I don’t know about everyone else, but as soon as the air gets brisk and the leaves start to turn color I get this itch to decorate. For me, Halloween marks the beginning of a months-long departure from my normally spic-and-span home as every available surface gets covered in craft paper, glitter, glue, and any leaves, pine cones, and other natural elements I can scrounge from my yard or neighboring open spaces. And while I love the bright, bold colors that accent Halloween (orange, purple, and green) and the winter holidays (red and green, blue and silver, etc.), the warm palette that complements Thanksgiving has always appealed to me the most. The golds, yellows, oranges, reds, and browns of the harvest season somehow capture the fading warmth of the summer sun and breathe it into houses that are starting to turn chill in the morning. You can capture this essence in your own home in any number of ways, but if you’re looking for some simple crafts to do with the kids, you really can’t go wrong with a table centerpiece to add some beauty to your Thanksgiving table. Here are a couple of crafty projects that you can do with children of all ages.
The most obvious choice for many moms is the cornucopia. Aside from the turkey it is the penultimate symbol of the Thanksgiving holiday. And there are several ways to go about creating one. If you’re not afraid of a mess you can make a very cool horn of plenty using papier-mch. Depending on how big you want it you can start with a wire-frame version and then add layers of glue-drenched scrap paper. If you have some time to plan, start asking for paper bags at the grocery store. This stiff paper will work great when you tear it into strips. As for the paste, you can make it simply enough with one part flour to two parts water (for example, 1 cup of flour, 2 cups of water). You should also throw in some salt, which helps to prevent mold. The kids will no doubt enjoy this messy craft project. Once dry, your horn can be painted and filled with colorful Indian corn (dried), a variety of small gourds, and even a few dried flowers (like some purple statice). Of course, you could also make an unconventional horn with a wide, metallic, mesh ribbon, but this won’t be nearly as fun for the kids.
Another cool and creative centerpiece is a wreath. Normally reserved for decorating doors, walls, and mantles, this holiday tradition can be turned on its side in more ways than one. You might want to make the base on your own by winding winter grasses, willow branches, or wheat stalks around a wire circlet. But from there you can help the kids to attach fallen leaves, pine cones, dried flowers, ribbons, plastic fruits (apples, pears), and even handmade turkey art. Once you lay it on the table you can set a plate in the center and pile it high with gourds, pine cones, or even some free fall samples from sites like FreeSamples.org (if you happen to get some sweet treats). The point is that you can create some very cool crafts to decorate your Thanksgiving table with little expense. And it’s easy to share the fun with your kids when you think outside the box a bit.
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