Thanksgiving Craftivity

turkey-napkin-ring-place-setting-2

I pulled out the turkey toilet paper roll napkin rings my children made when they were in kindergarten. I like to use them for a few weeks around Thanksgiving– not just on Thanksgiving day. The year my son built his, we made sets for all of the grandparents and extended family and brought them with us to our family Thanksgiving meal. My in-laws still have their napkin rings.

If you make the napkin ring at school, it’s a fun little craft students can take home to their family. If you are building these with a whole class, you may want to pre-make certain steps, and you will need two days to let paint and glue dry– or do some work at the beginning of the day and finish construction towards the end of the day.

turkey-napkin-ring-group

Materials

  • toilet paper or paper towel rolls cut into 2 inch wide rings.
  • brown and yellow tempera paint
  • brown pipe cleaners (for the feet, optional)
  • red felt
  • assorted colored feathers (we used red, yellow, and orange)
  • googly eyes, 3 mm
  • wood craft spoons ~3/5 inches in height (I used THESE)
  • Elmer’s glue or hot glue gun

turkey-napkin-rings

Directions

  • Paint the wooden craft spoons yellow and the toilet paper roll rings brown. Let dry. (This step can be prepped ahead of time if you do not want the mess and clean-up of lots of tempera paint.)
  • Cut the red felt into a tear drop shape about 1-inch tall.
  • After the paint dries, glue the red felt tear drop shaped piece onto the middle of the spoon end of the wooden stick. Glue two googly eyes above the read waddle. Let dry flat.
  • Glue the yellow wooden stick turkey face to the side of the painted toilet paper roll piece. You may need to hold the craft spoon in place for a few minutes, so the face does not slide to the side. ** Note: Hot glue might be a better option here since the Elmer’s glue takes longer to dry and hold.

turkey-napkin-ring-pipe-cleaner-feet

  • If you are adding the pipe cleaner feet, you will need an adult to poke two holes at the base of the wooden spoon. Thread the pipe cleaner through the two holes, so a loop runs around the inside of the toilet paper roll. Fold and bend each pipe cleaner end into feet shape with 3 toes. Cut any excess length of pipe cleaner off.
  • Glue 3 feathers onto the back of the toilet paper roll and arrange, so the feathers are fanned out.

turkey-napkin-ring-side

  • Roll a napkin and slid into the napkin ring and set at each place setting for your Thanksgiving feast!

turkey-napkin-ring-place-setting

 

Mason Jar Cookie Mixes

M&M Mason Jar Cookie Mix

My fourth grade students sold Mason jar cookie mixes as a class fundraiser. It is a great project for integrating skills from a bunch of different academic areas. It is also a great project for creating a lot of extra work for the teacher. My teammate and I are exhausted and are not feeling nearly as charitable as we were at the beginning of this business project. However, it is a project that works well for groups of children. If you need a service project for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or your classroom, this might be something to consider. Like the soup mixes I am giving as teacher gifts, these are also something you can make at home with your kids to give to teachers, neighbors and friends over the holidays.

mason jar cookie mixes

The students kicked off the project by voting on a variety of recipes (oatmeal was out but after testing cookie samples, they approved the M&M White Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix Recipe). Once we selected two recipes, we priced ingredients and estimated sales. We limited production to ~200 jars, and the students calculated the ingredient amounts for that number of mixes. I recommend limiting sales to a specific number you think is possible for your group, so you do not over commit.

cookie assembly line

The adults have to gather many supplies, and quality control needs to be monitored closely. Most of the stations need funnels, which we made by loosely rolling a piece of copy paper. The baking soda station needs a dedicated adult! With 34 students on 5 assembly lines, we had all of the mixes assembled in about 1 1/2 hours. We spent another half day tying labels and delivering.

mason jar cookie mix labels

If you can buy the ingredients in bulk, it costs between $4 and $5 to make one jar of cookie mix, and we sold our mixes for $8.50. The biggest cost is the chocolate chips and M&Ms. One warning– during the holidays, Mason jars are hard to find. We needed 17 dozen 1-quart jars. If you are buying jars in the Charleston area, stores are sold out (so I have heard). If we decide to repeat this project next year, we will be purchasing our jars in August! Click here for the M&M White Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix Recipe, and click here for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix Recipe.

