Easy Thanksgiving Crafts For Toddlers {and tips for parents too}

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easy toddler crafts for thanksgThanksgiving is on Thursday but it’s not too late to plan some fun and easy Thanksgiving crafts for your toddler. These activities were all done with my kids when they were toddlers ( 18 months – 3 years old)  but have been repeated when they were older so rest assured that older siblings will love to join in on these easy Thanksgiving activities too. Check out our tips below to make these crafts even easier and more successful with your children.

toddler turkey

Toddler Turkey Craft

This post is filled with advice for crafting with toddlers from accepting mess aversion to choosing good tools like plastic plates but this is my favorite –>

Tip: If your child uses a booster for meals pop them in it when you are doing messy art too. This will relax you so you can both enjoy creating without worrying about Jr. running for the living room covered in red paint.

bubble wrap corn craft for thanksgiving

Bubble Wrap Corn.

Explore the texture of the bubble wrap and have fun with this easy activity. Be prepared for aversion too. My son hated it the first time so we rolled with it . Later we followed this favorite tip for success.

Tip: wrap the bubble wrap around a rolling pin for easy printing.

toddler craft for thanksgiving

Turkey Sun Catcher

Use glitter glue for a lower mess glitter craft.

Tip : Use baby wipes for messy hands if a sink isn’t right there. They have saved use from many big messes.

pumpkin-painting-for-toddlers

Mini Pumpkin Prints

We use mini pumpkins as decorations throughout the fall. A few days before Thanksgiving cut one open and paint with it.

Tip: For kids that aren’t keen on wearing smocks find a few tee shirts at a garage sale that you don’t care if it’s stained forever and wear those on painting days.

3d turkey craft

3D Handprint Turkey

This has never been our most popular Thanksgiving craft but my kids loved making it so I love sharing it.

Tip: When doing handprint crafts with toddlers that call for multiple hand cut outs layer multiple papers under tracing and cut instead of tracing their hands multiple times.

acorn craft for toddlers

Torn Acorn Craft

If you aren’t ready to hand your child scissors yet this activity is great. Tearing paper still builds hand muscles that are required for later scissor and handwriting skills.

Tip : Pre-cut strips of paper that are manageable for little hands.

thanksgiving sensory tub

Thanksgiving Sensory Tub

Mess is hard for a lot of parents. I get it because I try to keep my house in order too and kids have a way of following behind us and messing up what was just cleaned. Sensory play is so valuable for kids as they explore cause and effect, measurement, imaginative play, and more.

Tip : If your child is prone to dumping sensory materials have them sit on a carpeted floor. The materials won’t scatter as far ( or be as much fun to dump) and will be easy to vacuum up.

messy art for toddlers

Turkey Baster Painting

Painting with turkey basters is fun and squeezing the bulb is actually great for hand strength too. Yes it’s messy but the post is filled with tips to minimize it including –>

Tip : When painting with tools like a turkey baster after painting pop the kid and the tool into the bath and let them get clean together. After the bulk of the paint it off in the bath you can put the tool into the dishwasher for a final clean.

thanksgiving thankful activity for toddlers

Thankful Box

Toddlers may not be able to read and write yet but they can express likes and dislikes. Use a thankful box to teach them to show appreciation for those things they like by modeling.

Tip : When teaching abstract concepts like being thankful to toddlers including a concrete activity like making the box or decorating a jar for the tokens of appreciation to be kept in can create a connection that simple talking about being thankful may not.

corn craft

Confetti Corn Craft

This post is a perfect example about being flexible with toddlers. My son who was 3 at the time wanted to include his construction vehicles in the play. With a a few simple additions I was able to include them in and the craft took on an element of imaginative play too.

Tip : Be flexible and let your toddler have some control over their creation.

 

What is your best tip for crafting with toddlers?

 

Beading Made Easy For Little Hands

beading with toddlers Beading is such an awesome fine motor activity because it combines so many skills that young kids are working to master. It works on pincer grasp and hand eye coordination while placing the beads on the string or ribbon but you can work in patterning, color recognition, and counting too.  The problem with beading though is that it can frustrate children easily. You must strike a balance of challenge and success to avoid melt downs, or kids just deciding that the activity is no fun.  Below you will see how I set up beading with my daughter who will bead for ages provided she can do it with little help. Over the years doing beading projects with preschoolers have taught me a few tricks to make it a smooth process and I am sharing them with you.

