Thanksgiving Crafts for Dads and Kids

Here we go, guys. The first major holiday of the colder months that will see us calorie-loading on hearty family meals (Unless you’ve already gorged on Halloween candy, that is. Don’t worry, this is a judgement-free zone.) While family togetherness this year isn’t what we’re used to, your household can still make new memories while creating Thanksgiving décor or homemade toys to keep the kids occupied.

There’s nothing wrong with the old standbys, the “hand outline” and “paper plate” turkeys, if the kids are still young enough to find the novelty in it and haven’t done them to death at school. However, if you want to try something different this year, keep reading for a short list of some seriously cute Thanksgiving-themed crafts to do with the kids before the big day.



This idea comes to you courtesy of my sister Cindy, who was very excited about this list and wanted to share her own favorite Thanksgiving craft. These little flower pots-turned-turkey would be great as place settings, if you plan to have some family over for Thanksgiving dinner (just write the attendee’s name on the side, or make a name flag with a toothpick and paper). Alternatively, fill them with a handful of fall treats for yourselves and the kids.

There are two main parts to this craft: decorating the pots and painting the artificial leaves (an autumn crafting staple) to make the tail. After these are completed and dried, they can be affixed to one another, most effectively with hot glue. Color Made Happy offers a quick tutorial on how to make a perfect face for your turkey using fine point paint pens, but chances are the kids will have their own ideas about what face will look best on their turkey!


Thankful Tree

If you have the kind of kid who loves picking up odd sticks and rocks during your family walks through the park, this craft will help you put that impulse to good use, while also organically sparking a family discussion of thankfulness and upcycling. If there’s one thing we’ve all done too little of in 2020, it’s being thankful.

Search for a stick with as many forks and nubs as possible, to maximize the places you have to hang your gratitude leaves. If you have a competitive family or a lot of sticks to choose from, you can create a tree for each family member to decorate. The DIY Mommy provides two options for how to “plant” your tree, but as long as you have a container to put it in and something heavy, like stones, marbles, soil, or sand, to anchor them at the bottom, your tree should stand up just fine. Alternatively, Crafts by Amanda’s similar tree suggests using multiple sticks of similar sizes.

Purchase leaf shapes pre-cut from cardstock, or cut your own from construction or scrapbooking paper - whatever fits the aesthetic of your family and your gratitude! Use glue, ornament hangers, or string to hang them from the “tree,” and add keep extra leaves nearby to add whenever a grateful mood strikes.

Egg Carton and Pom Pom Turkeys

Okay, bear with me on this next one. It’s probably the most ridiculous-looking craft in this list, but it’s also so adorable that I couldn’t pass it up, and I imagine that it would be a hit for kids whose sense of humor runs toward the goofy. If you buy your eggs in post-consumer pulp cartons, save one of them from garbage day oblivion for this craft. If you don’t have any pulp cartons around, Buzzmills also offers a pom pom option that makes for even fluffier turkeys. Either way, the googly eyes and feathery tails make these turkeys ridiculously cute.

Other than freeing the egg cups from the cartons, most of the prep just involves gathering the materials, unless you want to extra-secure your egg cups with glue. The image above uses washi tape to cover up the seam on the cup, but misses the obvious opportunity to add some extra tape for a fashionable autumn scarf. Using craft foam leaves for the feet negates the need for a lot of intricate cutting, although if you want to give your turkey a fighting chance at attracting a mate, you will have to cut him a handsome wattle or a snood out of red foam.


Mod Podge Lead Lantern

Last month, some of our Halloween crafts were jack-o-lantern alternatives that offered soft mood lighting for an eerie evening. If you enjoyed and/or were intrigued by the mod podge lanterns, here is another option from Twig and Toadstool that’s a little more organic and versatile.

The example shown here uses relatively symmetrical leaves and consistent spacing, but if the size of your jar allows it, the distinct, aesthetic shape of maple or chestnut leaves would make this craft even prettier. If you have the patience and the skill with scissors, you can also try making your own leaves out of tissue paper and experimenting with overlapping and negative space to create a much less uniform lantern.

Leaf Prints

While you’re out collecting sticks and/or leaves for your lantern and thankful tree, keep an eye out for fresher leaves (dry ones won’t work as well) for this classic craft that enforces an appreciation of the intricate beauty of nature.  Appropriate for anyone from toddler through adult and suitable for any color palate, the resulting paintings are downright frame-worthy. Oranges, yellows, reds and browns provide an especially autumnal feel, but greens and pastels can be used to evoke springtime, blues, silvers, and greys for winter, and of course a rainbow pattern for summer.

Mosaic Cornucopia 

This craft harkens back to our elementary school days, when the cornucopia seemed to be one of the most prevalent symbols of the Thanksgiving holiday and cornucopia crafts were bountiful. If your kids enjoy coloring, you can try changing things up a bit by having them color a picture with paper and glue. They may enjoy the prepping process as much as “coloring” the picture, as you will have to tear up colored construction paper to fill in your picture. (It is recommended to tear the paper rather than cut it, to make the edges softer, but if you like the sharp edges of cut paper, then cut away.)

Fun Family Crafts provides a list of the colors you’ll need to recreate the cornucopia they made, but why not let the kids pick what kind of food they want for their feast? If this craft is a hit, the sky’s the limit for the pictures you can color this way.

Corn Leaf

What with the increase in online shopping prompted by the need for social distancing, many of us are finding ourselves with more bubble wrap around the house than usual. If your SO is like mine and gives you the stink eye when you joyfully pop an entire sheet of it while, gather the kids together instead, slather it in paint, and use it to make these corn wreaths to hang on the door. All this craft requires is paint, scissors, construction paper, bubble wrap, glue, and some string for hanging. 1 Pure Heart also recommends affixing the cork to a circle of cardboard, to make the resulting wreath sturdier.

Posted by Sarah Lynn

Sarah Mohler is a 2020 graduate of the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program, and has taught college composition and creative writing at Kent State University and at the EdX School in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

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