Now that we are firmly in the fall season, it’s time to start thinking about the holidays coming up. This will be the beginning of a series of posts on both Thanksgiving and Christmas – crafts, activities, book lists, freebies, gift ideas…all the things to help you have peaceful and joyful holiday season. 

First up, some Thanksgiving craft ideas plus a Thanksgiving placemat freebie! Let’s dive right in!

Thanksgiving is such a special time of the year with crisp weather, fall leaves, football, and family gatherings. I’m not sure if it’s my favorite holiday, but it’s definitely close. It is a sweet time to celebrate the Lord’s goodness and blessing in our lives while gathered with family, friends, and of course, lots of delicious food. 

An Activity Space for Children

While adults are generally focused on logistical things like preparing food, making sure there is seating for everyone at the table, and how to coordinate a meal time around the footballs games, not to mention visiting back and forth, it is easy to forget to plan special things for the children. It is important remember the little ones at the table and to give them plenty of activities and attention to make sure they feel included and special. I love the idea of creating a fun little table just for the children, a place where kiddos could do a fun Thanksgiving craft, do coloring activities, play games, and of course, eat! 

A fun table setting idea would be to sprinkle coloring pages, colored craft paper, crayons, pencils, stickers, and maybe even a glue stick on a child-size table and let this be a place where kiddos can have a lot of fun without worrying about them. Keeping plenty of items on hand to keep the children busy and distracted will allow them freedom to have fun and allow the adults to visit without interruption – its a win win!

Placemat Craft

One fun craft idea is to create a special Thanksgiving place mat that will keep children engaged, entertained, and maybe even help them learn a few things about the holiday. I’ll share some fun ways you can create your own Thanksgiving placemats, but I have also included a few free printable Thanksgiving placemats at the end of this post. 

These placemats could be done ahead of time, making enough for all of your invited guests, or make this a part of your Thanksgiving day celebrations!

Crafting is a fun way for kids to practice fine motor skills and explore their own creativity, as well as being a great way to keep little hands busy. Children of all ages will enjoy creating their own placemats and it is the perfect way to build excitement and anticipation for the upcoming holiday.

Supplies Needed

To create a Thanksgiving placemat craft, you’ll need the following materials: 

1. Large sheets of construction paper or cardstock in fall colors like orange, brown, and yellow.

2. Markers, crayons, colored pencils.

3. Thanksgiving-themed stickers or clip-art images, feathers, google eyes, etc.

4. Scissors and glue sticks.

5. Thanksgiving-themed educational content (fun facts word searches, mazes, etc.


1. Start by cutting your cardstock or construction paper into placemat-sized rectangles.

2. Allow your child to choose how they want to decorate their placemat. Younger kids may enjoy having their hands traced and then adding feathers to the fingers to make a turkey, while older children might want to draw their favorite Thanksgiving foods or Thanksgiving activities. You could even do a painted hand print if you’re up for a little more challenge! There are so many possibilities!

3. Include plenty of stickers. Children of all ages love stickers, so be sure and include some for this easy craft. Things like turkeys, cornucopias, pilgrim hats, pumpkins, and corn stalks make great additions. 

4. For older kids, challenge them to include a fun fact about the history of Thanksgiving or maybe even design a work search or maze. 

5. Of course, it is THANKSgiving, so don’t forget to include a place for children to list things they are thankful for this year. 

Using Your Thanksgiving Placemat

Be sure to include your Thanksgiving placemats on your table for your holiday meal. Here’s some fun ways to use them.

1. Allow each child a turn to share his fun fact or historical detail with the whole family. 

2. Encourage each person to share something from his gratitude list written on his placemat. 

3. Remember those mazes and word searches that your child designed on his placement? Encourage children to work through those activities while the adults are visiting or while you are waiting on the final touches to the meal preparation. 

4. These Thanksgiving place mats make for a cute take-home keepsake and, if you start doing them yearly, this would be a fun thing to look back on year after year. 

Hand Print Turkey

Thanksgiving crafts are such a fun addition to your celebration and what better craft to make than a turkey craft?! The possibilities are endless, but one simple thing that you could do would be to make a handprint turkey by tracing your child’s hand on a piece of paper. Then draw eyes, mouth, and nose on the palm of the hand for the turkey’s face and color each finger a different color for the feathers. Alternatively, you could pick up some faux feathers from a craft store and glue these to your handprint. You could also use these as a placemat for your Thanksgiving table decor. This would be a fun way to decorate a kids’ table!  

Thanksgiving Paper Chain

In the true spirit of the holiday, don’t forget to take some time to help your children reflect on all that they are grateful for in their lives. One very simple way to do this is to cut colored strips of construction paper and write something that you are thankful for on each strip. Use tape or a stapler to form the strips into a connected chain and hang your paper chain somewhere to remind you of all of the things you are thankful for. This would also make a fun way to count down to Thanksgiving if you started it earlier in the month. 

Thankfulness Tree

To make a thankful tree, trace your child’s hand and forearm on a piece of paper, this will be the “trunk”. Then cut leaf shapes out of colored construction paper and help your child to write something he is thankful for on each leaf. Glue leaves to the tree and display your piece of art as a reminder of all of your blessings.

I hope these ideas inspire your creativity for the ways you could include your children in you Thanksgiving celebrations and make the day special and fun for them as well. As always, the most important thing is that we create a space of peace and joy in which to reflect on our many blessings and gifts. I truly hope you have a wonderful holiday season and I would love to know how you are celebrating. 

If you’re looking for even more ideas to help your preschoolers and toddlers celebrate Thanksgiving in a special way, watch for my Thanksgiving mini- bundle releasing soon!

If you’d like to download FREE printable Thanksgiving placemats for toddlers CLICK HERE.

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