Whether you’re a teacher or hosting the family Thanksgiving this year, having age-appropriate crafts available are a fun way to remind your child of all the things to be thankful for this holiday season.
Preschool - age
Thankful Pie Spinner
A Pie Spinner is super easy to make and fun for small kids to play with. It’s made of two layers of paper, one white and one orange. You can divide the white paper into as many triangular sections as you want, and cut one similar size triangle into the orange paper. In each area of the white paper, write one thing that the child is thankful for. With smaller children, it’s okay that they include material things that one usually wouldn’t consider themselves thankful for. Maybe they really like their barbie doll or lego set, or the family dog is their best friend. What’s important is that the child recognizes that they personally appreciate those things. Because preschool-age children may not be able to read yet, consider having them draw pictures in the sections in addition to the written words so that they understand what the spinner landed on. This is also a great opportunity for them to begin recognizing how words they use often look on paper.
Another idea for preschool-age children is gratitude ABCs. Take a group of letters, whether the section of the alphabet you’re currently working on or the letters in their name, and have each child come up with one thing they’re thankful for to go with each letter. For example, one child may really like applesauce, which could be used for the letter A. Doing a gratitude alphabet can also help children recognize what letter some of their favorite words start with. Continue this exercise through the rest of the letters. You may have the skip the more difficult ones like Q and Z, but you should be able to help your child fill in the rest.
Elementary - age
For these thankful cookies, you can either bake or buy them and wrap them individually in plastic wrap with the top of your cookie facing the smooth side. Elementary school-age children should be capable of using safety scissors, so have them cut feather shapes out of their choice of construction paper. On each feather shape, have them write one thing they’re thankful for. It could be their parents, their dog, or even their school teacher. Once every feather is filled out, glue them to the back of their plastic-wrapped cookie to create a turkey. If you want to go a step further, googly eyes and a beak added to the front can make this craft even more enjoyable.
Handprint Gratitude Wreath
Kids love tracing their handprints and cutting them out, so try out this handprint gratitude wreath to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Not only will children benefit from recognizing what they are thankful for, but allowing them to cut out their own handprints teaches them how to follow lines and use scissors safely. Start by offering multiple pieces of construction paper to your child. We like to use fall colors, but you can use any colors you want. Have them trace their handprints, two of each page if they’re small enough, and cut out each one individually.
Gratitude Dry Erase Board
Teenagers don’t typically enjoy crafts the way that younger children do, but it doesn’t mean you can’t implement something age appropriate. Try out a gratitude dry-erase board that you can set up in your home or classroom. Each day encourage your child to write something they’re thankful for. It could be as simple as the extra cookie in their lunch today, or the football game they’re attending on Friday. What they are grateful for doesn’t matter as much as the fact that they are taking the time each day to reflect on it.
Everyone loves a good candle, so try your teen's hand at making their own. You can purchase soy-based wax and fun fall fragrance oils online. Teenagers should be mature enough to safely operate the stove and deal with hot wax, and these candles are a great way for them to learn how to follow specific instructions. If you want to take this craft a step further, have them make candles to give as gifts to those they are grateful for - a teacher, a friend’s parent, or a coach. Make sure you also print off candle safety and ingredient labels to attach to your newly made candles.
Contact Peds East
As pediatricians, we encourage positive actions and behavior in children, and that extends beyond just health. Try these age-appropriate gratitude crafts to help your children gain a better understanding of the many things to be grateful for. As always, we are here to help your kids so please call and schedule an appointment if there is anything our pediatric professionals can help you with. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!