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19 Fun Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids to Keep Them Busy

These easy Thanksgiving crafts for kids are just the thing to keep your littlest guests occupied.

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Getting crafty on the big day

Thanksgiving is all about family, football, food…and waiting. Lots of it. Even adults can get antsy waiting around for the turkey, and, well, kids aren’t known for their patience. Plus, with all of the grown-up talk and fancy outfits, it can be a recipe for kiddie disaster. Thankfully, there’s a solution: these simple Thanksgiving crafts for kids that will keep them entertained, occupied and happy. So, Thanksgiving hosts take note—and make sure the little turkeys at your holiday celebration are as well taken care of as the older ones. And while you’re planning the day’s activities, consider including one (or more) of these 11 meaningful Thanksgiving traditions that we love.

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Turkey pretzel sticksJENIFOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK

Turkey pretzel sticks

What’s better than a yummy Thanksgiving treat that the kids can make but you can all share? For this project, dip pretzel rods in melted chocolate or peanut butter. Use candy eyeballs for the eyes and candy corn for the feathers and nose. These darling little turkeys will make fun after-dinner treats for kids and adults, and the little ones will feel proud to be contributing to the celebration. What else should you serve for dessert? Try one of these 30 delicious apple pie recipes for your Thanksgiving feast.

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Sweet child, boy, applying leaves using glue while doing arts and crafts in school, autumn timeTOMSICKOVA TATYANA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Leaf mosaic

This activity will get the kids outside as they hunt for colorful leaves. Encourage them to look for leaves in a fun assortment of sizes, colors and textures. Once they’ve gathered their materials, give the kids glue and a large sheet of paper—and let them have at it! There’s no right or wrong way to create a leaf mosaic. Once their creations are dry, you can use them as temporary placemats on the kiddie table.

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Cute little 5-6 years old girl coloring a natural cone fir to create a flower, set of brushes, paints, natural autumn materials on a tableMARIA SYMCHYCH/SHUTTERSTOCK

Pine-cone flowers

The best Thanksgiving crafts for kids are the ones that serve a dual purpose: This one will keep the kids busy and also produce a pretty centerpiece. Plus, it’s eco-friendly. Pine cones are a fun, natural crafting medium that can be used for a variety of projects. For this one, make sure that your pine cones are clean and dry before use. The bottom of the pine cone will be the flower, so you will need to cut off all the pieces from the top of the pine cone about halfway down. (Adults will need to help littles with the cutting.) Give the kiddos acrylic paint to color the little flowers any shades they like. Once dried, place the pine-cone flowers into a shallow bowl and use it as a festive centerpiece. Here are some other ways to decorate your Thanksgiving table.

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Animals made from nutsKRZYCHO/SHUTTERSTOCK

Nut animals

Just ask the squirrels: Autumn is the best time for forage in the yard for nuts! Acorns, in particular, are perfect for creating mini animals. If you don’t have access to nuts in the yard, no worries. In the fall, grocery stores are stocked with nuts of all shapes and sizes. Just stick with the semi-soft-shelled varieties, like chestnuts, so the kids can easily pierce the shells with toothpicks.

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Paper leaves

Maggy at Red Ted Art has created many Thanksgiving crafts for kids. One favorite? These paper leaves that are perfect for Thanksgiving and fall. Made with a square piece of paper of any type, these leaves are a cinch to make and can even be used to create colorful leaf garlands.

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Turkey bookmark

This sweet little turkey is the perfect craft for your little bookworms to keep their reading spots safe and secure. Maggy of Red Ted Art creates her turkey book-corner bookmark entirely out of paper. And who knows—with a craft this cute, you just may turn non-readers into book fans.

So what’s your Thanksgiving style?

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Pine-cone turkey

Looking for an activity that will get the kids outside—and off their electronics? These pine-cone turkeys are the perfect Thanksgiving crafts for kids since they’re easy to create with foraged items from your yard. Search for medium to large pine cones and large, colorful leaves. Use paper to create the turkey’s head and feet. Secure all the pieces onto the pine cone with school glue. The pine-cone turkeys will look adorable lining your mantle, entry table or as an impromptu table runner on the dinner table. Need more centerpiece inspiration? Here are some more easy fall crafts to try with the kiddos.

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Girl paints patterns autumn leaf. Gouache, brush and various autumn leaves on a blue wooden table. 13SMILE/SHUTTERSTOCK

Leaf painting

Leaves make wonderful natural palettes for painting—and this craft produces a particularly gorgeous effect. First, find large leaves that have recently fallen and are not too brittle. Then apply a base coat of acrylic paint onto the leaves and let it dry. The kids can paint abstract designs on the leaves with paint pens, gel pens or with a contrasting color of acrylic paint. Apply a layer of decoupage on the top of the finished artwork to help preserve the artwork.

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Turkey ring

Let your child show off some Thanksgiving style by helping make this adorable turkey ring. Use it as a finger puppet or just a fashion statement.

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Pony bead corn

Grab some autumnal pony beads and pipe cleaners for this festive maize craft. Get the full directions from Think Crafts!

Here’s are the mistakes you may be making with your Thanksgiving turkey.

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Standing turkey

This charming turkey is cute enough to be a centerpiece at your Thanksgiving feast. The best part? You can finally use up any scraps of leftover ribbon you have lying around. Visit I Heart Crafty Things to find the instructions.

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Thankful pumpkin

Help your children remember the heart behind the holiday by creating this appreciation pumpkin. You and your kids will have a great time counting your blessings, and you can keep it for years to come. Find out how to make one from The Moffatt Girls.

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Paper roll turkey

Transform an old toilet paper roll into this colorful turkey, complete with rainbow plumage. Get the full how-to from The Simple Parent. By the way, Christmas is right around the corner. Here are some awesome activities to do with the kids.

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Pilgrim hat crayon cupCOURTESY LIL' LUNA

Pilgrim hat crayon cup

Prep this fun pilgrim hat cup with your kids before the big day, then let them stash their crayons there while working on Thanksgiving coloring and activity books. Find out how to make one at Lil’ Luna.

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Cereal corn craft

This cob gives new definition to corn-based cereal. Pick out the fall-colored O’s from your breakfast bowl, and turn them into this fun craft. Learn how from The Simple Parent. You can do a craft like this no matter where you’re celebrating Thanksgiving.

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Harvest crowns

Skip the feather headbands, and create these festive fall crowns for this year’s Thanksgiving feast. Use fabric leaves if you want it to last the season, or make an afternoon of gathering fallen leaves with your kids. Head over to Made Everyday for the directions.

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Turkey footprintsCOURTESY FUN A DAY

Turkey footprints

Here’s a new kind of turkey trot. Make your turkey foot stamps waddle down the page, or stamp them randomly for a fun pattern. Visit Fun-a-Day to find out more. Happy, healthy kids are certainly a reason to give thanks.

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Salt dough leaves

Before you get too busy in the kitchen, start a salt dough recipe. While you’re rolling out the pie crust, your kids will love mashing up their own dough with festive leaf stamps. Get more information from The Life of Jennifer Dawn.

Every little guest will love these fun fall treats.

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K-Cup pilgrim hats

Hooked on coffee? Clean out those extra K-Cup pods and turn them into these festive pilgrim hats. Get the full instructions from Cross Country Café. Now that you’ve got the kid thing figured out, get started early by checking off your Thanksgiving shopping list.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest

Debbie Wolfe
I'm a content creator with an expertise in SEO, buying guides, lifestyle topics including home, garden, DIY, food, and e-commerce. I write for large and small businesses. Some of my current and past clients include Home Depot, Walmart, HGTV and DIYNetwork.