Gather your materials. You will need some ribbon, painter’s tape, clear tape, ribbon ( ours was about an inch thick) , milk shake straws, and scissors. beading activity for preschool

Start by cutting your straws into smaller pieces. Adjust the length according to the age and ability of your child. beading

Cut your ribbon to the size you want and tape one end to the table using painters tape. This prevents the beads from falling off the end . Also using a thicker ribbon makes it so that if your child does drop the end the beads won’t come flying off. beading made easy for preschool

Before you invite your little one to come bead use the regular tape to cinch the ribbon into a needle. This gives your child a stiffer piece to thread with. beading tips for preschool

Time to bead. With the steps we took to avoid frustration the activity was smooth and pretty quick too. beading necklace

Best of all was how proud she was of her accomplishment and since she made the necklace all by herself withe the exception of tying the ends together it really felt like an independent accomplishment.  Then she was off to play with her garlic press and bulldozer. Bet you never thought you’d hear those two words in the same sentence. Kids are rad. beading and threading activities for kids

Do you have any tips for beading with kids ? I would love to hear them !

 

Quick & Easy Pompom Play

pompom sticky window boredom buster for kidsWe have a lot of pompoms which isn’t a bad thing because we like them. We use them for crafts like this octopus , we use them for apples trees and the letter c. Today though I want to share an activity with no agenda at all. There is no final product, no right or wrong way to do it it’s just about exploration. You child can explore textures, sizes , colors and even basic physics. Most of all they will be having fun. My daughter loved this and didn’t just explore with her hands,  you will see she got her whole body into it.

Gather your materials. You will need some pompoms ( you don’t need a vat of them like I have a handful will be fine too), some contact paper, painter’s tape, scissors, and a curious child.

quick pom pom play for kids

Start by hanging up your contact paper sticky side out on a window or wall. Secure it in place with painter’s tape. quick pompom boredom buster for kids

Pop some pompoms in a container and invite your child to explore. She started just adding the pompoms but when she added a really large one that was too heavy to stay on she noticed it left a residue of fluff. pompomstickywall

So she started stamping the contact paper with the pompoms to leave fluff. quick pompom activity for preschoolers

Next she dug out the smallest pompoms and added them giving her fine motor skills an even greater challenge. quick pompom activity for kids fine motor

Finally she decided to see what the pompoms felt like to sit in and sat in the bucket while continuing to add them to the sticky window. quick activity for pompoms

We kept this up for a while and have redone it since. It’s easy peasy and as long as you don’t find the inevitable spill or two of colorful pompoms it’s a lot of fun.

What’s your favorite way to use pompoms?

G

Walnut Painting Easy Art For Kids

painting with walnuts for preschoolThis easy art for kids is an exploration of one part art and one part trying a new food. My daughter was never a picky eater as a toddler but lately she has been exerting her control. I am fine with that, kids don’t get to control much and I know the harder you push the deeper they dig in their heels. What I do try to do is find novel ways of introducing new foods. We plant veggies every year, visit the farmer’s market and take our time at the grocery store but we also play with food. It’s not for every family but it works for us.

Gather your materials. You will need a container , some walnuts in the shell, paint, and paper. walnut painting project for kids

Start by exploring the walnuts. We explored the outside noting how they felt and then cracked one open and explored the inside. It didn’t take long before she asked if she could eat it. She did and hated it but the desire to try something new is what I was going for. walnut tasting

Next add the paper into the container and choose some paint colors. walnut shell painting colors

Add the paint to the walnut.walnut shell art

Pop them into the container with the paper and roll it back and forth.walnut shell painting activity for kids While my daughter did this she started off frantically shaking it but then soon became much more controlled. Add more colors as you go. walnut paint activity

We made 3 different paintings before the paint ended up on feet instead. walnut shell paintingPainting inside once the weather turns cold and wet might get interesting with my wee girl who so loves to “hand paint” as she calls it. walnut painting to feet painting

Egg Carton Math by Teach Preschool

{ Please welcome Deborah from Teach Preschool who has come to my aid and offered this great activity for you all today so I could ( and did) have a mostly laptop free vacation with my family. If you aren’t familiar with Deborah’s blog Teach Preschool go now because it’s amazing. I wish I could be a fly on her classroom wall and just learn from her. }

 

Simple Egg Carton Math Games

Start by making sure you are using clean egg cartons. You might even run the egg cartons through the dishwasher if you have any doubts. Next, look around the house and gather up a few sets of small objects that will fit inside each egg cup…

Simple Egg Carton Math Games

I used small cars, buttons, pompoms, and soft blocks for my first set of egg carton math boxes and then set them out with the lids closed and just waited for my grandson to find them and want to open each of the cartons up to see what is inside…

Simple Egg Carton Math Games

As young children are given the opportunity to explore an open ended process such as egg carton math – they are being exposed to such mathematical concepts as sorting, matching, counting, subtracting, adding, comparing, and contrasting…

Simple Egg Carton Math Games

Perhaps the play looks like nothing more than putting something in and out of a box but if you look closely, you will see that the thinking wheels are turning and that is the first step towards genuine mathematical thinking…

Simple Egg Carton Math Games

To read more early learning tips from Deborah

 

Hop over to Teach Preschool!

Deborah Tall