Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and the second Monday of October in Canada. Traditionally a harvest festival, Thanksgiving is a day to express gratitude and thanks. Activities associated with this both secular and religious holiday include Thanksgiving dinners, giving thanks, holiday parades, family vacations, and seasonal decorations. The preschool Thanksgiving crafts described in this article allow preschool-aged children to create their own Thanksgiving-themed decorations.
Feathered Hand Turkey
Book: Gracias: The Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley (1996)
Materials: brown construction paper, black crayon, multicolored craft feathers, googly eyes, red felt, glue
Preparation: Cut small triangles out of the red felt.
Instructions: Give each student a piece of brown construction paper, multicolored feathers, one googly eye, and one red felt triangle. Help the students trace their hands onto the brown construction paper with the black crayon. Instruct the preschoolers to glue the googly eye and red felt triangle onto the thumb of the hand to form the eye and the wattle of the turkey. Then help the students glue the craft feathers onto the four fingers and palm of the hand.
Book: Thanksgiving Day by Gail Gibbons (1983)
Materials: paper plates, beige felt, orange felt, cotton balls, green pony beads, red pony beads, yellow pony beads, glue
Preparation: Cut the beige felt into ovals and the orange felt into triangles. Place the beige felt ovals, orange felt triangles, cotton balls, green pony beads, red pony beads, and yellow pony beads into individual bowls.
Instructions: Place the students into small groups. Pass out one bowl of each material to each group. Explain that the beige felt ovals represent turkey, the cotton balls represent mashed potatoes, the green pony beads represent green beans, the yellow pony beads represent corn, the orange felt triangles represent pumpkin pie, and the red pony beads represent cranberries. Give each student a paper plate. Help the students select and glue different “foods” onto their plates.
Optional: Include other materials for other regional Thanksgiving foods such as yellow felt squares for cornbread or black pony beads for beans.
Thankful Paper Chain
Book: Thank You, Thanksgiving by David Milgrim (2003)
Materials: construction paper (red, orange, yellow, brown), crayons, stapler
Preparation: Cut the construction paper into long strips.
Instructions: Pass out construction paper strips to each preschooler. Instruct the students to decorate the strips with drawings of things for which the children are thankful. Some suggested things to be thankful for are parents, siblings, grandparents, pets, friends, homes, and food. Help the students fold and staple the paper strips into circles while interlocking the circles into a chain.
Book: In November by Cynthia Rylant (2000)
Materials: white paper, paint, leaves, containers
Preparation: Pour the paint into small containers with wide openings.
Instructions: Pass out sheets of white paper, containers of paint, and a handful of leaves to each student. Show the children how to dip the leaves into the paint and then press the paint onto the paper. Allow the children to make their own leaf paintings.
Optional: Instead of white paper, provide the preschoolers with white cardstock that can be trimmed down to the size of place cards for the Thanksgiving table.
These four preschool Thanksgiving crafts allow preschool aged children to create art projects to decorate their homes and dinner tables for Thanksgiving. Enjoy!