Thanksgiving Activities

By: Kersten Hamilton & Lisa Lerner

Take the time to make a special bird for the table.
Take the time to make a special bird for the table.

Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion for making fun holiday crafts. Thanksgiving activities incorporate the beautiful colors of autumn and provide inspiration for creativity.

In the United States, modern Thanksgiving celebrations are held on the fourth Thursday in November. This is to commemorate the pilgrims' first Thanksgiving in 1621.


The pilgrims celebrated their first harvest together with Native Americans. These Native Americans had been very helpful to the pilgrims, teaching them how to grow crops native to what is now called North America.

When we celebrate Thanksgiving, we decorate our homes in celebration of those early American achievements, and of the things we have to be thankful for in our own lives.

On the following pages, you will find a bunch of great activities for this all-American holiday.

  • Mosaic Planters: Fall has so much natural beauty. Bring it inside in these beautiful and easy-to-make planters.
  • Salt and Pepper Pilgrims: These salt and pepper shakers are so easy to make, and they make a great addition to the holiday table.
  • Turkey Feathers Game: Can you "outflap" your friends and family? Find out with this fun game!
  • Fruity Turkey: This colorful and tasty treat is so easy and fun to create -- and it makes a great, edible centerpiece for the dinner table.
  • Turkey in the Straws: With a little practice and nimble fingers, you can win this fun game.

But before the fun and games begin, go to the next page to learn how to give your spring planters a colorful fall makeover.

For more fun activities and crafts for kids, see:


Mosaic Planters

Keep busy on Thanksgivingby making this mosaic planter.
Keep busy on Thanksgivingby making this mosaic planter.

Turn your spring planters into mosaic planters with a fun Thanksgiving holiday craft activity.

What You'll Need:




Assortment of dried beans

Empty can


White glue

Small paintbrush

Shellac or clear nail polish

Dried flowers

Before you begin to make these planters, sketch out pattern ideas on paper first. Look at your beans and arrange them on a table, then copy the design you like on paper, using a different colored crayon for each of the colored beans.

Refer to your sketch as you glue the beans onto the can. Make sure that your can really is clean and that all the paper labels are removed before you start. Sandpaper the can so that the beans will stick better.

Paint a thin layer of glue on one area at a time, and glue the beans on in your chosen design. Cover the can so little metal shows through. Protect your design with one or two coats of shellac or clear nail polish.

Fill the can with dried flowers for a harvest theme decoration. Or use the can in a few months when you start your spring seedlings.

The first to give thanks were the pilgrims, so why not make a set of salt and pepper pilgrims for your holiday table? Go to the next page to learn more.

For more fun activities and crafts for kids, see:


Salt and Pepper Pilgrims

Salt and pepper pilgrims Thanksgiving craft.
Salt and pepper pilgrims Thanksgiving craft.

These salt and pepper pilgrims will make sure that your Thanksgiving table is always well-seasoned. Salt and pepper pilgrims make for a great holiday craft.

What You'll Need:

2 clean, empty spice jars with shaker tops






At the very first Thanksgiving there were no salt and pepper shakers. But there were pilgrims! Now you can have pilgrims at your Thanksgiving with these nifty shakers that you make from spice jars.

Make sure that each jar is well washed and dried. Paint a male pilgrim on one and a female pilgrim on the other. Label one jar "Salt" and one jar "Pepper."

Now fill them up to decorate your Thanksgiving table!

Another key ingredient for Thanksgiving is of course turkey -- but not all turkeys have to be on the table. Learn a "turkey feathers" game on the next page.

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Turkey Feathers Game

This Thanksgiving, know your feathered friends -- or lose the game! Turkey Feathers Game is a fun holiday activity for all.

Gather together five or more players for this fast-paced game.


One person is the leader, who will say "Turkey Feathers, Turkey Feathers" while flapping his or her arms. Other players should flap their arms, too.

The leader keeps calling out, "Turkey Feathers" again and again, sometimes

naming other creatures -- some that have feathers and some that do not. For example, the leader may say, "Chicken Feathers, Pig Feathers, Dog Feathers, Turkey Feathers, Turkey Feathers, Mouse Feathers, Robin Feathers" while flapping and flapping his or her arms.

Any other player who flaps her or his arms when a non-feathered creature, such as pig or dog or mouse, is called is out, is out of the game. The last person still playing when everyone else is out gets to be the leader for the next round.

There are so many ways to enjoy turkey over the holidays. Check out the next activity to learn how to make fruity turkeys.

For more fun activities and crafts for kids, see:


Fruity Turkeys

A fruity turkey brightens up the Thanksgiving table.
A fruity turkey brightens up the Thanksgiving table.

Making fruity turkeys is a great edible holiday craft for Thanksgiving. These gobblers will be gobbled up in a hurry at any Thanksgiving table!

What You'll Need:





Fresh or frozen cranberries


Measuring cup


Small carrot sticks

Cherry tomatoes or radishes


Raisins or currants

Small plate

Leafy lettuce

Is there a vegetarian in your family? A vegetarian is someone who doesn't eat meat. Even a vegetarian will enjoy this special turkey!

Cut an orange in half and scoop out the insides. You might need an adult to help you do this. Put the pulp, 1 cup cranberries, and 1/4 cup honey into the blender. Mix well.

Spoon the mixture into the orange halves. Use small carrot sticks to form the turkey's tail feathers. Stick a cherry tomato or a radish on a toothpick for the turkey's head.

Raisins or currants stuck on bits of broken toothpick can be poked into the tomato or radish for the turkey's eyes. Two bits of broken toothpick can be used for the turkey's beak.

Set your turkey on a plate, and surround it with lots of leafy lettuce. Everyone will agree that this turkey is gobble-gobblin' good!

Looking for more turkey fun? Go to the last page to learn how to play turkey in the straws!

For more fun activities and crafts for kids, see:


Turkey in the Straws

"Turkey in the Straws" Thanksgiving activity.
"Turkey in the Straws" Thanksgiving activity.

"Turkey in the Straws" is a tricky Thanksgiving holiday game that's a lot of fun to play with family!

What You'll Need:

Large, empty margarine tub


Drinking straws

Plastic cup

Lay several drinking straws crosswise on the margarine tub. Now balance a cup, turned upside down, on the straws.

Each player takes a turn removing 1 straw at a time. Whoever pulls the straw that makes the cup fall down is the "turkey." He or she must gobble out loud!

Practice this game by yourself -- you won't be the turkey next time you play with friends!

For more fun activities and crafts for kids, see: