Cheap & Easy Thanksgiving Crafts for Preschoolers

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How to keep my preschooler busy this Thanksgiving?! Ah yes, a question we hear often. And we are hear to help with some fun and easy Thanksgiving Crafts for Preschoolers and elementary school children. Some of these projects today, you can get the kids making whilst you carry on with any Thanksgiving preparations, others you can do together ahead of time! 

preschool thanksgiving

We have a lovely collection of ideas, obviously, no Thanksgiving Crafts for Preschooler collection would not be complete without some fun fun fun turkey crafts, but we also have some gorgeous pumpkins, DIY decorations/  leaf projects and a cute little paper puppet for you to have a go at with your preschooler and toddler. I will try not to make this list too long, in order to make it manageable for you!

Also, you will find a mixture of crafts from Red Ted Art (woohoo!) as well as from sites we love. I hope the combination inspires you to get crafty this Thanksgiving

All these crafts are educational in sense that crafting has huge benefits for preschoolers in general – it is wonderful for preschoolers to

  • practice their fine motor skills,
  • exploring different mediums and also
  • listening and following to instructions.

These thanksgiving crafts have also been selected because they are cheap, simple and also broadly speaking environmentally friendly. 

Preschool crafts for Thanksgiving – Overview

I can give you lots of “spiel” about the crafts that we have made here on Red Ted Art – so you will find additional information for those. For additional crafts shared from sites we love, I have usually just provided a link! I hope that is ok.

The other thing to remember, is that preschoolers and elementary kids are prolific crafts and they love to use up LOTS of craft materials. So keep craft materials basic and cheap, as well as eco friendly. Paper plates, paper bags, just paper etc, make wonderful craft materials and as you will see there are plenty of things you can make with these craft basics. Just ad+

d a lick of paint, a little glue.. and you can transform these in no time! You don’t need lots of expensive and synthetic extras such as googly eyes, ribbons (unless you use recycled ones) and store bought pom poms (I have used these in the past, but going forward, we are always looking for environmentally friendlier alternatives).

Keep it simple. Keep it cheap. Keep it eco friendly!

Orange Pumpkin Crafts for Thanksgiving

String Art Paper Plate Pumpkin

Make a gorgeously vibrant orange pumpkin decoration, with this clever paper plate string art for preschoolers. Paper plates are inexpensive, eco friendly, and yes, super versatile.. and make a great material to craft all year round with. Not only do we have this super cute preschooler friendly string art pumpkin project.. but check out a number of paper plate turkeys below too!

jack o Lantern garland
This yarn pumpkins are reversible!

If you are looking to improve your toddlers or preschoolers fine motor skills, have a go at our yarn wrapped pumpkins. They are our “two for one” craft from Halloween, as you can reverse them to make them Halloween or Thanksgiving suitable. They would look lovely as a little mantle piece yarn pumpkin garland!

suncatcher pumpkin preschool

Make your own pumpkin suncatchers with these lovely free suncatcher pumpkin templates!

Paper Plate Turkey Crafts

Paper Plate Turkey Crafts – we actually have two paper plate turkey crafts – both guest posts – Paper Plate Turkey 1 and Paper Plate Turkey 2. They go to show how one craft theme can have lots of outcomes! When you do a google search, you will find there are lots more great paper plate turkey crafts out there for you. So this really is just a sample! Paper plates also make a great basis for Thanksgiving wreaths. You could for example have a go at our Pumpkin Wreath (minus the Jack O’Lantern faces) to make a simple apple printed Thanksgiving wreath!

Recycled Turkey DIY Ideas

Cardboard Turkey crafts for preschoolers

Cardboard Turkey with free template – this is probably one or our most popular turkey crafts for preschoolers on Red Ted Art. A gorgeous guest post from Raising Kingsley a few years ago. I love that it focusses on upcycling some cardboard (as mentioned free turkey template included), as well as “using up” what you already have. No need to go out and buy any additional materials. And once again, I encourage you to draw some cute paper eyes, instead of using googly eyes (though by all means, if you have a stash, do use them up and don’t throw them away!!).

