Kid Activities
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Thanksgiving Arts and Crafts

October 22, 2015 04:32 by Barbara Shelby


ARTS AND CRAFTS (Autumn Table Top decorating at page bottom; Songs, Poems, Fun Facts & More on Page 2)


Rocks (various sizes, avoid shiny or glossy rocks)
Light stock paper (such as news print)
Low-gloss varnish or clear finish

1. Collect an assortment of rocks.
2. Clean with soap and water, then paint with fall colored acrylic paints (It's not necessary to cover the entire rock with paint, leave some areas exposed if you wish. Let dry.
3. Print words of wisdom or Thanksgiving quotes on paper. Tear out the sayings (ragged edges).
4. Glue the sayings to your rocks using either white glue or Modge Podge.
5. Finish off the rocks by applying low-gloss varnish or polyurethane.
At home a variety of rocks good be arranged for centerpiece or in a cornucopia along with some other dried elements, such as nuts or grasses.

After Thanksgiving this makes a nice paper weight or addition to a garden!


Gather colored paper (red, orange, brown, green, yellow) Trace the children's hands onto several sheets of several colors. Cut out. Then cut out a brown tree trunk branches in proportion to the amount of leaves. Have the children glue the hand shapes to the tree trunk to form the leaves of the tree. Have the child think of things to be thankful for and label the hand/leaves.

Thankful Tree Display

is a sample from Mann School Art Appreciation.




 Version #2 of  Thankful Tree! (Image from Discount School Supply)


Children can make a beautiful wreath of leaves that displays what they are thankful for. This wreath makes a great Autumn or Thanksgiving decoration.
A plain white paper plate
Construction paper (orange, red, yellow, brown, and other earth tones)
Templates of leaf shapes
Crayons or markers
Glue or a glue stick

  • Cut a HALF CIRCLE OUT OF THE CENTER of a plain paper plate. Cut out a lot of leaves from construction paper. Draw the leaf veins if you wish. If you'd like, use a leaf template.

  • Glue the leaves all around the rim of the paper plate.
In the lower center of the wreath, (the half circle part that was NOT cut out) write, "I am thankful for," and then have the children write or draw what they are thankful for.

  • Put the child's name on the wreath (or let them sign it).
For variations on this wreath: instead of using leaves, use cut-out handprints of the child, tissue paper baking cups or torn-up scraps of paper.




Make a huge turkey body out of construction paper and affix it to a wall. (Or make a smaller body and put on card stock or construction paper)
Give kids multi-colored paper feathers (made from construction paper) and have them write something nice about other students or family members.
Collect the feathers and place on the turkey.



A pine cone
An acorn or a nut in the shell
Brown, red, orange and yellow construction paper
Pencil or marker
Hot glue
Googly eyes

1. Cut out construction paper feathers.
2. Put a small blob of clay on one side of the pine cone to steady it on the table. The pine cone will be the turkey's body.
3. Glue the "feathers" to the top of the wide side of the pine cone.

  • Glue the acorn to the front of the turkey using hot glue. 
  • Glue on two googly eyes and a small piece of red construction paper (for the turkey's wattle). Let the glue set.

You now have a great Thanksgiving table turkey decoration. To avoid staining a tablecloth with the clay, put the turkey on a small plate.



1. Do you have a large pattern or coloring book picture of a cornucopia. If so, make a copy for each child.
2. Have kids color the picture.
3. With stick glue, apply glue to a piece of fruit in the cornucopia; sprinkle dry jell-o (matching the fruit) over the glue. Shake off excess jell-o powder.
4. Reat with the other fruit and flavors of jell-o.
(Original idea from Ms. Tyler-Livonia, Mi. SAC)


  • I painted the kids fingers different (Turkey) colors and placed them on a piece of tag board. Then I painted one foot.

  • Place foot opposite way so the heel is on the top, your toes are the turkey feet and your heel is the head.

  • The funny part is I told all the kids is they had to scrub their feet the night before. They didn't know why and their parents were questioning. I told them it is for a gift for them.

  • We wrapped them up and gave it to the parents for Thanksgiving. Some are framed and hanging in homes every Thanksgiving. I didn't have a poem including the feet but that would be adorable.
Mrs. Z/Rochester Mi.

