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Turkey-Free Thanksgiving Crafts Kids Can Make All Fall

Ah, Thanksgiving. A day of giant balloons on Fifth Avenue. A day of uncomfortable dinner-table discussions. A day of even more uncomfortable history lessons. A day spent being thankful, hanging with family and eating your weight in mashed potatoes. But what else is there to do other than napping off your food coma with those you love? Crafts, of course!

But crafting around Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you’re obligated to stick to hand turkeys — and please, in the name that of all that is good, no more paper pilgrims. Below are a few colorful crafts the entire family can make. Holiday entertainment and fall home decor you can hang ’til New Year’s? Sold.

So build a fire, pour some apple cider and enjoy these bright Thanksgiving-y crafts you can make well before — and beyond — Thanksgiving itself.

Fall Thanksgiving crafts for kids: clay leaf charms
Image: Mod Podge Rocks Blog

Clay leaf charms

This is an easy DIY from Mod Podge Rocks Blog that can be used for so many things. Tie it to your Thanksgiving place settings as a festive charm, use it as an ornament, or write the names of each of your Thanksgiving guests on the back and use them as name cards. Plus, this craft only needs four items: clay, leaves, black paint and “antique” Mod Podge — and it can be made in four easy steps.

Fall Thanksgiving crafts for kids: apple ribbon suncatchers
Image: Fireflies and Mudpies

Ribbon apple suncatchers

These ribbon suncatchers from Fireflies and Mudpies are so simple and cute. It’s an easy weaving craft that only needs five items and promotes fine motor skills for little hands. The blog suggests using red, green and yellow patterned scrap ribbon to make these autumnal goodies (and you can substitute orange ribbon to make a pumpkin).
Fall Thanksgiving crafts for kids: pumpkin pie garland

Pumpkin pie garland

Because what’s Thanksgiving without a little pie? This garland from the craft queen herself, Martha Stewart, is as fun to make as the real deal is to eat. (Well, almost.) With just pieces of paper and glue, you can make this “delicious” holiday decor — and top it with a whipped cream pom-pom for an extra-sweet detail.

Fall Thanksgiving crafts for kids: leaf print pillowcase
Image: Ukkonooa

DIY leaf-print pillowcase

(or napkin or place mat or apron or…)

Be careful with this one, because once you start, you’ll want everything you own to be covered in leaf prints. This DIY from Ukkonooa has a simple three-step process: collect leaves, paint them with a fabric paint of your choosing, and press the leaves onto your desired fabric to create these beautiful prints.

Fall Thanksgiving crafts for kids: potato leaf print DIY
Image: How Wee Learn

Leaf potato stamping

This is a fun Thanksgiving twist on a classic craft, and it’s a great way for little ones to get into the holiday spirit. Carve a leaf, pumpkin, or the word “thanks” onto your potatoes, pick your autumnal paint colors, and get to stamping. The folks over at How Wee Learn have some suggestions for how to add a few fun details to this project, such as drawing a tree onto the paper and inviting kids to decorate it with leaves.
Fall Thanksgiving crafts for kids: watercolor leaf and branch mobile
Image: Happiness is Homemade

Watercolor leaf & branch mobile

How gorgeous is this watercolor branch mobile? Get the details over on Happiness is Homemade; kids of all ages can help with this incredibly eye-catching craft. Simply use watercolors in fall shades to make a few paintings, cut out the leaves and attach them to a branch with string.

Fall Thanksgiving crafts for kids: autumn lanterns
Image: No Wooden Spoons

Autumn lanterns

This is a great way to create that perfect warm glow of autumn sunset through the trees — but indoors. Collect leaves outside (make sure to pick the best colors), let them dry overnight, and then use Mod Podge to stick them to the outside of a Mason jar. Let it dry for 24 hours and place a candle inside (pumpkin pie-scented, perhaps?) before decorating your Thanksgiving table or placing these around your house for all the fall vibes. Head over to No Wooden Spoons for the full tutorial.
Fall Thanksgiving crafts for kids: wreath of plenty
Image: Doug Merriam/Parents

Wreath of plenty

Every leaf you add to your wreath makes it a fuller, more beautiful piece of Thanksgiving decor — as well as a beautiful reminder of all of the things your family has to be grateful for. The folks at Parents magazine share this easy holiday DIY. Cut out leaves from colorful paper, leave out pens or markers for your family to write down what they are thankful for and pin them into a foam circle or wreath form you’ve wrapped in fabric or painted. Almost too easy.

Fall Thanksgiving crafts for kids: maple Play Dough
Image: The Best Ideas for Kids

Maple play dough

What is Thanksgiving without delicious smells wafting through the house? This maple play dough from The Best Ideas For Kids not only gives you delightful play dough to squish around, but it also smells just like Thanksgiving breakfast. The blog even has recipes for apple pie play dough and pumpkin pie play dough; try these only if you’re confident you won’t be tempted to eat them. This dough does need to be cooked, but little kids can get in on that fun too — by helping to measure the ingredients and stir the pot. Once the batch is ready, get started on those incredible, edible-smelling creations. (But please, don’t eat them.)

Fall Thanksgiving crafts for kids: Pin it
Image: Martha Stewart, Ukkoonooa, Fireflies and Mudpies/Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

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