Thanksgiving is a time for gathering the family together around a table filled with delicious food and give thanks for all of the good things you have enjoyed throughout the year. As you spend time with your family, why not sit down with your kids and create decorations to enhance the beauty of your home and your dinner table? While crafts can be as easy as decorating Thanksgiving coloring pages and pressing autumn leaves, they can also be more elaborate. Whatever activities you choose, the kids will be proud knowing that they contributed to the festive Thanksgiving decorations.
Autumn Thanksgiving Activities
A few weeks before Thanksgiving, gather colorful leaves that have fallen off your trees, or simply clip them off the branches. Choose leaves that are not damaged, damp or torn. Here are the things you will need to press the leaves:
- a large brick or heavy book (such as a phone book)
- cardboard (about 10 X 12 inches)
- tissue paper.
Wash the leaves to remove debris or bug residue. Allow them to dry overnight. Layer the items in the following order: cardboard, newspaper, tissue paper, leaves (not touching each other), tissue paper and newspaper. Finally, top the stack with another piece of cardboard.
You can repeat this stack to press as many leaves as you want. However, don”t stack too high to avoid tipping. Top the stack with a brick or heavy book, and place the stack in a cool, dry place. Let the stack sit for two to four weeks.
Once the leaves have pressed for a few weeks, place them on your table or buffet or glue them to napkin rings or place cards. You can also use this method to press small flowers.
Napkin Rings for Thanksgiving
Making napkin rings is another fun Thanksgiving activity to do with kids of any age. You can cut cardboard rings from paper towel or toilet tissue rolls that you have saved. Put a dot of hot glue on a length of ribbon the same width as the tube. Put another dot of glue on the front of the ring, opposite the seam on the back, and affix a small silk flower, a decorative bead or one of your pressed leaves or flowers.
To make the napkin rings more formal, you can use stiff velvet ribbon or tulle and glue it into ring shapes. An even easier idea is to wrap the silverware in a napkin and loosely tie the bundle with the ribbon. Tuck a piece of fresh or silk greenery into the knot and place the bundle on the dinner plate.
Place Cards for Thanksgiving
If you are hosting a larger Thanksgiving celebration, make place cards for your guests with your children. You can use supplies you already have and let the kids create their own designs. Other supplies you may need include:
- blank place cards (You can either purchase these or make them yourself by folding index cards in half.)
- colored pencils or fine-point markers
- pinking shears
- roll of magnetic tape that is sticky on one side
- small laminator (available from craft or office supply stores)
- stamps and stamp pads
If the children who are doing the Thanksgiving crafts are too young to write the guests” names, they can use stickers to decorate a blank place card and you can write the names for them. If the children are a little older, they can use stamps and stamp pads to create their own designs and then write the names themselves.
If you have time and a definite guest list, another good Thanksgiving craft is to make place cards that your guests can take home as gifts. Use your computer”s graphics program to create a Thanksgiving-themed design. Next, print the design on lightweight cardstock and cut out the place card. If you have a small laminator, you can laminate the finished product.
To turn the place card into a magnet that your guests can use when they get home, cut a small piece of the magnetic tape and stick it on the back of the place card.
Thanksgiving can be a wonderful time to get together with family and friends and share the joy of the holidays. By including the kids in your preparations and Thanksgiving activities, you will be creating memories and traditions that they will always cherish.