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5 fun, creative, and easy Thanksgiving crafts kids can make this holiday

Easy Thanksgiving crafts for the whole family

Kids playing in the leaves at a park in the fall
Ground Picture / Shutterstock

Fall is such a thrilling time and full of so much family fun, including all the anticipation and excitement of Halloween. When November rolls around, it can be a bit of a letdown when those cool Halloween decorations get packed away. The house looks out of sorts, inside and out, without all of those jack-o’-lanterns and black cats. So, it’s a good thing Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Of course, turkeys grab the headlines during Thanksgiving, but there are a lot of other DIY Thanksgiving decorations to help set the stage for the family-centered November holiday.

Creating easy Thanksgiving crafts with the kids to get the house back in a festive mood helps generate excitement for the upcoming holiday. It’s also a perfect way to make a cute centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table or make placemats for when the extended family gathers around the table to celebrate. Here are five do-it-yourself Thanksgiving crafts to get the family started decking the halls for Turkey Day.

Thankful fall background
decography / Shutterstock

Easy Thanksgiving crafts

DIY Thanksgiving decorations are a perfect pick for turning those post-Halloween blues into something positive. Creating decorative Thanksgiving crafts is also a great way to get kids of all ages to put the screens down and engage in some artistic activities. Thanksgiving decorative crafts are ideal for family craft nights too. Don’t worry. You don’t need to be Martha Stewart to make do-it-yourself Thanksgiving decorations or spend a lot of money. All these crafts are simple and inexpensive to make. These Thanksgiving crafts will also be something the kiddos can show off to the grandparents when they arrive for dinner. So, let’s get crafting.

Gorgeous gourds

Gourds are an autumn mainstay and are grown in all vibrant fall colors and interesting shapes. The fall fruits make for a lovely seasonal decoration for Thanksgiving. On their own, when plucked from the local farm, gourds make a stylish fall decoration, especially when arranged in a basket or cornucopia. When dried, gourds turn into a fun and decorative craft project. Sure, you can clean and dry gourds, but that takes time. If your local farm or garden center doesn’t have dried gourds for sale, order some online along with an acrylic oil-based paint set. Paint markers work well, too.

Since the paint and paint markers aren’t water-based, be sure to cover the work area with newspaper and have the kids wear old clothes when painting. Let the kids paint the gourds in autumn colors like red, yellow, orange, purple, and brown. Allow the paint to dry. Once dried, kids can glam up the painted gourds with gems, pipe cleaners, or glitter. If you’re feeling particularly creative, turn the dried gourd into a colorful turkey or scarecrow. Once the gourds are painted and decorated, they will look delightful on the mantle or on a tabletop as a centerpiece.

Glitter pumpkins

Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween. This fall fruit sticks around for Thanksgiving, too, or where would we get pumpkin pie from? Give pumpkins a makeover for Halloween with glitter paint. Have the kids paint those leftover sugar pumpkins from the October picking rush. Painted pumpkins in those enduring fall colors dress up the house and front porch for Thanksgiving. Always wash pumpkins before painting to remove any dirt or debris. Allow them to dry completely before painting with glitter paint. Glue on gems or pompoms if desired.

Painted leaf/rock centerpiece

Using nature to help decorate for Thanksgiving gives the decor a homey feel. Take kids on a walk to gather some fall leaves. Be sure to pick the leaves that haven’t started to turn brown. Using paint markers, let kids paint the leaves in typical fall colors or go rainbow. While the leaves are drying, have the kiddos paint 10 rocks using a rock painting kit. You can also use rocks from outside instead. Just be sure to clean and dry them first. Once the rocks are dry, paint one of the following letters on each rock; G-I-V-E T-H-A-N-K-S.

Once the lettered rocks have dried, lay the painted leaves along the bottom of a tray or basket. Place the Give Thanks rock arrangement on the leaf carpet for a simple and stylish Thanksgiving centerpiece that everyone will love.

Painted mason jar vases

Mason jars are functional and always trendy. Have kids paint the outside of mason jars using fall colors or the hues matching the Thanksgiving table linens. If you don’t have mason jars, regular glass jars from the recycling bin work, too. Once the jars have dried, arrange them in a flat basket and place them in the center of the table. Fill with water and add your favorite fresh fall blooms to dress up a tabletop or the mantle. Instead of flowers, you can fill the painted jars with fall leaves too.

Pinecone turkeys

You can’t have Thanksgiving decorations without the bird of honor. Turkeys are the talk of the holiday, so make sure to have some cute ones gobbling around the house. Pinecone turkeys are easy to make and super cute. If outdoor pinecones aren’t available or too sticky, head online or go to the local craft store. There are quite a few ways to make a pinecone turkey, and you may even find a complete kit in the store. All you really need are pinecones, googly eyes, red felt, and feathers. Hot glue guns work best. Remember to always have an adult man the glue gun.

Use the flat end of the pinecone for the feathers and the smaller one for the face. Cut small triangles from the felt. Then, glue on two eyes and a mouth. Some googly eyes are self-adhesive, which makes things even easier. Let kids choose their feather colors and then glue them on. Allow them to dry. In place of craft feathers, kids can use real or fake fall leaves or cut different colored leaves from construction paper. Pinecone turkeys look adorable on the mantle, tabletop, or added to the Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Hand turkey drawn by a child.
aceshot1 / Shutterstock

More easy Thanksgiving crafts

If the kiddos love the DIY Thanksgiving decorations, here are some more simple crafts to put together. These Thanksgiving crafts can be made with arts and crafts supplies you probably already have. They’re great for a rainy day or those November days off from school. 

  • Paper plate turkeys
  • Hand-printed turkey placemats
  • Paper bag turkeys
  • Felt pie piece garland
  • Fall leaf garland

There isn’t any reason for the kids to feel blue when the Halloween decorations come down. That’s the wonderful thing about fall! One holiday rolls right into another once the calendar hits October. After the Halloween decorations are put away and the trick-or-treat candy bowl is empty, it’s time to think about decking the halls for Thanksgiving. DIY Thanksgiving decorations are fun for the whole family to create. With these five easy Thanksgiving crafts to get the house in a festive fall mood, the kids will have a lot to gobble about this November.

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Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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