This year, have the best family Thanksgiving yet with our creative ideas to make your time together even more special. You don’t need to leave home to create memories everyone will be thankful for.
7 Gratitude Crafts, Activities and Traditions to Start This Thanksgiving
1. Teach the Kids About Gratitude
About 20 minutes
- Great Wolf Lodge Character Template
- Great Wolf Lodge Fill-in-the-Blank Template
Thankfulness is an important concept for kids to learn but can be difficult for them to understand. Because it’s especially relevant around the Thanksgiving Holiday, we’re kicking things off with a kids’ gratitude game. Here are a couple printable activities to help you teach children what it means to have gratitude.
Activity for Younger Kids: Print out your Great Wolf Lodge character template. Ask the kids to fill it in with a message or drawing depicting what they are most thankful for.
Activity for Older Kids: Print out your Great Wolf Lodge fill-in-the-blank template and have your child fill it out. This exercise can be funny, but don’t be afraid to get a little sentimental. This might even be a fun way for the kids to thank you for all the sacrifices made during this very difficult year!
Tip from our pack: Read the printouts aloud at the Thanksgiving table or wherever everyone is gathered.
2. I Am Thankful Paper Chain
About 10 minutes
- Fall-Colored Paper
Give thanks this month with a meaningful gratitude craft. It’s a simple idea that’s sure to become a favorite new family tradition. Place the cut strips of paper in a large box or “gratitude jar” in a common area of your house. Everyday, encourage the kids to fill out a slip about what they are thankful for and staple the slips together to create a paper chain. It’s a great way to teach gratitude. By Thanksgiving, you should have an entire collection detailing what your family is grateful for!
3. Pin the Beak on the Turkey
About 30 minutes
- White Foam Board
- Brown, Red Yellow and Orange Construction Paper
- 6 Leaf Garlands
- Large Googly Eyes
- Lots of Glue for your Glue Gun
- Packaging Tape
- Great Wolf Lodge Turkey Template
- Great Wolf Lodge Letter Template
“Pin the tail on the donkey” gets a Thanksgiving twist! The turkey craft is easy to make and fun for the kids to play while they’re waiting for the big feast.
Step 1: Use the Great Wolf Lodge turkey template to print out the pieces of your turkey onto the colored construction paper.
Step 2: Glue on the google eyes and snood. Take apart the leaves from your garland and arrange them around the turkey.
Step 3: Add the beak using tape so that you can remove for the game later. You can use a triangle beak made out of paper for a placeholder.
Step 4: Cut out letters using the Great Wolf Lodge letter template. Glue to the foam board.
Step 6: Attach your foam board to the wall and let the family know it’s time to play!
4. How to Set the Table
It’s always tricky remembering how to set the table for a formal meal! Show the kids where all of the items go so they can help set the Thanksgiving table. Use our table setting template to get started with this activity. You can also let everyone know where they’re sitting by using our place cards. Check out our video below for the full tutorial.
5. Turkey Cheese Ball
About 45 minutes
Cheese Ball Ingredients:
- 16 Oz Package Cream Cheese
- 2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 2 Chopped Green Onions
- 1 Tsp. Worcester Sauce
- 1 Tsp. Hot Pepper Sauce
- 1 Tsp. Dried Parsley Flakes
- 1/2 Tsp. Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Tsp. Dried Oregano
- 1 Pinch Ground Black Pepper
- 2/3 Cup Chopped Pecans
Ingredients for Turkey Feathers and Head:
- 3 Bell Peppers (use mix of red, orange, and yellow for a colorful tail effect)
- Pretzel Sticks
- Round Crackers
- Flattened Beef Jerky
- Candy Eyeballs
- Candy Corn (for beak)
Here’s a cheese ball to be thankful for! This cheese ball turkey is as fun to make as it is to eat. Gobble! Gobble!
Step 1: Wait until your cream cheese has softened and mix together with the shredded cheddar cheese. You can do this by hand or by using a food processor. Throw in your Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, parsley, green onion, garlic powder, oregano and pepper. Use your hands to mold the mixture into a ball.
Step 2: Roll and cover mixture in chopped pecans. Make sure you coat on all sides.
Step 3: Cut thin slices from peppers to use for the turkey tail. Position your slices into the back 1/3 of the cheeseball. Mix up your slices to create a more colorful array. Add pretzel sticks in front of the peppers.
Step 4: For the turkey head, find a piece of flattened beef jerky. Choose an end that’s a little wavy if you want to give your turkey a “wattle” effect.
Step 5: Using some of the cheese ball mixture as “glue,” attach two eyeballs to the top of the beef jerky. Use one candy corn, turned upside down to make the beak.
Step 6: Line the edge of the cheese ball with an array of round crackers to create the turkey’s nest.
Step 7: Cover the cheeseball in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour for it to become firm. Remove about 20 minutes before serving so that it has time to soften up. Serve on a plate with crackers, pretzels, veggie sticks, or anything else you think might taste good!
Tip from our pack: If you have nut allergies, you can substitute breadcrumbs or crumbled crackers.
6. Leaf Clay Dishes
About an hour
- Air Dry Clay
- Your Favorite Leaves
- Acrylic Paint
Fall is the best time for crafts with fallen leaves. We love these clay dishes that are simple to make and can be used to decorate for the season. Check out the steps below to complete one of our favorite crafts for kids.
Step 1: Collect your favorite leaves.
Step 2: Roll out your clay and stamp your leaf onto the mold. Press firmly to make sure all details on the leaf are imprinted onto the clay.
Step 3: Adults only! Remove the leaf from the clay and cut around the outline using a knife.
Step 4: Remove all excess clay from your mold. Gently fold up the edges of your outline. There is no specific pattern required, just make sure to leave a little bit of space between rolls. Dip a sponge in a bit of water and use it to smooth out portions of the clay.
Step 5: Place on a cookie drying rack and let dry for 24 hours.
Step 6: Once the clay is hardened, you can begin to paint. Seal with paint sealer or mod podge gloss. Let dry and enjoy your decorations all season long!
Tip from our pack: Try several leaf shapes so you can make dishes from your favorites.
7. Beaded Thanksgiving Corn
About 20 minutes
- Pony Beads in Fall Colors
- Tan Pipe Cleaners
This corn isn’t tasty, but it sure is colorful and cute! Not to mention it’s really fast and easy to make!
Step 1: Take 2 pipe cleaners and make an “X.” Twist them around each other in the middle.
Step 2: Take 2 other pipe cleaners and wrap them around the other 2 in the same way.
Step 3: String your beads onto beach pipe cleaner, leaving a couple inches at each end.
Step 4: Bring all your ends together. Take one of the pipe-ends and wrap it around all the others. Repeat with another pipe end if you don’t feel it is secure enough and enjoy!
Tip from our pack: Put your beads in a bowl to keep them from going everywhere.
We hope you enjoyed our list of gratitude crafts and activities. You can always count on Great Wolf Lodge for some great ideas during the holiday season! These crafts for kids are sure to make for the very best experience this Thanksgiving. You can also check out our blog for more ideas on how to have fun at home with the family.
Don’t forget to celebrate with us at the lodge, either. You can even enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with Wiley and the gang! Be sure to read our Paw Pledge before your stay. There, you’ll find important information on how we’ve committed to keeping your family safe while you play!