Making Your Own Thanksgiving Decorations, With Kids

Rather than go out and spend money on decorations for your home and table for Thanksgiving, have a look around at what you can repurpose for this use. Go outside and gather some of those leaves that are changing colors, pick up some acorns and some pine cones. Almost anything can be turned into a festive Thanksgiving display.

For my part I went through some of my Christmas boxes and pulled out a lantern I usually use at Christmas. Why Christmas? I have no idea other than I bought it one year at Christmas time and now it has become a Christmas decoration. Decorate the bottom with some found acorns, leaves and pinecones. Get your children involved. A glass bowl or basket filled with apples can be a beautiful centerpiece. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can’t decorate with useful items. Have your children make crafts with you to decorate with for the holiday. Move beyond the traced handprint turkey that is some sort of rite of passage in elementary school. I think my mother still has mine. I decided that I was going to be all Martha Stewarty and carve small pumpkins for Thanksgiving. I was going to carve one letter into each of them so that they would spell “Give Thanks” and they would be lit and look beautiful up on my mantle come Thanksgiving Day. That would be ten pumpkins for those of you counting at home. Yes, I was feeling rather ambitious.

Then I had an even BETTER idea. While at the craft store I found these things called Funkins, which are like a heavy styrofoam pumpkin that you are able to carve. So I bought those. This way they would be a permanent decoration. I brought them home and my kids were all exciting to do this project. We cut out some letters from a template. Then I quickly came to the realization that small sharp knives and children cutting out difficult letters is not a good combination.

So we decided to just stick the letters on the pumpkins. And you know what? I am glad that I rescued this craft from myself and allowed the kids to do it. They are so proud. Though I still think having them carved with lights inside would look really nice and if I had older kids helping I would allow them to carve the funkins.

Then we made a Thanksgiving turkey. This was easy enough for all ages to have something to do. My 4 and 8 year old sons did most of the work. Supplies: — A large styrofoam ball — A small styrofoam ball — Dark brown yarn — Tan yarn — Craft sticks — Construction paper — Scissors — Glue

Step One: Completely wrap your large styrofoam ball with the dark brown yarn. This will be your turkey’s body. Wrapping the yarn is more difficult than you would think. Repeat the process with the smaller styrofoam ball.

Using your craft sticks attach the “head” to the “body”. I used two more craft sticks as “feet” to stabilize the body so the turkey didn’t lay down on his face.

Feel free to dress up in any turkey themed masks or costumes you might have. It just makes it that much more festive. Cut out paper feathers for your turkey and glue them to your craft sticks. It is on these “feathers” that you will have everyone write what they are thankful for.

Don’t forget to make your turkey a little face.

Set a basket of the construction paper feathers near the turkey. When you have guests over this month ask them to fill out a feather and stick it into your turkey. We put our names and ages on our feathers. Just in case there is some confusion about why an adult would be thankful for SpongeBob. What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving Day than to be able to look over all the blessings you and your friends have to be thankful for this year. At a time when so many of us are feeling the pinch of the economy it is easy to get caught in the poor me trap. Let your turkey remind all of you, especially the children, that you have all the things that really matter.



  1. Jet
    Posted November 11, 2009 at 12:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Did you make the masks? Did you have a pattern? I love the turkey idea, I think we’ll do it.

  2. jean
    Posted November 11, 2009 at 1:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great job! I love the turkey masks.

  3. vermontmommy
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very sweet and easy crafts. LOVE that!

  4. Fabs
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’d love to see a post about the masks! Is there a pattern you used?

  5. Lisa
    Posted November 17, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Love the styro-turkey idea…was thinking too that all those found leaves would make great turkey feathers as well.
    Awesome…craft store here I come.

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