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?

 

Paper Bag Gingerbread Men

shape paper bag ginger man craftMy daughter and I made these a while back but I forgot to post them. We’ve been learning all about shapes and in the same week that we made the Shape Wreaths my daughter and I made these simple paper bag gingerbread men with paper shapes .  I love using grocery bags and other recyclables for crafts because it’s cost effective and it teaches my kids to think creatively and to use items over and over before discarding them.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy paper or thin card board ( think grocery bags or cereal boxes) , a glue stick, shape punches , scissors, thin paper like the origami paper I used, googly eyes and a pencil.      paper bag gingerbread men craft for toddlers
  2. Start by drawing a gingerbread man or two and cutting them out.gingerbread men craft
  3. Punch or cut out some shapes.shape gingerbread men
  4. Add glue .gingerbread craft
  5. Add your shapes  and eyes to the gingerbread man. Even though I pre cut many shapes she wanted to cut out more herself. ginger craft for kidsWho can blame her those punches are fun! gingerbread craft for toddlers Talk about the shapes, about the textures of the items ( our colored paper was really silky vs the rough paper bag) , about the colors and body parts too. There is so much to learn in such a simple activity.ginger bread craft for kids and toddlers
  6. Don’t forget to add your googly eyes.  My daughter has started pushing out her bottom lip when she is concentrating on a task it makes me giggle and I am forever trying to capture it . Do you see it?shape ginger bread man

Gingerbread Books

ginger

The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup was an instant hit with my son but it was too long for my daughter who sat and listened but wasn’t engrossed in it. The story was all about pirate gingerbread men who come to life on Christmas Eve and faced Santa even though most of them were left for him to eat. There is adventure, there is humor and a whole lot of Christmas magic. What made this book for me were the illustrations by Matt Tavares. I loved that they were from the perspective of the gingerbread pirates . Love this book.

fairytale books

The Gingerbread Man (Easy-to-Read Folktales) by Karen Schmidt is just such a silly story . What I do like about this tale is that while it still packs the punch of one character eating another like many fairy tales it’s just a gingerbread man so when the fox eats him it doesn’t seem so bad really.  My son loved the repetition of the text and sang along with me as we read. It’s a good story to talk about taunting, and showing off. We also played gingerbread man tag later that day, but we skipped the whole cannibalism bit. { Since writing this review my daughter had made this one of her very favorite books }.

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Easy Turkey Craft for Toddlers

All the stores are packed with Christmas decor already but I don’t want to skip over Thanksgiving crafts! This Turkey craft for toddlers could also been done with older kids but toddlers get an extra kick out of squeezing and spreading the glitter glue as well as the sticky texture of the contact paper. Make sure while you are crafting that you use the opportunity to use these words. You don’t have to direct the exploration but as they explore add a little narration here and there.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper, contact paper, glitter glue ( ours is from our friends at craftprojectideas.com) , scissors, googly eyes and glue.
  2. Start by folding a sheet of construction paper in half and cutting out feathers.
  3. Next cut the middle out of that. You will want to keep it folded to make this easier. You should end up with a frame.
  4. Cut out a turkey body ( think bowling pin shape) a nose and a gobble ( upside down heart). I used scrap paper for this. If you don’t have red and yellow paper grab some white and color it
  5. Lay your contact paper on the table sticky side up add the feather frame.
  6. Time to add the glitter glue. She loved this. What she doesn’t know is that unscrewing the caps, squeezing the glue and even spreading it are all working on her fine motor and eye hand coordination skills. Yay!
  7. Another skill this works on is color recognition. ” What color are you using?” it’s as simple as that.
  8. Explore as long as you want. she spent longer than I expected on it and specifically told me I was not to help with the caps, unless they fell on the floor and then it was ” Mama job go get the cap.”
  9. Next add the body.
  10. Beak and gobble.
  11. Cover the whole thing with another sheet of contact paper. Press. Glue the eyes on the outside and let dry.
  12. Cut out . Pop it on the window for a little extra sparkle Thanksgiving style!

