Thanksgiving Crafts

Written by Shirley Parker
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Say the word Thanksgiving and what comes to mind after the word turkey? It's usually the word Pilgrims, even when we can't remember the year they landed at Plymouth Rock. Pilgrim dolls are made from almost everything, it seems. The store-bought soft dolls in costume vie with yarn and sock dolls. Craft classes often produce the Styrofoam® and toothpicks version, with funny construction paper hats and clothes. And some Pilgrim dolls are actually candles, complete with wicks.

Coloring turkeys, ears of corn, squashes and fruit, and cutting them out is one of the most colorful Thanksgiving crafts for children. Strings of autumn leaves can also be painted or collected, depending on the climate, or wreaths can be made with them. Kids will often color pictures of the Mayflower that brought the settlers. Or they might make a turkey out of a pinecone and paper feathers.

Children learn about the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621 and how the Wampanoag tribe of Indians kept the early, unprepared settlers alive through their first winter in a harsh land. As they move into the next grade levels, children will later ponder what went wrong in the centuries that followed. They also learn to appreciate how very important good food is for all peoples.

The Meaning of Thanksgiving

The concepts of good fortune and thankfulness are part of the lessons at this time of year. Ears of corn, squashes and fruit can be displayed in a horn of plenty basket, or cornucopia. But when that shape isn't available, a curved or square basket will work just fine. As with other historical holidays, schools sometimes enlist the help of parents in providing costumes for Thanksgiving plays and skits. The teachers usually have the means to design simple background scenery and the kids take their parts very seriously.

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