Even though Thanksgiving is a pretty low-key holiday for a lot of us — more about food, friends and family and football than anything too fancy — I love how kids tend to get excited about celebrating every holiday. And about decorating everything and anything for any reason at all. That’s why I’m grateful for these 11 fun Thanksgiving printables, including coloring pages and craft projects, to keep the kids entertained (and out of the kitchen) over the coming week.
We also found some festive decorations for the table and walls so you can focus on more important things like the turkey, vegetables, cranberry sauce, and deciding which relative gets to be in charge of the remote.
There’s a reason why almost every restaurant in America offers children crayons to keep them occupied: they work! Give your kids something to do while the grownups are still eating by setting the table with free printable Thanksgiving coloring placemats from Ella Claire, available in three Thanksgiving-themed designs. While you’re there, download her orange and white dot place cards so there’s no arguing over who gets to sit closest to the stuffing. (Free)
We raved about Caravan Shoppe’s Thanksgiving printable set last year, but I’m beak over tail feathers (ha) about their new Thanksgiving activity pack for kids. This set comes with a day’s worth of craft projects and games that kids and adults can enjoy together, plus garlands for decoration. My favorite activities include the “Pin the Hat on the Turkey” game, the two 3D Thankgiving crafts, and cards for playing Thanksgiving Bingo. ($6 for PDF file; you may want to print larger items at local print shop)
For children interested in more than coloring, this free printable Thanksgiving activity book from Happiness is Homemade features eight pages of word games, mazes, and tic tac toe boards. The best part may be the blank gratitude list to get little kids thinking about what they’re grateful for. Besides all of the Thanksgiving activities, I have to add I’m impressed with how blogger Heidi decorated a plain tin with patterned washi tape to hold all those crayons. Making a note to self. (Free)
A nice touch for even the most casual Thanksgiving table, these free printable Thanksgiving utensil holders from Yellow Bliss Road will surely impress your guests. Just spend a few minutes with a pair of scissor and some glue — or, better yet, ask your older kids to help you out the night before. Fit the coordinating conversation starter cards inside the utensil holders to encourage chit-chat between bites. (Free)
If you can locate a circle punch and metal brads in your junk drawer, you or your kids can create these clever free printable Thanksgiving turkeys thanks to Jordan at Oh Happy Day. Folksy yet modern, these paper birds can be used as place cards, as table decor, or as a Thanksgiving craft to do with the kids while the real turkey is roasting. (Free)
Designer Mari Richards of Smallful, one of our favorite indie shops for beautiful printable paper toys, is back with a paper turkey printable to add to your Thanksgiving decor. I like how clean and modern it looks when crafted with plain white paper, but if your feast is more festive, you could dress it up with glitter and feathers. Better yet, let the kids have at it with a rainbow assortment of markers. The result looks so impressive considering how easy the instructions are, so be prepared for compliments on your (faux) origami skills! ($6)
Unless we’re talking about turkey, stuffing, and gravy, less is usually more — especially when it comes to modern artwork. This free Be Thankful Thanksgiving printable from Alice and Lois gets the holiday message across in a simple way. Stick it in an 8 x 10 frame you already own and place it on the buffet during dinner. Or, print it out and allow each of your guests to take a Sharpie to it and write out just what they’re thankful for this year. You could end up with a really special little family keepsake to commemorate 2015. (Free)
Depending on your family, you may be thankful for these free printable Thanksgiving conversation starters from Modern Parents Messy Kids. Encourage a conversation about gratitude with your family by cutting the 27 prompts into strips and letting each guest pull one from a basket to answer. After the big meal, let the kids turn them into a giant gratitude paper chain using tape or a stapler. (Free)
Instead of gobbling up all of the pie at once, you may lucky enough to have a few slices leftover. Maybe just so you can use these funny printable leftover pie labels from Studio DIY with quotes from all of our favorite rom coms. I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie may be the best of the bunch, though. Can you guess the 80s movie? (Free, but you’ll need to buy adhesive labels and pie boxes for printing.)
Sure, anyone can spoon leftovers into plastic containers, but you can go the extra mile by tagging them with these free Thanksgiving leftover printables I found at Remodelaholic. Available in five sizes to fit any bag or box, these to-go labels can be printed on sticky paper or even regular computer paper, then easily taped them to your guests’ leftover containers. (Free)
Gratitude is important, but it doesn’t always have to be so serious. If you’ve got a family that’s more wise-cracking than earnest around the Thanksgiving table, you will also smile at these free printable customizable menu cards that I found at The Holiday Collective. Type in your menu (you can even have fun with how you write it), print on card stock and serve up a side of snark along with your Thanksgiving dinner. (Free)