Skip the Hand Turkeys — Here Are 4 Crafts to Make With the Kids Instead

thankful turkey craft
Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Stuck between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving often gets the short end of the stick when it comes to getting creative and crafty.

Sure, there are the handprint turkeys your kid will bring home from school year after year, but we can do better than that.

After all, the little ones will need a fun, constructive outlet to keep them occupied while you’re busy preparing dinner. These four Thanksgiving crafts use inexpensive items you’re likely to have at home already.

1. Mini Salt Dough Cornucopia

Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

The cornucopia is a popular Thanksgiving symbol. Usually the “horn of plenty” is filled with fruits and vegetables of the harvest. You can line the inside of this mini version with a little wax paper and fill it with M&Ms or candy corn instead.

What you’ll need:

  • One cup flour
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ½ cup warm water
  • Foil
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • Paint brush

How to create this craft:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Use foil to create a solid cone about 4 inches tall and about 2½ inches in diameter. Set aside.
  1. To create your salt dough, first mix the flour and salt together. Add the water in slowly, kneading the dough with your hands. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. If it’s too dry, add more water.
  1. On a floured flat surface, roll out your ball of dough into a circle about ¼ inch thick. It should be roughly 8 inches in diameter.
  1. Drape the flattened dough onto your foil cone (pointed end up). Shape the dough around the cone, removing extra dough. Use a pinch of the extra dough and add it to the pointed end of the cone, creating a curved hook.
  1. Place on a baking sheet and heat in the oven for an hour. Your dough should be hardened and dry.
  1. Once it has cooled, remove the foil from the center of your mini cornucopia. Paint and then let dry.

2. Tissue Paper Harvest Corn

Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Corn is noted as likely being among the food eaten at the first Thanksgiving. This simple craft is fun and easy to make.

What you’ll need:

  • Brown construction paper
  • Yellow, orange and red tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue

How to create this craft:

  1. Using the brown construction paper, cut out one large oval and two medium-size ovals.
  1. Glue the medium-size ovals to the bottom end of the large oval on diagonal angles to create an ear of corn with the husks peeling off.
  1. Crumple up small pieces of tissue paper to make the corn kernels. The number you’ll need will depend on the size of your large oval. You can place the “kernels” on top to gauge whether you have enough to fill it out.
  1. Once you have enough crumpled tissue paper, glue them to the large oval to create your harvest corn. Let it dry.

3. Sponge-Painted “THANKFUL” Sign

sponge painted
Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

This holiday is all about giving thanks. Say it with a burst of fall colors.

You can customize this craft by using different words, such as “thanks,” “Thanksgiving” or “love.”

What you’ll need:

  • White or light-colored construction paper
  • Paint in fall colors
  • Colored pencil
  • Sponge
  • Scissors
  • Tape

How to create this craft:

  1. On a piece of construction paper, write out the word “THANKFUL” in big block letters, all caps. The bigger, the better. You can use stencils here if you’re not comfortable free-handing it.
  1. Carefully cut out the inside of each letter, creating your own custom stencil of the entire word.
  1. Tape the THANKFUL stencil to another sheet of construction paper.
  1. Cut off a small piece of sponge, dip it in a fall color of your choice and blot over the stencil.
  1.  Repeat step 4 using a variety of fall colors until the void created by the stencil is well concentrated with paint.
  1.  Let dry and remove the stencil.
  1. If desired, you can use a colored pencil to refine the words and make them more readable.

4. Thankful Turkey

thankful turkey craft
Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Yes, I know we said we were going to move away from the old turkey craft, but this is an upgraded version. Plus you can use this as an opportunity for your kids to express what they’re grateful for this year.

What you’ll need:Construction paper in brown, yellow, orange and red

  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Black marker or colored pencil

How to create this craft:
Using the brown construction paper, cut out an oval, about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide. This will be the body of the turkey. Make a horizontal cut at the very bottom to create a flat end.

  1. Cut out a yellow triangle for a beak and a red heart for the piece of flesh that dangles from the beak. (It’s called a snood, by the way.)
  1. Glue the beak and snood (just turn the heart upside down and voila!) onto the brown turkey body and draw in two eyes. Glue the turkey body to the bottom a piece of white construction paper, but don’t put any adhesive on the edges of the turkey. Set aside.
  1. Cut the yellow, orange and red paper into nine 1-inch-wide strips (three strips for each color) about 8 inches long.
  1. Have your kids write one thing they’re thankful for on each strip. Only write on one half of the strip. Alternate between writing from the edge going toward the center of the strip and then writing from the center going toward the edge.
  1. Glue the ends of each strip together without creating a crease to create the turkey’s plumage feathers. Make sure the words are showing on the outside.
  1. Stick the feathers into the outer edges of the turkey body, making sure the words can be read. Glue the edges of the turkey down after you tuck in each strip.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She enjoys writing about parenting and money. She aspires to be one of those Pinterest moms. (It’s a work in progress.)