200 mason jar cookie mixes

Spooky Votives

We have 45 minutes for scary snacks and spooky activities at my daughter’s kindergarten Halloween party next week. I offered to provide the super speedy activity for the kids. This is a Halloween activity I have used before. It does not require a whole lot of precision and works well for nursery school or kindergarten children. What are other short and simple Halloween activities that will work at school parties?

Supplies

  • One wide-mouthed glass jar for each child in the class, no lid (Mason jelly jars, Beach-Nut baby food jars, or any glass jar)
  • Tissue paper cut into small squares (orange, black, yellow, white…)
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Paper plates
  • Paint brushes
  • One tealight candle for each child in the class

Directions

  1. Mix Elmer’s glue with a little water on the paper plates.
  2. Children paint a portion of the side of the jar with the diluted glue.
  3. Press pieces of tissue onto the jar and smooth down. If needed, paint a little glue on top of the tissue pieces.
  4. Repeat until the whole jar is covered.
  5. Let dry and place tealight inside jar and light for a spooky votive.

Notes

  1. You can use any size glass jar. I really like the Beach-Nut baby food jars, but I did not know any families this year who might be buying baby food on a regular basis and would have a supply of 20+ jars for the class.
  2. If you want these to look more professional, I think you could use Mod Podge or Diamond Glaze to give the jars a more finished look.
  3. Use this activity at Christmas or Valentine’s Day as well. Just change out the tissue paper colors.

Dinosaur Dig

After the success of the “J” week jellybean treat, we decided to send in another themed snack to the nursery school class during “D” week.  We combined some Chex mix recipes and came up with a dinosaur style snack mix.  The idea was to have kids dig for dinosaur bones and dinosaur eggs in the snack mix.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. Corn Chex cereal
  • 2 c. Rice Chex cereal
  • 1 1/2 c. oyster crackers
  • 1/2 c. small pretzel sticks or pretzel snaps
  • 2 c. graham sticks (dinosaur bones) or Stauffer’s original animal crackers (dinosaurs)
  • 6 oz. dried fruit (we liked a combination of dried blueberries, cranberries, and cherries)
  • 1 c. yogurt-covered raisins (dinosaur eggs)
  • 5-6 T. butter, melted
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground nutmeg

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 13×9 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place cereals, oyster crackers, pretzels, and graham sticks in a large bowl; mix lightly.
  • Combine butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in small bowl; mix well.  Drizzle evenly over cereal mixture.  Toss to coat. **If the mixture is pretty dry, mix another half batch of butter/sugar/spice and add.
  • Spread the coated cereal mixture in an even layer on the pan.
  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown, stirring gently halfway through.  Cool completely.  Stir in dried fruit and yogurt-covered raisins.

Variations

  • Instead of graham sticks or animal crackers, you could use mini-dinosaur grahams.  I can’t ever find these at my grocery store, but I think they are out there.
  • For “G” week, you could make Gorilla Grub and substitute the yogurt-covered raisins and dried fruit for plain raisins and dried banana chips.

Jellybean Joke Bags

My daughter’s nursery school class sent home a small Ziploc bag every Friday with a “letter of the week” printed on the outside. Over the weekend, we would find a small item at home to represent the letter and return the filled bag on Monday for a class share. During “J” week, we sent treats for the whole class.

I used a Word label template for the joke inserts and printed them on cardstock.  They are roughly business card size.  We purchased clear cellophane bags from Michael’s, added a handful of jellybeans, and tied up the treat with curly ribbon.

I’ll need some fresh letter-of-the-week-treats for next year so if anybody has suggestions, please comment!

SIDE NOTE: Not all 4-year olds get the humor in the elephant joke even after 7-year old siblings try to explain.