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

easy thanksgiving crafts for toddlersThanksgiving 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?

 

{No Glue} Turkey Craft For Thanksgiving

no mess thanksgiving day craft People have been making paper bag turkey crafts for ages but I still wanted to share this one because of how we made it and how my daughter was able to play as soon as the last piece was on. It’s the perfect low mess make and take craft for your kid guests at Thanksgiving dinner.

Gather your materials. You will need some paper bags, crayons, party streamers ( I save all extras from birthday parties), googly eyes, orange and red construction paper, scissors and permanent double stick tape. paper bag turkey craft

Start by cutting a few inches off the bottom of the paper bags. This makes the puppets much easier for wee little arms to handle. paper bag turkey craft for thanksgiving

Next invite your puppet maker to color their turkey. My daughter took her time taking off all the paper from the crayons first. paper bag turkey craft for three year oldsThis was an unintended fine motor skill activity in the middle of our main craft. paper bag turkey

While they peel and color cut the streamers into shorter pieces, and cut a beak and wattle. paper bag turkey streamers

When they are done coloring flip the bag over and add the double stick tape along the edges. paper bag turkey craft for children

Add the streamers. paper bag turkey feathersI was floored with how long she did this. She wanted to cover every bit of “sticky” and even asked to add more. paper bag turkey adding feathers

Add tape to the wattle and beak and flip the turkey over and stick them on. We added the beak first so I slipped it under after. paper bag turkey for kids

Pop on the eyes. turkey paper bag puppet for kids

Best part is that it’s time to play right away ! paper bag turkey make and play right away

Do you need some Thanksgiving books to go a long with this craft? Check out our newest Thanksgiving Book List.

thanksgiving books

Word Scavenger Hunt with Spelling Stones

spelling activity for kids Last week when I published our Thanksgiving Spelling Stones I promised that I had another simple activity to do with the stones. This is it. It was a rainy day ( can you tell by the not so great pictures?) but I wasn’t ready to turn the TV on yet.  This simple game got them moving, playing together , and working on their own levels at the same time. I will be making many more sets of these stones to do this activity and others throughout the year. To find out how to make the stones themselves check out our spelling stones tutorial.

Gather your materials. You will need spelling stones and somewhere to hide them.word hunt supplies

I hide some in plain sight and others in tougher spots. My son knows to leave the easier ones for his sister although I think those days are numbered. She is a good hunter!word hunt hide letters

Before your kids start searching. Tell them the word / words  you will be spelling and how many stones total they are searching for. This helps sneak in a wee bit of math.

Start searching! These dark stones blended in nicely in our living room. word hunt hunting for letters

Do spot checks to see how many stones you have found. My daughter counted and then I turned it into a math problem for my son to figure out how many more we were looking for. word hunt how many letters do you have

Once all letters are in the basket start piecing together the word. word hunt spelling the word togetherAt first my son started doing this step all by himself but I asked him to slow down and ask his sister to find him the letter he needed to spell from the bunch. word hunt spellingThis let him work on spelling and gave her a chance to work on letter recognition. word hunt thanksgiving

Told you it was simple, but hopefully I showed you how many little tidbits of learning you could fit into it too.

thanksgiving books for kidsCheck out some great Thanksgiving Books For Kids.

Thanksgiving Math For Kids – Fact Families and More!

thanksgiving math for kids Creating two activities with the same materials for two very different abilities is one of my favorite challenges. These turkey cork boards made it simple. My daughter matched colors and naturally counted the feathers upon completion. My son loved the fact families and the novelty of using thumbtacks made it all the more fun. This Thanksgiving math activity was a huge hit at our house!

