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Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

by Desi Sowers

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and if you are planning to have a houseful of kids at your celebration, you may want to prepare some fun crafts for them to do to keep them busy until the feast is ready.  If they are busy creating fun Thanksgiving crafts, you won’t have to worry about them being underfoot while preparing your meal.  It’s an especially good idea if the weather is not nice and they can’t get outside to play and burn off energy.  Plus, kids love to feel like they are helping, so let them make placemats, place cards and decorations for your table.  Check out these fun, simple crafts:

THANKSGIVING PLACEMATS - This easy craft can be done by kids of all ages.  Simply use these Fun Printable Thanksgiving Placemats and provide crayons, colored pencils, watercolor paints, or markers.  Print them on nice, thick art paper so that they will lie flat on the table.  If the kids use paints, make sure they start early to give them plenty of time to dry.  And if there is an older child or adult with time on their hands, you can even purchase laminating paper so that the placemats can be preserved and used again next year!

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TURKEY FINGER PUPPET -  Little ones be delighted by these precious little DIY TURKEY FINGER PUPPETS.  All you need are foam sheet, scissors, glue, and a hole punch.  If there are older kids, they can help by doing the cutting. Otherwise, an adult should prepare the materials by pre-cutting them and then the little ones can do the gluing.  When they are done, they will have a terrific turkey friend top play with all day!

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THANKFUL TREE - The whole family can take part in this activity that helps to teach little ones about the true meaning of Thanksgiving.  Use a large piece of butcher paper to draw a leafless tree (or have an older child do it). Hang the butcher paper on the wall with sticky putty.  Provide templates for different shaped leaves.  The kids can trace and cut out the leaves and write what they are thankful for on them.  They can also cut out leaves for all the adults and let them write what they are thankful for as well.  Then everyone can put their leaves on the tree with sticky putty or glue and you will have a beautiful, colorful Thanksgiving Tree!

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DIY HANDPRINT TURKEY PLACE CARD HOLDER - You will have to plan ahead for this craft so that you have the materials you need on hand.  But the result will be these precious place card holders literally made from your little ones’ hands!  You will need brown construction paper, natural wood clothespins, paints in fall colors, stick-on googly eyes, paintbrushes, scissors, glue, pencils, and white cardstock.   Depending on the age of the children, they may need help writing the names on the cards. Allow them to help set the table by putting their homemade place cards at each setting.

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THANKSGIVING CENTERPIECE - You may not know this, but little kids LOVE to pour.  It sounds so simple…and it is, but they get great joy out of it!  So why not let them add to your lovely  table by making this Easy DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece.  You will need six empty glass containers like milk bottles or mason jars, various colors of dried beans and corn, six taper candles, some ribbon and letters to spell out “thanks”.  You can let older kids cut the letters out of construction paper, or you can purchase chipboard letters in the scrapbooking section of the craft store.

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So, keep those kids busy Thanksgiving Day with these fun crafts and be thankful for their wonderful contributions to this special holiday!  Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’re thinking about selling or buying a home in the New River Valley area, contact professional, experienced Realtor Desi Sowers and let her assist you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call today at 540-320-1328!

Family Fun - Keeping Kids Busy During Holiday Break

by Desi Sowers

Holiday break.  It sounds like fun. It should be fun. You start the break with images of snuggling up to read stories, making hot cocoa and going for adventures outdoors.  But sometimes it can be challenging for parents to figure out how to fill the hours of free time kids have over the holiday break. Before you know it, you are in survival mode – just trying to get through the break with your sanity intact.  That is why it is a prudent idea to start the break with a plan in mind. It certainly can’t hurt to have a few activities planned to fall back on to keep your kids entertained and engaged.  Here are five budget friendly ideas to keep your kids busy during the holiday break.

1. Creative Coloring 

A box of crayons and some paper can keep toddlers occupied, but as children grow, they may need a few more creative ideas for how to use those crayons to stay busy. Here are some creative coloring options:

  • Coloring wrapping paper. Who doesn’t need more wrapping paper for the holidays? This is a twofold activity. You get your wrapping paper at a low price, and you keep your kids busy awhile. Just buy rolls of cheap, plain-colored wrapping paper. (The cheap kind is thin, so darker colors work best.) Roll it out a few feet at a time on a table or a hard floor, and let the kids go to town.
  • Upside down coloring. Turn coloring on its head – literally – with this easy activity. Just tape coloring sheets to the bottom of a table, and turn your child into a tiny Michelangelo. This is a great way to keep them busy and build upper arm strength.
  • Color the windows. Kids love being able to use crayons on surfaces that are usually off-limits. Crayola makes some crayons specifically for coloring on windows. Grab a pack of these, and let kids decorate the windows for the holidays.
  • Try complex coloring sheets. Older kids may think freestyle coloring is boring. Try printing off complicated geometric coloring sheets. Kids can create gorgeous designs, and the challenge keeps them engaged longer. (Note: They may need colored pencils and a good sharpener to be able to tackle these detailed designs.)

