Thanksgiving is the perfect excuse to engage your kids in decorative nature crafts. The vivid colors of the fall leaves combined with scaly pine cones are perfect for crafts that will add warmth and a personal touch to your home. Take your child on a nature walk to collect the best leaves and pine cones for her Thanksgiving craft projects.
To make a simple pine cone and leaf turkey, have your child glue several small leaves to a piece of construction paper with non-toxic school glue. Paste it in a fan formation, so that it looks like the giant feathers of a turkey's tail. Glue a small pine cone to the bottom center of the leaves. You may need a lot of glue to keep the pine cone on the paper. Let the pine cone dry fully to the leaves, then help your child glue on googly eyes and cut out a paper beak and wattle out of paper. Glue them under the eyes to complete the turkey. Another idea is to use two giant maple leaves overlapping each other for the turkey tail, instead of several smaller leaves.
For a simple centerpiece your kids can make, you'll need a wide and shallow bowl. Have your kids brush gold paint onto the pine cone tips and allow it to dry completely. Pour the pine cones in the bowl, then have your child place fall leaves on the sides of the bowl, around the pine cones. Add a few small twigs in and around the pine cones to complete the centerpiece. Or, you could paint the leaves using gold, silver and copper metallic poster paint to make the centerpiece even more impressive.
Pine Cone Wreath
Show your kids how to make a leaf and pine cone wreath to greet your Thanksgiving guests at your door. You will need a foam wreath base that you can pick up at any craft store. Have your child cover the foam with large fall leaves, using a strong, non-toxic glue. Make sure she adds leaves all around the edges so that they hang over the edges of the wreath. Add the pine cone on top of the leaves. You may need to use a hot glue gun to ensure that the pine cones do not fall. If so, you should be the only one to operate the glue gun. Your child can press the pine cones where you have laid the glue. Fill in the entire wreath so you only see the leaves around the edges. Let your child use regular glue to drizzle all over the pine cones, then have her add gold and copper sprinkles to the pine cones. Allow it to dry completely before hanging it.
To make a decorative banner, you'll need a long sheet of poster board. Have your child select large, freshly fallen maple leaves and use white poster paint to paint a letter on each leaf. The leaves collectively can spell out something like "Happy Thanksgiving," "thankful" or "give thanks." Glue the leaves onto the poster board. Add a few hole punches across the bottom of the banner. Brush gold and copper paint all over the pine cones, then tie a string securely around one of the pine cone scales and tie them to the holes on the bottom of the banner.