If you're reading this, I'm assuming you have a few quiet hours to kill before the hellish holiday schedule kicks in. Or maybe your spouse had something better to do and left you at home with the kids on a cold, crappy day. But cheer up! Thanksgiving is close, and there are many a lark to be had. You probably also need something to dress up the holiday table and keep the young'uns happy while you slave away in the kitchen all day. If the heat in my house fails, as is Murphy's Law on Thanksgiving, recreating these projects will give my kids something to do while I scramble for a Denver HVAC contractor on the busiest day of the year for fix-it men. In the spirit of giving thanks, the Schmidts test-drove three crafts for your learning enrichment. You're welcome.
A little background: I have two daughters, ages 4 and 7. We each chose our favorite Thanksgiving craft from Pinterest, based on the following criteria: 1) The craft had to be easy enough for Dad to do without smashing something with caveman frustration or teaching the kids new words, and 2) we had to have all necessary supplies on hand (as your mental health advisor, I strongly recommend limiting your total lifetime trips to Michael's).
Chosen by my four-year-old, the Village People via Spoonful.com is a good, classic craft that yields every kid's favorite thing: a "guy." All kids love guys. Little people they can be in charge of and carry with them on any conceivable errand. New parent warning: Guys are coveted most in the first 24 to 72 hours of their existence. God help you if anything happens to a guy in that initial period of infatuation. After that, most guys begin their steady decent to the bottom of the toy bin, passing through the depths like Dante's circles of Hell. So long, sucker.
This craft wins for best name, of course. My daughter seemed confused when I asked whether she'd like to do the biker with a bushy mustache or the flamboyant Indian chief. The construction is pretty self-explanatory: Wrap a toilet paper tube with colored paper to add background color, clothes, face, hair, hat, and any additional accessories you'd like your pilgrim or Native American to sport.
Presenting the Schmidt People (a.k.a. Village Idiots). My wife created the dapper gentleman. I made the one in the middle, under my daughter's direction. Don't worry; you're not a perv if your mind just suggested "French maid." It does look like a French maid. Or at least a toilet paper tube in a French maid costume.
This pilgrim is called the "Nihilist" or the "Existentialist," take your pick. Perhaps it can represent the thoughts of the first pilgrims on their interminable boat ride across the Atlantic. Seriously, what the hell was going through their minds…? After a brief period of philosophical sarcasm, I decided to lighten up and turn the Nihilist into the French maid.
Thankful Fingerprint Tree
My seven-year-old is a born aesthete, so she gravitates toward all things elegant and balanced (she didn't get it from me). This craft, the Thankful Fingerprint Tree via The Crafty Crow just spoke to her sensibilities. It turned out to be a good project for a self-sufficient first- or second-grader. They can do most of the work themselves, then ask family members to contribute in a controlled way (be very careful here, and follow your kid's instructions to the letter, lest you "ruin" her masterpiece, you incompetent oaf). Did I mention she's a perfectionist, too?