Mrs. Z...I think the following poem would work (Barb)

This isn't just a turkey,
As anyone can see-
I made it with my hands and feet...
Which are part of me.

It comes with lots of love
And especially today…
I hope you have a very
Happy Thanksgiving Day!


Materials: Construction paper or tag board, glue, paintbrush, different seasonal spices such as: nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, whatever smells good!

1. Trace children's hands on tag board or construction paper. Have the children then put glue on the palm and finger shapes.
2. Spices are then sprinkled on the glue. They can be mixed or put on areas of fingers and hands...
3. To make the spiced handprint become a turkey, draw-feet, eyes, beak and wattle.




APPLE TURKEYS (A snack and craft in one!)

These are fun to make. The tail feathers can be colored mini-marshmallows, gumdrops or a ring cereal such as Froot Loops. The feet can be whatever you decide--such as gum drops or candy corn


 TURKEY: (Sample and Photo by KidActivities) Need: apples, ingredients for feathers, candy corn, large marshmallows and colored toothpicks.

  • The apple is the body of the turkey.
 • Add colored mini-marshmallows or gum drops to 5 or 6 toothpicks; stick them in one end of the apple. 
 • Use a toothpick for the neck.
 • Use a marshmallow for a head -tiny raisin pieces for the eyes - a cut up cany corn for the beak
. Use 3 toothpicks for legs (in a triangular position so your turkey can stand up) If you decide not to add legs, cut a small slice from the bottom of the apple to sit straight.

 Personally, I like to then eat the spice gum-drops! When you are making food crafts with children, make sure to have a few extra pieces for the kids to munch on!

The "Apple Turkeys" would look nice combined with some of the  centerpieces at the bottom of the page...


PLYMOUTH ROCK SEATING--A fun alternative to place cards!

Version #1

Smooth rocks
Craft paint
1. Make sure rocks are clean and dry.
2. Paint the stone/rock entirely or with designs on it.
3. After the rocks are dry, paint  names of Thanksgiving Day dinner guests!

Version #2 using pasta letters... 
Medium sized smooth stones
Pasta Letters

Coat stones in brightly colored craft paint. When paint is dry, glue on pasta letters.


A Connecting and Feel Good Activity

These can double as an activity and for decorations on the tables. You'll need: 
  • Brown paper lunch sacks 
  • Green paint pen 
  • Raffia 
  • Tissue leaves in autumn colors.
  • Plenty of small pieces of paper (approx. 3" X 4" size).

1. Cut the top of each sack in a decorative manner. (Use pinking shears, or regular scissors to trim the size, and give the bag a little character.)
2. Glue one autumn leaf to the center of each bag at an angle.
3. Tie raffia into little bows, and glue one to the base of each leaf with a hot glue gun. Write the name of each child on the bags with the green paint pen.



Place small pieces of paper in a basket along with pens and markers. Have each  child write a note or draw a picture (little ones) of why they are thankful for each person.

    • If your group is having a party-this can be done in the days preceding the party. Drop notes into bags. Allow time during the party or program for the children to read their notes. A great self-esteem building activity!!!


  • Leaves (these can be commercial silks, plastic leaves, or children can children trace and cut out their own leaves. 
  • A branch to make the tree  
  • A container and rocks to support the tree 
  • Magazines 
  • Paper 
  • Scissors 
  • Markers 
  • Needle 
  • Thread 
  • Low-tack tape

Fill the container with rocks. Remove leaves and unnecessary branches from the tree. Put branch in container. Make sure that the branch is securely anchored by the rocks.
2. Use the needle and thread to make individual hangers for the leaves.
3. Have children cut out or draw images of things for which they are thankful or have them write a list of things they are thankful for and cut out the words.
4. Use the tape to stick the thanksgiving items to the leaves. Hint: Any adhesive would work but if you use a low tack adhesive you can use the leaves again next year.
5. Hang the leaves on the tree.




You'll need: leaf cutouts, glue, dried kernel corn 


1. Write a greeting on a sheet of construction paper or card-stock-
such as Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Autumn, Give Thanks, etc.
2. Have the children glue the corn to form the letters of the words. 3. Glue leaf cutouts around the rest of the picture for decoration






•Color paper plates with markers
•Glue turkey head on to T-paper tube.
•Staple the tube to the plate.

