By Dawna Matthews:
It’s a time of year for coming indoors a bit more and finding activities that fill the time and our hearts. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and a beautiful reminder of what we have to be grateful for in our lives — what we cherish and the gifts that surround us.
I like to set aside some craft time with my daughter, especially as the weather turns cooler. It’s a splendid time to connect with one another as well as with our own inner artist and be a kid again. Here are some of my latest favorite autumn crafts.
Gratitude Tree: This is super powerful yet easy craft. I like to use mine as a centerpiece for the table. All you do is gather some sticks and twigs, then arrange them in a vase. Get some autumn inspired construction paper, felt, or scrapbook paper in varying shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown. You can cut the paper into circles or leaf shapes (I prefer the leaf shape), then use a hole punch on the papers or felt. Before attaching the leaves to the tree, hand a leaf to everyone in your family (or house guests) and have them write on it one thing they are grateful for. I like to cut numerous leaves, and each day write something and add it to the gratitude tree. By the time Thanksgiving day rolls around, your tree will be full. If you can’t find twigs or sticks, you can still write your daily thankfulness on the leaf shaped paper and place it in a glass jar, bowl or box. Whatever method you use, be sure to stop and read some of the leaves; they will bring a smile and melt your heart.
Hand Turkey: This is one of the first art projects I remember from my childhood. My grandfather kept the turkey I made for him hanging in the house. This simple craft always has been one of my favorites. Here are the instructions to craft an awesome turkey. You will need a paper plate or paper, pencil, crayons, markers, pipe cleaners, stickers and other assorted decorations for your turkey. Trace your hand (or child’s hand) on the paper plate or paper. Draw in the turkey feet or use your imagination with the pipe cleaners. Color in the feathers (fingers) of the turkey and decorate as desired. Another wonderful option for the feathers is to write in what you are thankful for in your life. This year our family used pom pom balls, pipe cleaners, markers, crayons, and stickers to decorate our hand turkeys. They added texture, and we had a blast. One thing I really like about this particular craft is that you can see the growth of your children as their hands get bigger. Additionally, the whole family can get involved — it’s always fun to see everyone’s creativity.
Glitter Pumpkins: Beware! This one is messy, but the result is beautiful. This is something my girlfriends and I like to do because it’s sparkly — and who doesn’t love sparkles?? You can buy real or imitation ornamental pumpkins. Simply glue designs or place glue all over your gourd, then sprinkle glitter atop it. I like to cover my table with protective cloth or newspaper for easy cleanup and peace of mind. I use orange, bronze, gold, and even black. It’s such an elegant and fantastic way to add some flair to the home. After they dry, I place them in a basket, bowl, or on the table and let them shine. This craft is a wonderful reminder to me of how even the most ordinary of things can shine and sparkle.
Any and all of these crafts help you to relax, and to feel grounded and energized while recognizing all the gifts in our lives. For me, these crafts allow creativity to emerge as I celebrate the cornucopia of blessings and abundance in my life. It gives me time to be in my home, surrounded by my loving family, and let the spirit of Thanksgiving flow and infuse our lives. These simple crafts are wonderful, fun ways to celebrate gratitude while having fun. How do you celebrate Thanksgiving and the gifts in your life? We would love to hear from you!