I didn't think I could love Thanksgiving more than I already did. After all, I was born on Thanksgiving and really enjoy the Thanksgiving feast, traditions, time with family, and emphasis on gratitude.
And then I had kids, which opened up a whole new world of Thanksgiving activities, and I fell in love with Thanksgiving even more. With two toddlers at home, holidays are often an opportunity to set up craft paper and pom poms at the kitchen table, and chat about the upcoming festivities.
Of course, finding those activities can be time-consuming, so we went ahead and put together a list of 13 fun Thanksgiving activities for kids, so you can jump right to the fun stuff. You won't need outrageous supplies for these activities; in fact, most of what you'll need you'll probably already have in your craft cabinet. If not, you can order almost any of the necessary supplies from Amazon.
The remainder you might need to find in your own back yard or in the wooded section of a local park. Twigs and sticks and leaves are perfect for autumn projects, and there's the added bonus that collecting all those items is an activity in itself. If you have a contained back yard or kids who you can trust to run around the neighborhood and return safely, the collection of those items can get your children out from underfoot just long enough to make your shopping list for the holiday or look for a new pie recipe.
And of course, you might want to keep one of these activities handy and ready to go for Thanksgiving morning, especially if you’re entertaining or bringing a dish to a potluck. These Thanksgiving activities for kids will be perfect for distracting them while you perfect the stuffing.
1. Feather Letter Wild Turkey
Celebrate Thanksgiving with these feather letter turkeys, which make the perfect Thanksgiving turkey craft for kids who are preschool aged and up, although even smaller kids could make them with a bit more help. This idea from Growing Book by Book would be great to set your kids up with at the table on Thanksgiving morning.
2. Pumpkin Turkey
Well, this Thanksgiving activity won’t exactly get you a lot of time to bake a pumpkin pie in peace, because you’ll definitely want to supervise this pumpkin painting and you may not do it on the day of Thanksgiving, but it will make for some very colorful pumpkins to put on your front step or even on your Thanksgiving table. Hello, Wonderful is always coming up with winner activities for kids on the holidays, so bookmark the site for Christmas coming up.
3. Turkey Cookies
These turkey cookies from A Turtle’s Life for Me tick all the boxes. They’re cute and would be easy for kids to help you bake and then put together, but they would work equally well with bakery-bought cookies. Then, your kid can give them to his or her teacher, reinforcing their gratitude for people in their lives. It’s a win-win of a Thanksgiving activity.
4. Turkey Placemats
Placemats were my jam when I was little. My sister and I used to take the task so seriously when my parents were hosting Thanksgiving dinner. We had a large enough extended family that making placemats for everyone was quite an undertaking. These placemats from I Heart Arts N Crafts would be perfect for smaller kids who aren’t quite ready to be set off on their own with paint or art supplies.
5. Fall Leaf Garland
A fall leaf garland might be just what your home needs for decorating before Thanksgiving. This idea from Hello, Wonderful, takes quite a few steps but the result will be worth the effort. You’ll need chalk pastels, glue, and black card, in addition to string and beads. When this is finished, you could hang it from your mantle for the perfect holiday decoration.
6. Thanksgiving Banner
I love every single project featured on Art Bar, and this one is no different. The beauty of this banner with a Thanksgiving theme is that it’s so simple - and a child’s artwork will make it stand out. You don’t need to have perfect handwriting in order to make it, you just need to write block letters and let your kids paint over the entire thing with watercolor paints. The key here is that you want good materials to work with, because there’s nothing worse than trying to use watercolor paints on paper that just disintegrates.
7. Fall Leaves Paintbrush
Here’s another Thanksgiving craft from Hello, Wonderful that involves collecting things from outside before using them. This time, it’s collecting leaves from the lawn, or the neighbor’s lawn, or the park next door. Then you use a stick and a rubber band to make them into a paint brush to make delightful kids Thanksgiving artwork.
8. Yogurt Cup Turkeys
Do your kids ever sucker you into buying individual yogurts in colorful cups? Well, you’re in luck. You can turn them into yogurt cup turkeys, doesn’t that sound like a cute way to reuse those yogurt cups? It’s a very clever Thanksgiving turkey craft from Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails that will give your kids something to do - and possibly even play with - while you put that award-winning pumpkin pie in the oven.
9. Garland of Thanks
I love that this garland of thanks from Mamma Pappa Bubba takes very little equipment, but has a few steps that make it really special. Your kiddo can collect leaves, then paint them to use as stamps. Then you cut them out and either you or they can write on them with the people and things they are thankful for. String it up and hang it across your wall or mantle for the perfect Thanksgiving decoration.
10. Thankful Banner
If you don’t have leaves in your neighborhood (hello, Arizona!) but you can still put together a pretty sweet thankful banner, like this one from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails. You don’t have to scavenge for anything with this simple garland of cut leaves. If you have a small child who is practicing scissor work, you can draw leaf shapes and they can cut them out with a little supervision.
11. Watercolor Leaf Placecards
Placecards were only second to placemats in my childhood Thanksgiving list. I loved making coordinating sets! These watercolor leaf placecards from Art Bar would be very simple for even the smallest kids to be able to work on. They can do the watercolor part and you can do the cutting and writing of names, or older kids can help with those parts as well.
12. Paper Bag Turkey
This isn’t exactly a craft that a kid could easily put together, but wouldn’t it be so fun for kids to have a turkey-shaped snack for their crafting? This paper bag turkey is a little like a piñata - it’s stuffed with popcorn for your kids to munch on while they work on their Thanksgiving activities.
13. Recycled Turkey Craft
This is another thanksgiving turkey craft that will help you reuse things you have around the house or in the recycling bin. You can use whatever old cardboard or paper you have around the house to help your kids make Thanksgiving turkeys like these from Art Bar.
If you aren’t sure about creating all of these on your own, you can easily order a turkey craft kit from Amazon and even have it delivered quickly with Amazon Prime. This turkeys party activity would be a good option as well, if you were looking for a Thanksgiving craft to do with a whole bunch of kids. Craft kit turkeys are easy to find on Etsy as well, so if your kids really enjoy making turkeys (like I did as a kid) you’ve got a ton of options.