Courtesy of Renee Glashow at lilteacher





'Words' for Younger Children's Hand-Print Turkeys  The poem above (for Mrs. Z's Footprint Turkey)  uses the words 'Hands and Feet'--this one is just hand...) 

This isn't just a turkey,
As anyone can see-
I made it with my hand
Which is part of me.

It comes with lots of love
And especially today-
I hope you have a very
Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Handprint photo courtesy of Ms. Glashow's class at lilteacher 




Gather brightly colored leaves and create this cute turkey! 

1. Glue the leaves to a piece of construction paper. It should resemble the tail feather of a turkey.
2. Add a body cut from another piece of construction paper.
3. Add a beak, feet, and some eyes--either wiggly eyes orpaper.
Tip: You may want to preserve the leaves before starting project. Thank you to MomentsofMommyHood for idea and images! 



175 Easy-To-Do Thanksgiving Crafts (Creative Uses for Recyclables) (Paperback)by Sharon Dunn Umnik
$7.95 new and starting at $2.97 used at
A review: This book is an incredible asset to any classroom. The directions are clear and concise and the full color pictures of the end result are great! I would highly recommend this book to any teacher in need of extra ideas! Mary Ellen Fuentes



Be sure to check out Ideas in the Autumn/Fall Centerpieces and Decorating Category!



All Miscellaneous activities of POEMS, SONGS, FACTS AND MORE...has been moved to its own page! Click here...




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Beginning of School Year and Autumn Display Boards

July 24, 2010 04:18 by Barbara Shelby





AN A-PEELING BUNCH by Mary Ann White



'OUR APPLE ORCHARD'...Cut an apple for each child to glue a photo of themselves on and put on the bulletin board.

-Draw a large basket with apples in it, and once again, have each child's name on an apple.
-Apples on a tree with each child's name on an apple.

Place children's photos or names in apples and hang on tree.

'WELCOME TO ________!'
May this school year bring
You happiness galore,
And may you enjoy it
Right to the core!
Post the above poem and then draw a huge apple core with everyone's names on it!


Visit our great APPLE THEME! to go with Apple Display Walls/Doors...


 'SHARING THE SUMMER' BULLETIN BOARD IDEA... This makes a great back-to-school bulletin board and provides children with opportunities to talk about their summer.   

Divide a bulletin board into "window panes," using white strips of paper. Create one window pane for each child in the program. Assign a few children to bring in some object each day, such as a shell, picture, stone, brochure, etc., that represents what they had fun doing this past summer.
Put the items in small zip-lock plastic bags. After each presentation, mount the plastic bags on each child's "window pane."



1. In order to have the students meet the faculty and staff on a different level-- have  faculty bring in a picture of themselves and a picture of their pet. 
2. Place the pictures on the bulletin board in a scrambled up manner and have the student decide who goes with which pet.
3. Number the pictures and label the pets with a letter. Have paper available for the students to write down their answers. 
You could also tie in a reading theme by adding some book jackets of pet books. 


GREAT IDEA! Love this one!
BUILDING NEW FRIENDSHIPS' Bulletin Board...This is an opening week activity that also takes care of a bulletin board for the first month or so. Cut several block shapes (like cement blocks) out of brightly colored paper. On each, write a declarative statement.

• I love broccoli. I have broken a bone. I went ice-skating this summer. I have been in another country. I have met someone famous. Be creative with your statements!

Sometime during the first few days, pass them around and students sign all blocks that apply to them. Sign them also yourself, then circulate them through the rest of the teaching staff, the administrators, the cafeteria workers, custodians, crossing guards, playground aides, etc. It usually takes about a week to get them all back.

Then "build" a wall with them on a bulletin board under a banner that says "Building New Friendships."

Whenever visitors come into our classroom, ask them to sign the appropriate blocks, also. This is really a conversation starter and helps the kids find common areas of interest with people they might not have thought of otherwise. Idea of Tami Knight on 'Classroom Displays and Bulletin Boards' by Barbara Colvin 



Are you having a FROG THEME? Maybe some of the following will get you 'HOPPING'! Good for a board or door...