Here we have a cute take on the Toilet Paper Roll Turkeys – theis one is great for developing those fine motor skills. A great addition to our complete Animal A-Z made from toilet rolls! Though I have to confess, though it only uses a few pipecleaners.. you can make this craft even cheaper and eco friendly by replacing the turkey feathers with paper cut outs.. watch this space! I will be sharing another soon.

paper bag turkey

Also do check out the cutest little Paper Bag Turkey Puppet from No Time for Flash Cards. As you can see this little craft uses some basic shapes to make the turkey. If shapes are the activity you are after, you can also try these Turkey Shape Tracing printables!

Or how about this simple Turkey Feather Count & Sort Activity? A fun printable game for Thanksgiving!

Nature Turkey Crafts

pine cone turkey for preschoolers

Pine Cone Turkey – we had great fun making these nature turkey crafts a while back. A lovely way to go out for a walk, get some fresh air and explore your local environment. Just not that these pine cone turkeys won’t last – as leaves will shrivel up, so you may want to make them the same day as your Thanksgiving celebrations. Alternatively… you can have a go at our how to preserve leaves techniques and use those instead!

Printed Turkey Crafts – Handprints and footprints

No preschooler collection of activities is complete without some handprints and footprints! And though I have a complete animal ABC of handprint crafts, I don’t have a turkey (the turtle want for “T”).. so here are some ideas from our favourite bloggers..

Gratitude Crafts

Paper Bag Turkey Book – Gratitude Journal from B Inspired Mama

Egg Carton Gratitude Turkey – these little turkeys always make me smile. Based on our OH so popular Egg Carton Chicks, I think they work really well for Thanksgiving too. The turkey’s feather’s are great for adding gratitude messages and the final craft can be used to hold small treats such as candy corn or you can add place names to it!

Paper Turkey Crafts

Paper turkey finger puppet

Paper Turkey Puppet – this is a super simple technique that we love to use for making easy finger puppets from paper. Making a little turkey finger puppet is super easy! And once again only needs a few basic shapes. We originally made our turkey puppet using googly eyes.. but are turning over an eco friendly leaf and ecourage you to draw your own quirky and fun eyes onto paper and use those instead!

Paper Bag Turkey


Easy Turkey Bookmarks – if you are feeling brave, you can give these Turkey Bookmarks a go too! They are based on the classic origami bookmark – which is an easy origami project for preschoolers to attempt. Then combine it with some basic shapes to make your adorable Turkey Corner Bookmark

Easy Thanksgiving Decorations for Preschoolers to make

Leaf Lanterns

Leaf lanterns – if you know Red Ted Art well, you will most probably already have seen our easy peasy leaf lanterns for preschoolers to make. They are of course a great general Autumn Craft for kids of all ages, but I do think they are particularly lovely as Thanksgiving Decorations for Preschoolers to make. The process is easy, uses real leaves and the results are simply lovely. My kids always thought they were rather magical! You can use these thanksgiving lanterns with real candles (inside a protective glass) or electric tealights if you expect the children to handle them. I confess that these are a little tall to be used as centerpieces – or at least they are the way we made them. But you can use the same principle to make a small version. Leaf lanterns are always gorgeous centerpieces after all!

leaf pinch pots

Leaf pinch pots – we also LOVE making pinch pots. They are particularly good for elementary school children and help with finger strength. So if you want to make some lovely keepsake Thanksgiving Decorations in the classroom, why not give these ago. Preschoolers can give these a go too, but just manage your expectations to simpler shapes and colours.

Newspaper Leaf Garland – this can easily be adapted to be a gratitude garland too – simply add a message of thankfulness.

And with that, I come to the end of my Cheap Thanksgiving Crafts for Preschoolers. I hope you enjoy this collection and look to have a go at some of these soon!

Here is a lovely collection of Turkey Crafts your preschooler may also enjoy!

Turkey Crafts for Kids
preschooler thanksgiving