Thanksgiving – the day our President pardons a turkey while the rest of fill our bellies with tryptophan – is nigh.

Thanksgiving requires full-family participation: dads and uncles are sent to the store for booze and forgotten groceries, aunts and moms hustle in the kitchen with pots and pans, grandparents smile benevolently/mutter racist comments in the armchair and college-age siblings abandon their bags by the door and head upstairs for an obligatory pre-I’m-going-to-eat-everything nap. But what about the kids? The little guys and girls who can’t eat as much as their adolescent cousins, but are required to chirp their thanks at the table? Keep the little ‘uns occupied with these simple and colorful Thanksgiving Day art projects while you fret and flutter. (Or plonk them in front of the TV for the Macy’s parade. But this is probably better for their cognitive development.)

1. A new spin on a classic.

Whether you were born in 1967 or 2007, around Thanksgiving your teacher gave you permission to coat your palm with paint and slap it down on a piece of construction paper. A few strokes of a pen later, voila! A turkey to take home to mom and the fridge. But this year, have your youngster make palm prints in different colors, so they serve as the turkey’s feathers. They get to spend more time with a messy material, you get to keep their art projects=win-win.

Thanksgiving Day Art Projects
How to save kids’ art long-term and prevent dusty attic pile-ups: Scan everything and save it on a zip drive.

2. Paper Pilgrim party!

While Teacher was going on about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower and Indians, your kid was daydreaming about pummeling the soon-to-arrive cousins. Okay, maybe not pummeling – point is, he/she doesn’t remember anything about T-Day’s origins. So set ’em down with some paper plates and scissors, and recount the story of the weary European immigrants who were so grateful to the Indians who shared a meal with them, they took their land.

Early Americans shared food with the other, earlier Americans. Simplify the story and just tell the kids about the ones with the funny hats.

3. From sewing kit to craft hit.

When the malls open for Black Friday, fall will officially be over and Christmas rules from then on. But before that, red and yellow buttons make a pretty substitution for leaves on a tree, no? It’s a break from the endless turkey hand-prints, and it’ll help you choose which of your kids you find more creative/like better.

4. Farm to table to childhood fable.

You’re probably picking up a pumpkin for pies at a farm this fall; grab some small, inedible corn husks while you’re at it, and have Junior spray paint them in different shades. Nothing will quite deliver the message of a dead bird on the table than a blood-red centerpiece.

Do you have any other ideas for Thanksgiving day art projects?


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