"Welcome to My Pad" (On the door or Information Board)

 "Take a Leap Into _____!" (Example: Grade 5 or SAC)

"Leap into ______" (Beginning of Year Welcome)

Welcome to ___________’s Pad!

"I'm HOPPY You’re Here!"

"Toad"ally Awesome ________"

"Leaping into a New School Year!"
Write child's names on frogs and display around large lilypad with class name or grade written on it.


Visit the 'FROG THEME PAGE' for ideas to go with your display boards!



 AUTUMN IS... Idea from Leopold Primary School

Have children trace leaf shape templates. Use fall colored paper to do so.
Have each child finish the sentence-
Autumn is...
Place the leaves about the tree!

Example: AUTUMN IS...
The days getting cooler and windier
Deciduous trees losing their leaves
Children jumping in piles of crunchy autumn leaves
Wearing scarfs and jackets
Farmers harvesting their crops



FAll INTO A GOOD BOOK...An Autumn Board to stimulate some good Reading!



For this bulletin board/display -- paintings, collage and color mixing work were based around the theme of Van Gogh's Sunflowers. Photograph by Mrs. P on Display Photos


1. Have each child make a sunflower. Cut out a circle out of brown construction paper. Cut long petal strips out of yellow paper.  
2. Glue one end of each strip to the back of the brown circle.
Wait until the glue dries a bit and then pull the other edge of the paper strip and glue it down on the circle.
3. Cut leaves and stem out of green paper and glue on.
4. In the middle of the sunflower write the child's name out; around it glue down a few sunflower seeds.
Display the sunflowers on the bulletin board and in the middle place the the following poem. (Idea from

The sunflower children
Nod to the sun.
Summer is over,
Fall has begun!



• Make the tree trunk by cutting up brown paper bags. Crinkle the paper and shape it into a tree trunk by stapling it to the bulletin board. Branches may be cut as part of the trunk--or added separately. Allow some branches to buckle out. You can twist some branches before putting down.

FOR FALL... cut out paper apples and staple them on tree branches. Write the children's names on the apples.....And/Or... add tons and tons of leaves with names written on some of them. Add bushels of apples, and pumpkins... If up all year--as you change the tree--also change what is around the tree to go with the season!!! Go from bushels filled with apples, pumpkins, a scarecrow... to snowflakes and snowmen... to a spring scene with kites, butterflies and flowers! If this is a mural on a wall -- attach it with lots of tape doubled over. If you want a plain painted tree--the idea still is good!


Paint a fall/harvest scene on your window. Use the following recipe and the paint is easily removed. Give each child (Or group of children) a window to decorate. (For another paint method and image vist the Paint/Coloring Page.)

Recipe for Window Paint

 2 Tbsp powdered tempera paint, 1 Tbsp warm water, 1 tsp Joy dish washing liquid Measure powdered paint into a container.Mix in water thoroughly to achieve a smooth paste. Add JOY, mixing completely, but gently, to avoid making paint too sudsy.  Dries on windows in 5 - 10 minutes. Washes off easily with a solution of water and vinegar.


'RECIPE FOR A GREAT SCHOOL YEAR!' (or...'OST YEAR', 'SAC YEAR', etc.) Just copy the sample image!

Source: Clayton County Public Schools by Deanna Rogers


 BULLYING AWARENESS PREVENTION WEEK is in October or November each year! See display board ideas with images in the Anti-Bully Category near the bottom of the page!

KINDNESS DAY AND WEEK is in November. Visit the 'Kindness Catergory (page bottom) for Display Board Ideas with images..



#1 KINDNESS BRICK WALL -When a child receives RAK recognition, take their photograph and put it on a construction paper brick shape. If unable to take a photo, write their name and deed on the brick and put it on the wall of kindness. Each week the kids will see the brick wall grow. A large area will be covered by the end of the school year!



• Design a pre-cut person, hand, or heart shape. When children are caught being kind, take the design with their name and deed on the shape. 

• The shapes are taped together in a chain or patchwork style connecting the kids of the program or classroom.

This is a good project for the entire school---connecting one end of the school to the other! Check it out with the school to see if they'd like to join you!


Created by Toni in Missouri

1.  Youth brainstorm ideas for unexpected, kind things to do for people--people who would not expect children to do a favor/kindness for them.
2.  Each idea is put on a shape and put on the board.
3.  When a student completes a RAK, they sign their name on the act that is posted on the board.
4.  By the end of the year, hopefully all of the brainstormed acts will have at least one signature on them to signify that someone acted in that manner for someone



1. "Blasting Off Into a New School Year"
Write student's  names on rocketships.

2. "Grade ________ is Tee-rific!"
Each child writes their name on a tee-shirt pattern and decorates it. Hang  tee-shirts on a clothesline attached to the display area.

3. Cute idea for Pre-K and K
CHICKA, CHICKA, BOOM, BOOM! "Look Who's in Our Room!"

Decorate board with a palm tree and put each child's name in a coconut on tree. Use letters of the alphabet as a border. (Of course read the book and plan a couple themed activities!)

OR...Copy this sample  by Kindergarten teacher Stephanie Gubbini, of the former blogsite, Aloha Kindergarten...'Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boom~ Welcome to Your New Room!'


Have children trace their shoe or foot on colored construction paper and cut it out. Have each child write a school or program goal. If kids can't write have them dictate a goal to an adult or older child to write on their footprint. Place 'feet' under the title.

5. "__________ is the Place to Bee!"- Put childrens' names on bees buzzing around a hive.

Each child decorates a paper doll to look like himself/herself



ADAPT THIS TO THE SEASONS...This triptych art inspired example for a room with no windows (or a wonderful mural) is the creation of Michael Cardimen, SAC Associate (trainer) for Rochester, Michigan Community Schools.

 It's a very special piece of art for the Kindergarten K-Club children who spend time in this room! Michael searches the internet for pictures that he likes--copies and/or enlarges them. He then pieces it all together (fills in where necessary) on large sheets of roll paper.

What makes this mural special is the capacity for it to be interactive. As shown, fall leaves are beginning to appear at the top of the windows. Michael shares that the children modify the mural with each season and theme. At times there may be pets and animals at the base--or a snowman and children playing out in the landscape area


Check out the Category of A Professional  Environment.  Good Tips and photos! 




1. Take a long roll of wide ribbon and at the top of the wall near the ceiling, securely tape the ribbon to the wall.
2. Next tape the ribbon at the bottom of the wall.
3. Staple children's art work and pictures vertically down the ribbon.
4. Do as many ribbon lines as you have room...
5. Regularly update art work.


Cover  boards with fabric at the beginning of the year!  Unlike paper, it doesn't fade and staple holes don't show when you move things around or take it down. Be on the look out for sales-and check the clearance tables at fabric stores. It will look good for years!


LAYER your bulletin board paper at the beginning of the year. 
Start with pink for spring...
Top it with a layer blue for winter...and green on top for back to school.  Each time you're ready for your next board, carefully take down the first layer and the next layer is already up!!!
Source: Vickey Moore


 What Should We Display in our Classrooms and Child Care Programs?

• Children's work
• Unit or theme pictures/seasonal materials
• Photographs of children/pictures from home
• Upcoming events/activities
• Program-Classroom planning/daily schedules
• Photographs of activities and children in action (First get parental consent)

 Suggested Display Areas

• Bulletin boards  
• Windows
• Hallways   
• Posters
• Draped materials  
• Sheets
• Oil cloths   
• In/on Parents Center/Table
• From ceiling  
• Directly on Walls (attractive when colored roll paper taped to wall like a board, surround by border; items then adhered to paper)
• Doorway Entrance/Door
• Large Chalk board/white board
• Tri-Fold Boards



LET'S HARVEST GOOD CHARACTER...This idea works well with a Fall Harvest Theme but also addresses Anti-Bully Week and World Kindness Week each Autumn . (Nice idea for the first three months of school!)


Each time a deed of 'Good Character' (Kindness) is noted-it is recorded on a small card and placed on a pumpkin and through-out the garden! Great for September through November...  

This board was created by Barbara Huttle for University Christian School. Thank you Barbara for letting KIdActivities display your wonderful idea!


'THANKFUL' BOARD SAMPLES ...(From Thanksgiving Category)

Gather colored paper (red, orange, brown, green, yellow) Trace the children's hands onto several sheets of several colors. Cut out.

Cut out a brown tree trunk branches in proportion to the amount of leaves. Have the children glue the hand shapes to the tree trunk to form the leaves of the tree.

