If you have children, how can you get them involved in Thanksgiving and get them to celebrate the true intention of giving thanks?

Thanksgiving activities for kids are an easy and fun way to get children to demonstrate what they are grateful for.

Thanksgiving and toilet paper go hand in hand

Start off with toilet paper. Toilet paper, you say? Yes, start saving the inner rolls. These can be easily painted or colored with nontoxic markers or crayons.

For example, the lower two-thirds of the roll can be colored black to mimic the dress of the pilgrim settlers, complete with belt buckle.

Complete the pilgrim costume on the toilet paper roll by coloring white the puffy shirts that pilgrims commonly wore (think: Jerry Seinfeld’s Puffy Shirt). Add a couple dots in black for the buttons.

Any kid will know how to draw two eyes and a smiley face. Next, to complete the depictions, have your kid cut some construction paper in either yellow or brown for the hair, depending if they prefer their pilgrims blonde or brunette.

For Native American depictions, have your kid color the roll orange and draw some decorative beads in black. Place a tight construction paper band around the “head” of the Native American and insert a feather or two.

Don’t let your kids gorge; instead, let them ‘Gourd’

What a versatile vegetable the gourd is. Actually, a common gourd is a dried shell of a fruit that’s in the same family as pumpkins.

Dried gourds can be painted easily. Apply the same principles as on the toilet paper roll. Both the gourd and rolls can be used as centerpieces for the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Corn stalks also make for alternative, easy canvases on which your kids can paint iconic images of Thanksgiving.

Giving thanks placemats

Have your kids create a collage filled with drawings and pictures of all they are thankful for. If your kids are old enough to write, have them place captions under the pictures, which can be cut out from magazines. 

The collage can be placed on construction paper and then laminated for future placemat use.

Paper chain

Another popular construction project kids can create is a paper chain. And like the collage project, the paper chain can also be a fun holiday medium in which your kids can demonstrate what they are thankful for.

Cut strips of paper and connect them together as loops just as you would any other paper chain. But first, have your kids write on the strips of paper before you connect them.

Have a kid that can’t think of anything to be grateful for? Teach them that millions of children on Earth don’t have enough to eat on a daily basis. Then have your child write or cut out an image of food on the piece of paper.

Kids typically like large art projects, so the more things you can remind them to be thankful for, the longer the paper chain will be.

There are Christmas trees, why not Thanksgiving ones, too?

Another fun craft that gets kids talking about what they are grateful for is to get each child to trace their hand on construction paper.

Red, yellow or brown paper will work best.

Have your child place their hand on the paper and trace it and then cut out the shape.

Then have your child write what they are grateful for on the paper.

Next, cut a tree trunk shape out of brown construction paper.

You’ll want to glue it on a large piece of poster board.

Your kids can then add their hand shapes as leaves above the tree trunk, transforming it into a delightful autumnal faux-arbor artwork that the whole family will be grateful for. 

Got other ideas for Thanksgiving activities for kids? Leave us a note in the comments below.

See also:

Thanksgiving crafts

Thanksgiving recipes

History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving poems