leaves are made of plastic, so there’s no risk of breakage as the kids paint them, and the range of colors and beads included will let kids’ creativity shine. Once the paint is dry, hang the leaves on your windows. As the sun shines through, you’ll see beautiful colored shadows on your walls, the perfect accompaniment to a sunset Thanksgiving dinner.
Football may not be part of the real history of Thanksgiving, but it sure plays a big role in the modern celebration. Got a football fan in your life? This cute craft uses Perler beads, so children will need adult supervision with the iron. Simply download the pattern from Michael’s and follow it to create a piece of jewelry to delight the sports enthusiast in your family. After all, football and Thanksgiving go together like turkey and gravy.
For these Thanksgiving crafts, you’ll need several different colors of construction paper for the feathers: brown, orange, and whatever other colors you and your kids love. Help your child cut out the shapes, including a wide strip for the crown, some feet and a beak, a head, and a round turkey body. Then cut out a bunch of different-colored ovals for the feathers. Older kids might enjoy adding some feathering details on the sides. If your kid is blessed with a lot of hair or a big head, you might need two strips of paper for the crown. Use googly eyes to give your turkey an extra-silly look, and tape or glue it all together.
This super-simple turkey counting game from The Pragmatic Parent on Etsy can be printed out as many times as you need. Pair it with some colored candy (jelly beans or M&Ms would work well), and you’ve got a guaranteed hit with the little ones. As a bonus, they’ll learn some sneaky math while competing for candy. So print out the game sheet, grab a couple of dice and colored candy, and get ready for fun. Players add the dots on two dice, match the number to the feather, and match the candy color to the feather color. The first one to fill their turkey feather wins. And in case your kids need a reminder of what sportsmanship means, you can add “totally annihilating your sibling at Roll-a-Turkey” to the list of things never to discuss at Thanksgiving dinner.
If you’re the type to put beautiful gourds on your front porch every fall, you know that by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, some of them are looking a little worse for wear. Jazz up those pumpkins by creating one last piece of fall decor: a turkey pumpkin! If an adult in the house is particularly crafty (and willing to do some prep work), you can create a wooden neck and tail feathers. Otherwise, you can get the same effect with some skewers, construction paper, and glue or tape. Simply cut out different-colored feathers and add a head. Stick googly eyes on, and don’t forget the wattle! Then attach each piece to a skewer. They should slide easily into your old pumpkins. When you’re done with that, settle the kids down for a fun Thanksgiving movie.
Go old school with this craft. Kids can trace their hands onto construction paper, then cut out their handprints (help younger kids with those scissors!) to make colorful feathers. A couple of brown circles serve as the turkey’s body and head, a triangle becomes its nose, and googly eyes complete the craft.
Turkey pretzel sticks
What’s better than a yummy Thanksgiving treat that the kids can make but you can all share? For these Thanksgiving crafts, dip pretzel rods in melted chocolate or peanut butter. Use candy eyeballs for the eyes and candy corn for the feathers and nose. These darling little turkeys will make fun after-dinner treats for kids and adults, and the little ones will feel proud to be contributing to the celebration.
As far as Thanksgiving crafts for kids go, this one might just take the cake. This activity will get the kids outside as they hunt for colorful leaves. Encourage them to look for leaves in a fun assortment of sizes, colors, and textures. Once they’ve gathered their materials, give the kids glue and a large sheet of paper—and let them have at it! There’s no right or wrong way to create a leaf mosaic. Once their creations are dry, you can use them as temporary placemats on the kiddie table. Make the placements last a bit longer by laminating them with laminating paper. Run out of supplies? These stores are open on Thanksgiving for last-minute buys.
The best Thanksgiving crafts for kids are the ones that serve a dual purpose: This one will keep the kids busy and also produce a pretty centerpiece. Plus, it’s eco-friendly. Pine cones are a fun, natural crafting medium that can be used for a variety of projects. For this one, make sure that your pine cones are clean and dry before use. The bottom of the pine cone will be the flower, so you will need to cut off all the pieces from the top of the pine cone about halfway down. (Adults will need to help littles with the cutting.) Give the kiddos acrylic paint to color the little flowers any shades they like. Once dried, place the pine-cone flowers into a shallow bowl and use it as a festive centerpiece.
Just ask the squirrels: Autumn is the best time for forage in the yard for nuts! Acorns, in particular, are perfect for creating mini animals. If you don’t have access to nuts in the yard, no worries. In the fall, grocery stores are stocked with nuts of all shapes and sizes. Just stick with the semi-soft-shelled varieties, like chestnuts, so the kids can easily pierce the shells with toothpicks. Extend the holiday fun by gobbling up these Thanksgiving memes.
Maggy at Red Ted Art has created many Thanksgiving crafts for kids. One favorite? These paper leaves that are perfect for Thanksgiving and fall. Made with a square piece of paper of any type, these leaves are a cinch to make and can even be used to create colorful leaf garlands.
Paper-roll Pilgrims and Indians
Upcycled crafts are great activities for kids since they teach them not to be wasteful and to be kind to the environment. Use empty paper towels or toilet paper rolls to make this adorable little Pilgrim and Indian set. The entire craft uses just craft paper, scissors, glue, and markers. Create an entire village and re-create the first Thanksgiving on your dinner table.
This sweet little turkey is the perfect craft for your little bookworms to keep their reading spots safe and secure. Maggy of Red Ted Art creates her turkey book-corner bookmark entirely out of paper. And who knows—with a craft this cute, you just may turn non-readers into book fans. If you’re in a DIY state of mind, check out these Thanksgiving place cards you’ll want on your table.
Looking for an activity that will get the kids outside—and off their electronics? These pine-cone turkeys are the perfect Thanksgiving crafts for kids since they’re easy to create with foraged items from your yard. Search for medium to large pine cones and large, colorful leaves. Use paper to create the turkey’s head and feet. Secure all the pieces onto the pine cone with school glue. The pine-cone turkeys will look adorable lining your mantle, entry table, or as an impromptu table runner on the dinner table.
Leaves make wonderful natural palettes for painting—and this craft produces a particularly gorgeous effect. First, find large leaves that have recently fallen and are not too brittle. Then apply a base coat of acrylic paint onto the leaves and let it dry. The kids can paint abstract designs on the leaves with paint pens, gel pens, or with a contrasting color of acrylic paint. Apply a layer of decoupage on the top of the finished artwork to help preserve the artwork.
Let your child show off some Thanksgiving style by helping make this adorable turkey ring. Use it as a finger puppet or just a fashion statement. Find out how to make one at I Heart Crafty Things.
Pony bead corn
Grab some autumnal pony beads and pipe cleaners for this festive maize craft. Get the full directions from Think Crafts!
This charming turkey is cute enough to be a centerpiece at your Thanksgiving feast. The best part? You can finally use up any scraps of leftover ribbon you have lying around. Visit I Heart Crafty Things to find the instructions. Speaking of turkeys, these are the top tips for buying the perfect turkey this year.
Thanksgiving crafts for kids like this one can do more than just occupy them for a while. Help your children remember the heart behind the holiday by creating this appreciation pumpkin. You and your kids will have a great time counting your blessings, and you can keep it for years to come. Find out how to make one from The Moffatt Girls.
Paper roll turkey
Transform an old toilet paper roll into this colorful turkey, complete with rainbow plumage, as Mariah from The Simple Parent did. First, paint the roll brown and the clothespins in a rainbow of colors. Once they’re dry, attach googly eyes and a construction paper nose and wattle to the roll, then clip the clothespins at the top.
Pilgrim hat crayon cup
Thanksgiving crafts for kids like this one can be both fun and useful. Prep this Pilgrim hat cup with your kids before the big day, then let them stash their crayons there while working on Thanksgiving coloring and activity books. Find out how to make one at Lil’ Luna. Another option: write a Thanksgiving quote about gratitude on the hat to remind kinds why we celebrate the holiday.
Cereal corn craft
This cob gives a new definition to corn-based cereal. Pick out the fall-colored O’s from your breakfast bowl and turn them into this fun craft. Learn how from The Simple Parent. You can do a craft like this no matter where you’re celebrating Thanksgiving. While this corn might not make it onto your ultimate Thanksgiving menu, it sure is cute to look at.
Skip the feather headbands, and create these festive fall crowns for this year’s Thanksgiving feast. Use fabric leaves if you want it to last the season, or make an afternoon of gathering fallen leaves with your kids. Made Everyday has the directions.
Thanksgiving crafts for kids don’t have to be complicated. Here’s a new kind of turkey trot, courtesy of Fun-a-Day. Make your turkey foot stamps waddle down the page, or stamp them randomly for a fun pattern. Happy, healthy kids are certainly a reason to give thanks. Here are more reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving.
Salt dough leaves
Before you get too busy in the kitchen, start a salt dough recipe. While you’re rolling out the pie crust (you know, if you’re going homemade instead of picking up a quick Costco pumpkin pie), your kids will love mashing up their own dough with festive leaf stamps. Get more information from The Life of Jennifer Dawn.