Incorporating Indians and Pilgrims into Thanksgiving craft projects for preschoolers helps the children understand the meaning behind Thanksgiving. They also make for creative and colorful projects that are easy for preschoolers to put together. Before starting a craft project with preschoolers, make sure all the prep work has been done in advance so the work goes smoothly.
Thanksgiving Place Mat
Choose a piece of construction paper that measures 12 inches by 18 inches. Construction paper in red, brown, yellow or orange will work best. Use a black marker to write "I am thankful" in the middle of the paper. Search online or at crafts stores for coloring sheets featuring Native Americans and Pilgrims. Either the students or the teacher can cut out the pictures after the students have colored them in with crayons. The students glue the pictures onto their place mats.
Turkey Hand Card
Fold a piece of 8.5-by-11-inch construction paper in half. The construction paper should be red, orange or yellow.
Paint the student's hand with brown paint. Before the paint dries, have the child press his or her palm down onto the center of the folded card, leaving behind a brown hand print.
Cut small yellow beaks out of construction paper. Let the students glue a beak onto the thumb of their hand print. Students also can glue a small googly eye onto the thumb area.
Students can turn their turkey into a Native American or a Pilgrim by adding a little hat. The teacher can make a black construction paper top hat for a Pilgrim and a small headdress for Native Americans in advance. Make a black top hat by cutting out two strips of black paper and crossing them in the middle to look like a hat. Make a headdress by cutting out a small strip of paper and gluing small construction-paper feathers to it.
When the paint and glue have dried, students can write their name on the inside of the card.
Thankful Paper Chains
Start this activity at least a week before Thanksgiving. The teacher begins by discussing how the Native Americans and Pilgrims of the first Thanksgiving talked about things they were thankful for. Each day, ask the students to talk about one thing they are thankful for. Write the students' ideas on chart paper. After school, write each idea on a strip of paper. Attach the strips of paper to each other as paper chains, secured by a staple. Each day the students can see their thankful paper chain getting longer. On the last day of school before Thanksgiving, the teacher reads what the class is thankful for.