Growing up, one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving was helping my grandma set her table. She always had a handful of those paper accordion decorations to unfold and place on the table, paper napkins with turkeys on them, and my absolute favorite thing — a stack of blank place cards. I would practice my best handwriting and write each guest’s name on a card and then assign their seats!
There is something very special about allowing the kids to assign seats. It can be really fun to hear the considerations they take in making their choices. This Thanksgiving place card craft will add a cute and personalized touch to your festive table.
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Busy Toddler introduced me to the idea of a “Thankful turkey” a couple years ago. We have put one up on the wall every year since. Our family takes turns every day of November thinking of something we’re thankful for.
I’ve included several variations below, and there are countless other ways to do it! There’s no wrong way. I did this craft with my children who are five, seven, and nine years old. Only the five-year-old really needed hands-on help.
The supplies needed for this craft are very simple, and hopefully you already have them in your home. You will need: toilet paper or paper towel rolls* either whole or cut in half, construction paper, googly eyes, scissors, white school glue, and clear tape.
After being asked to provide them on more than one occasion, I no longer throw away empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls. If you have preschoolers or young elementary-aged children, I suggest keeping a small supply on hand for crafts (or teacher requests).
Assemble Place Cards
To make things easier on the kids, I did all of the cutting beforehand. Plan on cutting five feather shapes, in various colors, for each place card. You will also need one triangle for a beak (I did all orange) and one wattle (I used red for these) per place card. Glue the eyes, beak, and wattle on the front to make a face.
Arrange the feathers — either blank or with writing — to flare out across the back. I found it easiest to glue the feathers to each other first but used tape to attach them to the toilet paper roll.
Some of my kids put the name over the eyes (like a headband), and some attached it on the top of the feathers. There are a lot of options! Seeing each one personalized is really fun!
Thankful Turkey Variations
There great thing about this craft is there are so many ways it can end up. Let your kids take the artistic lead! The simplest variation is to leave the feathers blank and put each person’s name on the top of the turkey face. You could also write the name on one of the feathers.
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To emphasize thankfulness, have your kiddos write something they are thankful for about each person on the feathers. Alternatively, you can leave the feathers blank and let the dinner guest write what he or she is grateful for on the feathers.
This Thanksgiving place card craft will hopefully encourage feelings of thankfulness and allow the kids to have the most important job of assigning seats for Thanksgiving dinner.