Gather your materials. You will need some cork boards ( I got all three at IKEA for $3 ), construction paper , double stick tape, marker, and thumbtacks.Turkey Color matching

Start by cutting out circles for the turkey’s heads , feathers, and wattles. Draw a simple face ( I made the eyes big enough to use thumbtacks as pupils), and tape the wattles on. Tack the heads on. cork turkey color sorting

Color Sorting Turkeys

I tacked one feather on each turkey as a guide for my daughter and invited her to tack the rest on. turkey cork board learning

She made a yellow rabbit and two turkeys ! turkey cork color sorting

 

Fact Family Turkeys

I added a small fact family triangleturkey fact families as a guide and tacked them on. While my daughter colored in one of the turkeys to make it just right! turkey corkboard

Wrote out the fact family number sentences on the feathers.turkey fact family math activity

I invited my math whiz and he jumped right in to pinning the feathers. fact family turkey mathI did not keep all the fact families on the same color feathers because I did not want him to simply match the colors. thanksgiving turkey fact familiesThis activity could be adapted to any math ability. You could match numbers, match digits to tally marks , do odds and evens… they sky is the limit! turkey fact families for kids

 

 

Books About Math

counting books

Check out our books about math for fun counting books and more for kids!

Thanksgiving Spelling Activity For Kids

thanksgiving lesson Who says spelling lessons have to be boring and can’t have a theme? These spelling stones are a fun Thanksgiving craft and spelling activity rolled into one. Create a challenge by asking ” How many words can we make with the word Thanksgiving?” and use your child’s natural competitiveness as fuel for learning. The stones themselves are a great concrete manipulative that are a must for some learners and a nice novelty for others. I have had the idea for this for ages but making the stones seemed daunting. It took a few minutes and less than an hour later my son was playing and learning. Wish I’d done it sooner!

Gather your materials. You will need some stones ( dollar store! ) , multi-surface paint , a fine paint brush, clipboard, paper, and pencil.spelling stones

Start by writing out thanksgiving on the stones. I used all lowercase letters so they would be interchangeable. I also made a color pattern but that’s just because I think patterns are pretty. I used a shoebox lid for a workspace. These paints are not washable so I like to protect what I can. Also the kids did not help make these. spelling stones painting

Let dry. Ours took about 45 minutes to dry. Only one letter got damaged. If you are using these with a large group where they will be used a lot I would seal them but if it’s just in your home I wouldn’t bother.spelling stones ready to play

Lay out the stones. Explain the challenge. spelling stones for thanksgivingHow many words can be made with the letters in this word. spelling stones for first grade and kindergarten

What I love about using manipulatives to make words before writing them down is that when he was sounding out words he didn’t get frustrated if something didn’t seem right. He just replaced a stone with another. There was no erasing needed and for kids who have a deep desire for perfection that can be freeing.

Have your child write the word after making it with the stones. This is optional but I like adding in writing whenever I can. All my sneaking writing into things have really paid off. My son who struggled with it last year has made such progress in part because of a little here and a little there. Seeing the list grow and grow also encourages kids to keep trying to create more words.spelling stones words

This won’t be the last of these stones either… hang tight because in a few days I will have a totally different but totally fun activity using them again.

j

Thanksgiving Books

All book lists include affiliate links.

pete the cat thanksgiving

Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving by Kimberly and James Dean was underwhelming and I usually adore Pete The Cat. Sadly this book didn’t live up to my expectations. My daughter liked it but wondered when Pete was going to sing. He doesn’t. There are no catchy repetitive refrains which is what we love about Pete! My son pointed out the flaws in the history which thrilled me because they were distracting. The target audience is younger than my son so it may not even be an issue for you but seeing a pretty little house as the shelter the Pilgrims had for the first winter irked me. I realize that Pete is a cat who is in a play so realism isn’t expected but I’d be lying if I said I loved it. Pete is awfully cute as a pilgrim though.

thanks for thanksgiving

Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes delighted my whole family. I read it at dinner and all four of us thought the book was spot on. It’s not a story so much as a glimpse at all the things kids in a average family have to be thankful about. The illustrations by Doris Barrette are stunning. I want to frame them. I think this book does a great job at teaching children what they have to be thankful for and how everyday things can be something to be thankful for. Kids will relate so well to this book and because of that the message comes across loud and clear. My son loved that there is space on the last page to write what he is thankful for. Great find.