10 Activities for Thanksgiving Break

Being a teacher, I am more than looking forward to five full days of visiting family and hanging out with my children and husband. However, after two or three days entertaining the kiddos may prove to be a challenge. Here are some great ideas to keep them busy and off the couch.

1. Make a Noodle Necklace

Noodle Necklace

Soak different kinds of pasta in rubbing alcohol with food coloring to achieve colored beads. Simply place dry pasta in a plastic container and put in enough rubbing alcohol to fully cover the pasta. Add liquid food coloring into the rubbing alcohol (I used 6 drops) and let sit overnight. The next day, drain your pasta and place on a towel for 2 hours to dry. Then string your new beads on some ribbon (or yarn, but yarn is itchy on little necks) to make a noodle necklace. This is great for fine motor growth and practicing patterns. My little guy created this "red, green, wagon wheel" pattern all by himself!

2. Paper Bag Puppets

Paper Bag Puppets

Create paper bag Native American and Pilgrim puppets using feathers and construction paper and act out the story of the First Thanksgiving prior to your Thanksgiving feast.

3. Native American Vest

Native American Vest

Begin by cutting along one of the sides of a brown paper grocery bag. Once you reach the bottom of the bag cute the bottom off. Fold the remaining strip of a bag in half and cut a semi-circle out for the head. Draw a fancy belt and let your child color it in using an AB pattern. Your child can also decorate the vest with Native American symbols or picture writing. Add your noodle necklace and make a headband with feathers and you will have your own little Native American.

4. Picture Writing

Picture Writing

Native Americans used picture symbols to record stories and events instead of having an alphabet and words like we use. You can use pictures to create your own story or just draw symbols for fun. My son drew a bear claw, arrow, river and mountains to tell a story about hunting a bear with a bow and arrow, hmmm, retelling of the Disney movie Brave perhaps? If you do a google search for Native American picture symbols you will find a ton of symbols along with their meanings. We wrote on a paper bag because Native Americans had animal hide to write on instead of paper for a more authentic experience.

5. Weave A Placemat


Need placemats for the kids table? These are very festive and great for little fingers. Fold a brown piece of construction paper in half and make vertical cuts about an inch apart until you reach almost the end of the paper. Then weave 1 inch strips of construction paper over and under the cuts you made. Vary the over and under pattern with each new strip until you reach the end of the cuts. My four year old son loved this!

6. Draw A Turkey

Draw A Turkey

Follow the steps above to have your child draw his/her own turkey. My son painted his turkey when he finished drawing, for a nice colorful picture.

7. Read A Thanksgiving Book

Image from Amazon.com

Image from Amazon.com

One of my favorite things to do when I have extra time with my kids is read. This book is a definite Thanksgiving favorite, but I also love Turk and Runt by Lisa Wheeler. Check out more of my favorite books in the Recommended Reads section of my web-site.

8. Make A Pumpkin Smoothie

Pumpkin Smoothie

It tastes like frozen pumpkin pie. I used The Pioneer Woman's recipe for Pumpkin Smoothies, with a few minor tweaks (I just couldn't help myself). I added honey because it wasn't very sweet when I made it with just frozen pumpkin puree, milk and vanilla flavored yogurt. I bet it would taste even better if you substituted vanilla ice cream for the yogurt and added a dollop of whipped cream on top? I didn't do that, I'm just saying I bet it would be delicious.

9. Stuff A Turkey

Bag Turkey

Follow the instructions on my Stuff A Turkey post to create this cute little guy complete with feather hands.

10. Dance Like A Turkey and Sing a Turkey Song

Get a little silly after your Thanksgiving Feast, flap your wings, strut around and gobble, gobble, gobble. You can also sing a turkey rhyme. My favorite turkey rhyme to date is "I'm Glad I'm Not A Turkey." My son came home singing it last week and I had to look up the words. It had me chuckling out loud.

"I'm Glad I'm Not a Turkey"

(tune: Did You Ever See A Lassie?)

I'm glad I'm not a turkey, a turkey, a turkey.

I'm glad I'm not a turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

They'll cook you and baste you.

And then they'll all taste you.

I'm glad I'm not a turkey on Thanksgiving Day!


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Stuff A Turkey

Although you may have forgotten, what with all the Christmas decorations crowding the stores already, Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. And I could think of no better way to prepare my household for one of my favorite holidays than a little stuffed turkey. Okay, so it's not a real turkey, its a crafty little stuffed paper bird, but think of the fun you'll have putting it together. All you need to make this festive little guy is construction paper, a paper lunch bag, a pencil, kid safe scissors, and a glue stick. Oh, and I later discovered you need newspaper and maybe some packing tape (not pictured).


First have your child trace his/her hand onto various colored construction paper. The hands will be the turkey's feathers so we used yellow, orange and red. My four-year old son was really excited about this because it was something he could do all by himself.


For the very observant readers, no he is not left handed, but insisted on tracing his right hand because he had a "boo-boo" on his left hand and didn't want to injure it further by spreading his fingers out. He traced his hand twice by himself (on yellow and orange paper) and the last time he asked if I would do it for him (on red). Then comes the fun part...cutting. We had the "scissors are for paper only" talk and my son assured me he knew how to use scissors, "cause" he does "all kinds of cutting practice at school." I RARELY let him cut, although as a kindergarten teacher, I know how important it is to let your child have experience with scissors before sending them to school. I'm just a little afraid of haircuts and clothes or household item cutting. I was a kid once too you know.


So I gave my son the scissors and let him go, at first he was just hacking away. He had good scissor grip, but if I hadn't intervened the hands would've had no fingers. I helped him hand over hand with the first couple hands, showing him how to slow down and try to stay close to the tracing line, and then just watched as he cut the last ones. (Helpful Hint: fold the construction paper in half before tracing and you will get double the amount of hands in less time). We cut 5 hands altogether. After all the hands were cut, we assembled the turkey head. I pre-cut a large peanut shape out of brown construction paper and let my son glue on a pre-cut beak. He drew on some eyes and cut his own gobbler, you know that red thing that hangs down by the beak (at least I think that's what that's called).

Turkey head

Look at that nice pencil grip! I know, always thinking like a teacher. If I wasn't a teacher, would I even pay attention to those things? Now it's time to assemble the bird. Open the paper lunch sack and stuff it with newspaper. You are now stuffing the turkey!


After stuffing the turkey, you have to squeeze the top of the bag to form it's neck.


Next place glue on the bottom of the hands and make a bouquet of feathers. We tried gluing and sticking the hands directly onto the bag, but it was hard to get the hands to stick to the creases in the bag from the squeezing.


So glue all the hands together at the bottoms and use a rolled piece of packing tape to attach the hand bouquet to the back of the turkey. Use another piece of rolled packing tape to attach the turkey face that you decorated earlier. And you are left with a cute little stuffed turkey.

Stuffed Turkey

Gobble! Gobble!