Bountiful Harvest of Thanksgiving Crafts
By Denise Yearian
We all know that making Thanksgiving dinner can be tedious. So while you are busy preparing the feast, your kids can get ready for Thanksgiving entertaining with these crafts and activities. Featured in this festive craft article are three simple activities with easy-to-follow instructions that children can do on their own. You will also find a fun factoid, “Harvesting History,” which details the kaleidoscope of cultures who have been celebrating fall festivals for thousands of years. Families can have fun learning how to say “thank you” in several languages. And indulge in some Thanksgiving-themed stories.
Turkey Talk Place Setting
Items needed: Brown, red, yellow, and orange construction paper; ruler; pencil; scissors; glue; small wiggly eyes; stapler; yellow or orange drinking straw; and cardstock.
On brown paper draw and cut out a 7-inch half circle and a 2-inch oval. Wrap the half circle end to end to make a cone shape for the turkey’s body and secure with glue. (Note leave a small opening at the narrow end of the cone to insert a straw later.)
Glue two wiggly eyes onto the brown oval to form the turkey’s head.
Cut out a small orange triangle and a red teardrop shape to represent the turkey’s beak and wattle. Glue these to the face then attach the head to the narrow portion of the cone.
Trace a hand on the remaining paper to form turkey feathers. Cut these out and attach to the back side of the turkey’s body with a stapler.
Make a 3/4-inch slit across one end of the drinking straw then slip it into the top opening of the cone. Cut cardstock to 3 ½- by 2-inches. Write “Gobble, Gobble” and your guest’s name on the place card and slip it into the straw slit. Repeat these steps for every guest attending your Thanksgiving banquet. Note: Dad might need to help with the names.
Gobblin’ Good Checkerboard Game
Items needed: Yellow and orange construction paper; ruler; pencil; scissors; glue; candy corn; and pumpkins.
Fold the long side of the yellow paper in half. Draw 1-inch lines that begin at the fold and stop approximately 1-inch from the opposite end. Repeat this step across the paper until you have seven lines. With the paper still folded, cut the lines beginning at the fold. Open and set aside. Mark off 1-inch lines across the shorter width of the orange paper then cut across each line until you have eight strips. Begin weaving the orange strips in and out of the openings on the yellow paper, alternating the weave with each row until all orange strips have been used. Place a dot of glue on each strip end to secure. Play the game similar to checkers. Use candy corn and pumpkins for game pieces and enjoy the sweet rewards of gobbling up your opponent’s captured pieces. The one with the most candy left on the board at the end of the game wins!
A Tisket, a Tasket, a Thanksgiving Basket!
Items: Small, empty cardboard boxes (such as pudding or gelatin boxes); brown construction paper; scissors; tape; Thanksgiving-themed stickers; markers; yellow or orange tissue paper (shredded); seasonal candy, mints or other small treats.
Tape the sides of the box closed. Cut out one large side to be the basket opening. Wrap the box in construction paper, secure with tape and decorate with stickers and/or other designs. Make a basket handle by cutting a strip of paper that measures 1- by 6-inches. Across it write “Happy Thanksgiving.” Tape the handle to the inside of the box. Insert shredded paper for basket filler then top with candy. Repeat these steps so all your holiday guests have a Thanksgiving treat to take home.
You may think the Pilgrims were the first to give thanks for the season’s bounty, but a kaleidoscope of cultures have been celebrating fall festivities for thousands of years. In Ancient Greece, the Festival of Thesmosphoria was held annually to commemorate the abundance of grain. In the Roman World, a harvest festival called Cerelia was held each year. The Ancient Chinese also celebrated with Chung Ch’ui, which they believed to be the moon’s birthday. This three-day celebration which continues today, features round yellow cakes with rabbit imprints because that was the image the patriarchs saw in the moon. The Hebrew nation has carried on their forefathers’ traditions too with the Feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering, which commemorates God’s provision while wandering in the desert.
In fall of 1621, the Pilgrims wanted to hold a celebratory event after having survived their first year in the New World. The governor at the time, William Bradford, proclaimed it a day of thanksgiving to God and encouraged the pilgrims to include their neighboring natives in the festivities. The celebration continued annually, and nearly 250 years later in 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed it a national day of thanks. Today Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of each November. #
“Thank You” In Different Languages
Mandarin: xie xie (syeh-syeh)
Japanese: Arigato gozaimasu (arri-ga-toe goh-zigh-moss)
French: merci (mehr-see)
German: danke (dahn-kah)
Greek: efharisto (ef-har-rih-stowe)
Hebrew: toda (toh-dah)
Italian: grazie (gra-see)
Spanish: gracias (gra-see-us)
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson
If You Sailed On the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern
Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas.
Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn: The Story of the Thanksgiving Symbols by Edna Barth.