2. Indoor Games

Probably the worst part of the holiday season is that it may be too cold to play outside. And you probably don’t have a gym like your kid’s school does where they can release their pent-up energy. Luckily, with some creativity and basic supplies, you can create your own indoor gross motor games to burn off that extra energy.

  • Obstacle courses. Obstacle courses are surprisingly easy to create, and you can customize them for kids of any age – even elementary-aged kids would love a superhero obstacle course. These can be heavy on the prep work, but one course could keep your kids busy the entire day. (Worth it!) This letter recognition course is simple. This yarn laser maze is great for older kids, as is this pompom racing course.
  • Hopscotch. What better way to burn off energy than with hopscotch? Crafty parents can put together this adorable indoor hopscotch mat to use again and again, or you can just make a hopscotch course with masking tape. Here’s another variant you could use to teach shapes or colors.
  • Scavenger hunts. You may think scavenger hunts are just for outside play, but you’d be surprised. You can put together some fun indoor scavenger hunts. These are a great way to get kids to play independently or in teams while you get other stuff done. (Or just relax with a cup of coffee for 20 minutes!) This indoor bug hunt is great for little kids. You can come up with any number of scavenger hunts tailored to your kids’ ages and interests.
  • Tossing games. Throwing balls in the house is usually off-limits. But indoor tossing games turn that rule on its head. This newspaper and spider web activity is great for practicing hand-eye coordination in a safe way. Or try this shape tossing game to work on identifying shapes with younger kids.

3. Arts and Crafts 

Before the holiday break starts, plan some crafts for your kids to do during the break. Then, hit your local craft store sans kids, and pick up the supplies you need. Stick supplies for each craft into a gallon-sized bag, and write the name of the craft and any necessary instructions on it with a marker. This may seem over the top, but when your kids are in the throes of boredom two days into break, you’ll be glad you have an activity to pull out and run with. Here are some craft ideas to try:

  • Holiday gifts. Kids love to make things to give to others, and if you have a lot of people on your list, you can keep them busy all break long making DIY gifts for the holidays. Hand-painted ornaments are always a great option, and these handprint ones are especially cute. Grab some canvas aprons, and let the kids decorate them with fabric paint as gifts. Older kids can also make no-sew blankets and pillows without much supervision.
  • Winter crafts. Kids of all ages will love to make and play with this snow clay, which you could use to make ornaments for gifts. This adorable luminary jar ornament would be great for older kids, or try this snowman slam game, which you can make and then play with. And, of course, kids of all ages love to make paper snowflakes!

4. Service Projects 

This is the time of year when many of us are trying to find ways to give back. Why not involve your kids in giving back this year? Some ideas include raking leaves or shoveling snow for older neighbors, baking cookies for local police officers or firefighters, or making boxes of goodies for ill children. Another option is to make cozy fleece scarves for a local hospital or nursing home. Older kids can even plan, shop for and make a meal for ill or elderly neighbors, or the couple down the street with a new baby and no time to cook.

5. Sensory Bins

Finally, crawlers to elementary-age kids love sensory bins. (They can be surprisingly fun for parents, too!) Yes, these can get a little messy. The best trick is to set up a sensory bin on an old-fitted sheet. Weigh down the elastic corners with books, and you’ll create a little valley to catch most of the mess. Here are some sensory bin ideas for the holiday season:

  • Apple pie bin. This simple sensory bin is just dough (flour and oil), a pie plate and some measuring cups. You could add in cinnamon for apple pie smells, and include red gems to look like apples.
  • Cotton ball snow bin. For a less messy sensory bin, fill up a tub with cotton balls. Add in some measuring cups and winter-themed toys, and you have your very own (not-so-messy) snow-scape.
  • Decorate a tree. This is a genius idea that may keep some of the sensory bin materials more contained. Instead of measuring and pouring, this decorate-a-tree activity lets kids carefully place decorations on their own tree.
  • Sparkly snow bin. This sensory bin features sparkly snow made from Epsom salt, iridescent flakes and tinsel garland. Add in some winter-themed plastic animals, and you’re good to go.

So, if your kids are bickering or complaining that they are bored, save the day with these fun, inexpensive activities and enjoy the holiday break!

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