Wondering how to keep your school-age kids busy and productive on Thanksgiving morning? Do a little preplanning now, and it will pay off when your kids show off their creativity with humorous Pilgrim place favors and cute pine-cone turkeys wandering around the Thanksgiving table.
To make pilgrims: Include your kids on your next trip to the market and look for small gourds, crookneck squash or yellow zucchini with long, thin necks that curve. Sort through the assortment together and choose one for each place setting at the table. Store in a cool place until you dress them as Pilgrims. You'll also need to scout around outside for small twigs for arms, and assemble a few arts-and-crafts supplies, such as paper, ribbon and glue.
Before the children begin, an adult should trim the wide, rounded end of the gourds or squash with a knife so the "bodies" stand upright on the table. Keep the short green stem at the opposite end intact for the Pilgrim's mouth.
Cut a piece of white paper into a 3-inch-by-4-inch rectangle. Fold it in half widthwise. Cut out a hole in the middle of the paper, large enough to fit over the neck of the gourd/squash. It should stay in place at the middle or lower portion of the neck to look like a Pilgrim collar.
Print a guest's name on the front of the collar. Tie a short piece of thin black ribbon around the neck and into a bow at the top of the collar. Draw eyes 1/2 inch from either side of the stem with markers. Or, poke in whole cloves for eyes. Add stick arms made from twigs, and glue on other details such as a ribbon belt, a little hat and hair made from moss or yarn.
To make pine-cone turkeys: You'll need a small, 3-inch pine cone for each body, 5-6 shelled pecans for tail feathers, 2 shelled almonds for feet and 1 almond in its shell for the head. You'll also need household glue or a low-temp glue gun.
Set pine cone on its side. Insert and glue the shelled pecans in a semicircle near the flat base of the pine cone. For the head, glue the almond in its shell facing outward near the tip of the pine cone. Draw small eyes on the shell with a black marker. Spread glue on the flat side of the 2 shelled whole almonds. Attach underneath the turkey for feet. Let dry.
Write Donna with your questions and ideas at www.donnasday.com. Donna's latest book, "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families," is available in bookstores nationwide. © Donna Erickson, Distributed by King Features Syndicate