Preschool teacher Jenny McCarthy, known affectionately as Miss Jenny to the countless children she has taught over the years, has some great Thanksgiving craft ideas for little ones. For more than 30 years, Miss Jenny has created crafts with her students at Thanksgiving time. Today, she is sharing some of the crafts that she will be doing at the Holbrook Children of America, where she has taught for more than five years.
Children of America
140 N. Franklin St.
Holbrook, MA 02343
Hand Print Turkeys
This old go-to is something many remember from their childhood days. Miss Jenny recommends this as an easy way for even very young children to express themselves and learn about the holiday. Simply find a good crafting, construction or even printing paper that is around the house and outline the child’s hand. Allowing a child to use safety scissors or cutting yourself, cut out the hand print. Allow the child to decorate what is left with crafting feathers, glitter glue, markers, crayons, stickers and whatever else he or she wants to play with, being sure to make the thumb a turkey head.
Thanksgiving Place Mats
Miss Jenny likes to make place mats with the kids to bring home for their Thanksgiving dinner. She says you can use plain place mats purchased from a dollar or craft store. You can also use construction paper and laminate the finished product for longevity. Glue leaves around the edges and use markers, glitter glue or paint to put the child’s name in the center. Another idea is to cut an apple in half, dry the surface with a paper towel, dip the apple lightly in paint or ink and put apple stamps on the mat.
Pumpkin Patch Centerpiece
A fun Halloween activity that is easy to turn into a Thanksgiving craft is a pumpkin patch centerpiece. Decorate paper lunch bags like pumpkins using construction paper cutouts, crayons, markers or paint and then stuff them with newspaper until they are round. Roll up strings of crepe paper to make vines. Create a pumpkin patch by gluing paper leaves on brown construction paper. Connect the vines to the paper pumpkins and glue them to the construction paper patch. Miss Jenny suggests putting spices in the bags to make the centerpiece fragrant, but warns parents to remember to dispose of it after the holiday.
Related: Kid-Friendly Crafts For Thanksgiving
Native American Headbands
Cut out strips of construction paper as long as a child’s head is round. Decorate the headbands in vibrant, earthy colors like red and dark brown. Help the children glue them into headbands the size of their own heads. Make construction paper feathers, decorated however the children wish, and glue these to the front, back or side of the headband.
To complete the costume, cut armholes and head holes into large paper grocery bags. Cut a line up the front center, snip the bottom edges with scissors for fringe and decorate in the fashion of leather Native American vests using crayons, markers or paint.
Make pilgrim hats by gluing pieces of black construction paper into circles shaped like top hats. Cut a large oval with a hole for the head to serve as the brim of the hat and glue it to the bottom of the top hat form. Glue the oval piece you cut out of the brim section and glue it to the top to complete the hat form. Cut a strip of white construction paper and glue it around the hat above the brim. Cut a black construction paper square in the shape of a belt buckle and glue that in the very front over the white band to complete the hat. To save time with smaller children, cut the pieces first and then allow them to do the gluing.
Apple Pie Air Fresheners
This craft is one of Miss Jenny’s favorites. Use small disposable foil pie tins. Fill them with crumpled newspaper and sprinkle the “pie filling” with allspice, cinnamon and/or cloves. Cover it with a circle of light brown construction paper. Tape down the edges and cut slits in the top like apple pie. Put this in any room of the house for a whiff of apple pie.
Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.