With Thanksgiving literally around the corner, what better way to keep the kiddos busy than with some quality time and crafts. Especially crafts that make your home and table feel festive!
The Thankful Turkey
I love this little guy. While I was making him, I thought of a ton of variations for how, what, who and where to write out what we are thankful for! Ask you kids what they are thankful for and help them write it out giving each child their own color of “feather”. Or ask your dinner guests to pen their thankfulness. I think it would be fun to save the feathers and read them at future gatherings and see how everyone’s answers have changed.
What you’ll need:
~At least 70 inches of brown yarn (or tan or whatever is cheap, available and looks good!)
~1 Bag pipe cleaners in fall colors
~2 Embroidery circles (3 inch diameter)
~10-15 Small straight pins
~Card stock – fall colors or whatever will match your turkey yarn
~2 Googlie eyes
~Hot glue gun
~1 Small ball (like a Wiffle ball – approximately 3-4 inches in diameter)
1. Using the ball as a starting point, begin wrapping the yarn around it. Alternate directions to cover the ball evenly in yarn. Continue until the ball is covered and about 5 inches tall.
2. Cut the string and tie it to another piece of wound yarn to keep the ball from coming apart. Tuck the loose end into the yarn.
3. Take the remaining yarn and tie several knots on top of one another. Then begin the same process of wrapping the yarn evenly to cover and create a new, smaller ball of yarn. This will be your turkey head.
4. Continue until the ball is approximately 2 1/2 inches. Repeat the tieing instructions to secure the ball from coming apart.
5. Using the hot glue gun, glue the head onto the body (little ball onto the big ball).
6. Using several pipe cleaners, wrap the embroidery circles so that no metal is showing.
7. Take 1 pipe cleaner in the same color as the wrapped embroidery circles and twist together leaving a little at the end. Wrap around the embroidery circle to make a leg. Repeat for the second leg.
8. Using more glue, secure the body of the turkey to the ring. Be sure that it is positioned so that the head is low so that the feathers will show above the head.
9. Glue googlie eyes to the head.
10. Use construction paper to create a beak and secure with a pin.
11. Cut a 3 inch piece of red pipe cleaner and twist to make the “wattle” – or the red part of a turkey’s nose.
12. For the feathers: trace a feather shape onto a piece of paper being sure to make the bottom pointed so it will stick into the yarn. Stack several sheets of paper behind and cut out the shape. This will make sure that your other feathers are the same size and shape. Use one of the feathers to trace a second and then repeat to create about 10 feathers. If you want less feathers, make them larger. If you want more, make them smaller. I used 10 for my turkey.
13. Ask your kids, your friends and family or just yourself what you are thankful for. Write each thing out on a feather. You can do a whole sentence or just the item. Consider writing horizontally or vertically for some added interest.
14. Fold the bottom of the feather vertically to help it stand up. Secure it with a straight pin.
15. Ta Da! This might be the only happy turkey on your table, but it will help everyone who reads it remember what is important and why they are thankful.
I loved this idea because I knew it was something my two year old would not only enjoy, but could fully participate in. She even loved filling the bags with sand! These look so cute on our patio, but they would be great indoors as well.
What you’ll need:
~White sandwich bags – as many or as few as you want.
~Acrylic paint – I chose orange, yellow and red. You could do 1 color or as many as you like – just be sure to get very dark tones.
~Leaves – real or fake work. I had some faux leaves from a past craft so I used those.
~Spray bottles – we used a variety of bottles from hair spray bottles from the travel aisle at Target to an empty Windex bottle. Both worked fine, but the “trigger” version in the Windex bottle was easiest for little hands to use.
~Warm water and some for cleaning clogged sprayers.
1. At a sink, pour a small amount of paint into a squirt bottle. Add an equal amount of water and then test the sprayer into the sink. The mixture needs to be thin enough to get through the sprayer, but thick enough that the paint will show up on the paper. Add paint and water until you see the right consistency. It should spray rather than squirt a stream of paint.
2. Layout one bag on a surface that you don’t mind getting paint on (or on some news paper). Lay one or two leaves, depending on size, on the bags.
3. Lightly spray the leaves. Be sure that the leaves stay in place so that the outline looks clean.
4. Carefully remove the leaves and keep the paper bag flat until it dries. Dry time is at least an hour because of the water in the paint.
5. Once dry, add sand, dirt or rocks to the bags. 3-4 inches works best.
6. Add a tea light sized candle, votive or faux candle to the bag. Fold, bend, curl the top of the bags to ensure air flow and for safety.
7. Enjoy! I like to think of these as the Scottsdale version of fall leaves.
*As the wife of an attorney, I feel it is important to say that fire is dangerous. Please keep little fingers away from the flame and do not leave the bags unattended.
More Fun Ideas:
– Make a new spin on spiced oranges by using cloves to make funny faces, letters or phrases. How cute would a table be with “Happy Thanksgiving” spelled out in cloved oranges?!
– Use your kiddos feet and hands to make turkeys. Use paint to make a foot print making the heal the head and the toes the feet of the turkey. And the thumb of a handprint makes the perfect turkey head!
– Make handprints with paint on a “tree” to create leaves.
For other fall craft ideas, visit Raising Arizona Kids craft section: