Three Inexpensive Thanksgiving Kid Crafts

Today’s topic: The Thanksgiving Kids Table. Yes, the ingredients for a full-on Turkey dinner can wipe out a budget, but there’s no need to spend a bundle to keep the kiddos entertained while you concentrate on the stuffing. So here are three adorable activities your kids (and wallet) will love.

Corn Necklaces & Garlands
First up, string dried corn kernels to make a necklace or garland! Dried corn kernels are hard. So prep them for stringing by using a drill. If you prefer, you can also soak them and then poke a hole through the softened kernels with a big needle.

Once they’re prepped, older kids can use embroidery floss and a needle to string them. For younger kids, avoid the needles by using a stiff waxed kitchen twine or stiffen the ends of embroidery floss by soaking it in glue and letting it dry. Your little ones can make bracelets for the honored guests, or a garland to hang from the chandelier.

Walnut Boats
The next idea was spotted on Cultivated Lives. Your kids can make tiny versions of the Mayflower with walnuts, playdough, toothpicks and paper. So cute! And perfect for boat races in the bathtub or an outdoor puddle.

Click here for the tutorial (plus an easy recipe for homemade playdough).

Paper Pilgrim Hats
With a few folds, your kids will be all dressed up as Mr. or Mrs. Pilgrim. It’s a super easy project and makes for memorable photos. Tip: If you don’t have a stock of oversize paper, you can use newsprint instead.

What about you? How do you keep the kids entertained on Thanksgiving day?

18 thoughts on “Three Inexpensive Thanksgiving Kid Crafts”

  1. We are not an especially craft-talented family, so we keep the kids busy with taking drink orders and making place cards for everyone. The kids are often charged with making lists of things they are thankful for and for “interviewing” everyone else for theirs. Of course, setting the table, clearing the table and making sure all condiments are accounted for are also key tasks!

  2. My kids (7,5,3) are going to recite a poem for our guests. We are learning ti together and they’ll recite it after dinner on Thanksgiving.
    Maybe they’ll wear some Pilgrim hats while they do it!
    Great ideas.
    Love from,

  3. A few years ago we celebrated Thanksgiving with several families with young children. We unrolled a huge sheet of paper along one wall and everyone (including adults) drew on it with crayons to create a fun mural!

    1. Hah! I will not be drilling corn either, but it’s the perfect sort of job for my older kids to do on a random evening when they’re watching TV.

      If we do it this weekend, we’ll have a bowl of corn beads ready for the little ones on Thanksgiving. But if I didn’t have helpers, this idea might not have caught my eye. : )

  4. Love the walnut boats! Putting those on my list… And Hannah’s suggestion of a mural? Brilliant!

    But I have to say, the thought of drilling corn so for necklaces has my fingers twitching — and not in a good way! The photos look great, but it sounds like a lot of prep work for a simple craft. Now, how about a garland of popcorn, cranberries, et al? Much easier to prep, and it can go right over to holiday decorating!

  5. We’ve been writing down what we’re thankful for from November 1st to Thanksgiving. I’d like to read these aloud with the grandparents who will be joining us for dinner. I was also hoping to do the activity with the grandparents and save it in some way.

    My fil would get a kick out of the walnut boats!

  6. I have the grandkids write the prayer each year, and then recite it together. I keep the prayers and one day will put them together in a collection and present them to the grandkids. They also usually make some kind of table decorations: pinecone turkeys, place cards, placemats, etc.

    We try to read Abraham Lincoln’s amazing Thanksgiving Day proclamation. (You can read it here: )

    A new tradition I hope to start this year is to have “Thanksgiving Blessings” snack ingredients for the grandkids to mix and bag and give away to friends. The ingredients are Bugles snack crackers, mini pretzel twists, M&Ms, dried fruits of some kind (cranberries for us); dried seeds or nuts (pumpkins seeds are our choice) and a Hershey’s kiss. Mix it up and bag and staple the following on the bag:

    BUGLES: Reminds us of the cornucopia (horn of plenty), a symbol of our nation’s abundance.
    PRETZELS: Reminds us of arms folded in prayer and the religious freedom sought by those who founded our country.
    CANDY CORN: Reminds us of the friendship of the Native Americans who greeted the Pilgrims and shared with them their knowledge of growing crops, hunting game and surviving in a new land.
    NUTS OR PUMPKIN SEEDS: Reminds us of our future. Seeds planted today are tomorrow’s harvest if we are diligent and attentive.
    DRIED FRUIT: Reminds of God’s provision through our bountiful land!
    M&Ms: Represent the sweetness of friends and community.
    HERSHEY’S KISS: Represents the love of family.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Heidi Jungwirth

    I’d love to email you a photo of our Thanksgiving “Tree of Thanks” that we did for our Thanksgiving this year. (we celebrate earlier in Canada) but I don’t know how to send a photo.

  8. Cute projects but I dont think the nina pinta etc is related to Thanksgiving! Those boats were more than 100 years earlier werent they? Nonetheless, we are boat making today.

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