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Happy Thanksgiving! “What,” you say. “Halloween just ended. It can’t be Thanksgiving yet!” While it’s true we have 3 1/2 weeks until the actual date, now is a great time to have some fun with your family in doing preparation projects. Not just the grandkids either. Here are some fun ideas I’ve enjoyed as well as more ideas I’ve discovered from others to help you all get into that thankful Thanksgiving mood.
These are fun art projects that are also easy. They require paper such as cardstock or construction paper – lots of colors. You also need crayons or markers, and adorable little and not-so-little hands.
Thanksgiving Wreath – Gather up everyone, grandkids, great-grandma, and even yourself. Start tracing everyone’s hands. You will need several handprints for this one. I used 15 ranging from tiny to small. Cut them all out. Then tape, glue or staple all the hands together into the shape of a wreath, with the wrists on the inside of the wreath and the fingers all facing out. I used double-sided tape and loved how it worked. I was even able to peel pieces off when I wanted to rearrange them. When the wreath is done (if you used glue – make sure they are all dry), have each person write different things they are thankful for on each hand. (I actually did most of the writing and did it before putting it together. It’s easier to write that way, but you will wind up covering some of the writing up. You could also make a second wreath and on that one, write one or more “thanksgiving” Bible verses around the wreath. We chose to mix it up with favorite verses, hymns and things we were thankful for. It would be fun to make a variety of these Thanksgiving wreaths to share as a sweet Thanksgiving gift with each family member. If you will be visiting at a nursing home this season or have elderly neighbors, you could make several of these as special Thanksgiving gifts.
Thanksgiving Tree – I found a cute variation of this idea at Family Corner. They put the handprints on a predrawn tree trunk to create a family tree. Be sure to take a look at their results. (If you don’t want to draw the trunk free hand, you could trace around your arm and your hand on brown paper. Cut that out to be the trunk and branches.) The handprints became the leaves. The children then wrote what they were thankful for on each leaf. You could also expand this idea by making a tree with Bible verses on the leaves. Another fun idea would be to make a “family tree.” On that one, you would write the names of different family members. Then, throughout the holiday season, pick a different name each day to pray for that person.
Thanksgiving Turkey – Enchanted Learning has full directions and pictures for a handprint turkey – a very cute home decor idea.
If you want to use any of these projects as Thanksgiving placemats, purchase clear vinyl contact paper found in the shelf paper section of the store. Cut out a rectangle the size you want for a placemat. Place the project centered on the sticky vinyl. Cut another rectangle the same size, and place it on top of the project with the two sticky sides facing each other. Smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles. When it is just as you like it, trim around the edges to make sure there are no sticky sides and it’s even. Contact paper IS hard to work with. Be very careful as it is easy to damage the creation in this part of the process and we all know how sad that can make a little one. Once done, you will have a lovely placemat that can be reused each holiday season. Think how fun it will be to save these. Not only that, you can then make new ones each year as well. Watching those hands grow through the years will add to the delight of this tradition.
P.S. The nice thing about all these is that they are also easy arts and crafts ideas for senior citizens, either by themselves or working with their grandkids and great-grandchildren. A definite win win for sweet Thanksgiving joys.