 

Easy Owl Craft For Kids

Owls are trendy right now for sure but even more important in our house is that my daughter’s preschool class is the owls class. We have owl hair bows, owl hats and it was no surprise when I asked he if she wanted to make an animal craft she quickly said ” Yes , let’s make owl!” So we did. Using your child’s interests for crafts or learning time deepens their experience and makes it more fun.

  1. Gather your materials. We stamped our owl with homemade stamps made from milk jug caps and foam stickers ( see how below) but you could use any stamp. You will also need white paper, scissors, a stamp pad , glue , googly eyes and some construction paper for a simple nose, backing and branch.
  2. Start by making your stamps. Stick round foam stickers on your caps. Hard eh?
  3. Next cut out a simple owl shape from your paper.
  4. Time to stamp! I put a piece of black construction paper under my daughter as a place mat of sorts. Even washable stamp pads in my experience aren’t as washable as washable markers.
  5. Peel the stickers off the homemade stamps and glue the caps on the owl for eyes.  This wasn’t planned- my daughter peeled the stamps off and I decided to use them as part of the owl’s eyes.
  6. Next add glue for the eyes. I love using these simple steps to talk about body parts with my toddler. ” Where are the owl’s eyes? How many eyes do owls have?” with older kids take the opportunity to talk about how owls have great eyesight and how they hunt at night. glue the caps on. 
  7. Next add the googly eyes and nose. She loved filling the caps with glue for the googly eyes.
  8. Let dry and glue onto a backing sheet. Add a simple branch if desired.

My Favorite Owl Book For Toddlers

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell is perfectly written for toddlers who are eager to “do it myself” but still need a loving parent safely within view.  Three baby owls wake to find their mom away and as time passes the three all get more anxious in their own ways. My daughter loves this book and completely related to poor little Bill who repeats ” I want my mommy!” over and over.  At night she is very much like little Bill, but during the day she is braver like the other two owls Sarah and Percy. No matter what level of separation anxiety your child may have at times they will relate to one or all of the little owls. Of course the story ends with mama coming back and reassuring her little owl babies that she always will.

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Letter Monster Craft For Kids

alphabet for startersI love monster crafts and so do my kids. My daughter is all about googly eyes right now and since she has stopped putting everything in her mouth I am excited to let her use them. This monster craft was a blast to make and I have some tips to make sure that there is ample alphabet learning involved too. This is the 15th post in our popular Alphabet For Starters series which is all about playing and learning letters in fun simple ways.If you are looking for a more traditional approach to letters we have our Letter Of The Week series as well.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, scissor, contact paper, foam letters ( ours are stickers but I left the backing on ) and googly eyes. You might also want some painter’s tape to keep the contact paper on the table.alphabet for starters
  2. Start by folding your paper in half and cutting out a monster shape. Then cut the middle out .letter recognition
  3. Peel the backing off the contact paper and place it sticky side up on the table. Place the monsters on it.
  4. Invite your kiddo to the table and create! As you can see she was instantly interested.
  5. As she chose letters she naturally named them or asked what they were called. At this point she knows all her uppercase letters but will still ask me sometimes. Usually I say some outlandish thing like ” It’s Mama!” and she will say ” No you Mama, dis is W! ” I only do that if I know it won’t confuse her. She giggles and it’s a game where she gets to be the smarty know it all which for a toddler that gets bossed around by pretty much everyone including a smarty know it all brother it’s a nice feeling to have.
  6. Picking up the googly eyes off the flat table is tricky and I placed them like that on purpose, it forced her to really use those fine motor skills to pick them up and place them on the monster. I loved that she put one in the inside of the Q!
  7. At one point she asked me to do it so instead of just packing up or doing the craft myself as per her request , I grabbed a few letters and said ” Which monster do you want to put the P on? ” That was enough for her to keep going. Don’t push it if they are done though. I could tell she wasn’t done just wanted to tackle it together.
  8. Once your monster ( or monsters) are done you can simply cut them out and display or sandwich them with another piece of contact paper.
  9. Display. I love that one of her monsters spells out rad , a word I use way more than I should !