Have child think of things to be thankful for and label the hand/leaves. Thankful Tree Display is a sample from Mann School Art Appreciation.



Earth Theme Projects: Recycling, Litter, Donating Coins

July 16, 2009 19:53 by Barbara Shelby


  • Contact an agency to see if it would be willing to remove your items for recycling. Find out how they must be sorted and stored.
  • Collect and recycle everything you can.
  • Donate the proceeds if you turn recycled items in for cash.
  • Contact for publicity; perhaps others will join the recycling effort!


Set a Collection Goal and Keep Track on a posted litter-meter.
Be sure kids wear protective disposable gloves when collecting litter. 



Introduce recycling to your school by having kids set up a recycling bin for paper. Ask school officials to set up bins in the cafeteria for plastic, aluminum and glass. Students can help educate their schoolmates about recycling by designing posters that describe what can and cannot be place in each recycling bin.



Collect money (Coins for the Rainforest) and adopt” a bit of Rain Forest. 2500 square feet can be purchased from Arborday website for $10.00 in the program section of the aborday site.

Just search Rainforest Rescue. ***Have kids decorate plastic milk jugs and place them about the building and office/lounge areas. Be sure to put an article in your newsletter and promote the project verbally and with posters.



Grades: Appropriate for Pre-kindergarten to Grade 12.

One Michigan 2nd-grade celebration of Earth Day became a sustained commitment to caring for a rainforest.

To better understand tropical plants and their connections with society, the students did research in small groups, then drew or constructed models of plants, transforming their classroom into a model rain forest. (See Photo) During their research, the children discovered they could adopt acres of the real rain forest to help preserve it, and calculated how much money they needed to do this.

The students maintained their obligation to the environment in their fund-raising efforts. They created and presented, to parents and other classes, a program on dangers facing rain forests. They charged each person who attended an empty pop can, which they recycled for money to purchase sections of rain forest.

As a follow-up to their presentation, the students wrote, illustrated, and bound their own story books about rain forests. They donated the books to local doctors' offices, schools, and libraries so that the community could continue to learn about this important resource. Adapted from Route to Reform: K-8 service-learning Curriculum Ideas, 1994-95 National Youth Leadership Council.


  PENNIES FOR PANDAS ... and Pumas ... and Pelicans ...etc. Great Idea from a Real Group of Kids! 

To one 2nd-grade class, the study of endangered animals was a vague subject. They grasped the definitions of words like "threatened" and "extinct," but it was difficult to imagine animals that were so familiar to them — like pandas — simply not existing. A student-led fund-raising project in support of endangered animals brought the issue into focus.

Grades: Prekindergarten to 5 (This is something that would translate easily to an After School Program) In Minnesota a group of second graders did this project--but all grades can do the same!

The students prepared by reading a play about rainforest animals.

They worked cooperatively to chart information about a variety of endangered animals and make illustrated books about each one.

The children then pulled key ideas from what they'd learned and created flyers that they distributed to households near the school. In the flyers, the students informed their neighbors about issues facing animals and asked them to contribute aluminum cans and pennies, which the students counted and used to adopt two animals from the local zoo.

The children also organized a school-wide contest to see which class could contribute the most pennies.

In celebration of the successful fund-raising drive, the students performed the play about rainforest animals for parents and fellow students. Even before the curtain rose, they knew they were already playing one of the most important roles of their lives: caretaker of the Earth.
Adapted from "Route to Reform: K-8 service-learning Curriculum Ideas,"  1994-95 National Youth Leadership Council.


  Reduce... Recycle... Reuse...

How can we help our environment? Make your own version of this wonderful display board by Bev Evan at Display Photos



•Ride your bike or walk to school.
Use last year's school supplies.
Buy a canvas and cardboard binders instead of plastic.
Buy recycled paper.
Use reusable water bottles instead of plastic.
Use a lunch box, not paper bags.
Donate last year's clothes instead of throwing them away.
Buy online to avoid driving.
Buy organic food.
Turn your computer off when you're not using it.
Decorate your lunchbox.
Make your own bookmarks.
Organize a clothes swap with your friends.
Carpool to sports.
Use refillable pens and pencils.
Reuse your backpack. Decorate it with cool patches.
Tips from