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How to Create Pine Cone Turkeys for Thanksgiving


Want festive, homemade Thanksgiving decorations? Need an activity to keep the kids occupied? Pine cone turkeys are the solution to both of these problems. Thanksgiving pine cone turkeys are cute and simple enough that even young children will be able to make them with minimal supervision.  If you’re looking for an activity that will keep the little ones busy while you are preparing Thanksgiving dinner in the kitchen, this one is definitely worth trying.

Gather supplies- A day or two before Thanksgiving, gather up all of the necessary supplies and tools and put them in a box. That way they’ll be ready to set out for the kids to work with when the time comes. You’ll need:

  • Various sizes of pine cones
  • Feathers
  • Brown pipe cleaners
  • Glue
  • Googly eyes
  • Orange felt
  • Safety scissors
  • Paper (optional)

Create the tail- The children can create a colorful turkey tail for their pinecone by using different colored feathers.  If they want, they can dip the quill end of the feathers into some glue before poking them into the wide end of the pine cone.  The glue is optional because the feathers should stay in place if pushed all the way into the pine cone layers.  Continue to fill in the tail with feathers to make it as full as desired.

Make the head- Take the brown pipe cleaner and bend one end over to create a hook, then pinch the hook closed so that it’s shaped like a head.  Set the pipe cleaner aside.  Cut a very small triangle out of the orange felt for a beak. For young children, you may wish to do this step ahead of time. Glue the googly eyes and beak onto the shaped brown pipe cleaner and allow it to dry for a few minutes.

Attaching the head- Once the head is dry wrap the opposite end of the pipe cleaner around the pine cone until the head and neck are sticking up from the front. If the pipe cleaner is too long, cut it with the scissors or break it off by bending it back and forth at the same spot.

Adding feet- If you’d like to add feet to your turkey, you can freehand cut some feet and legs from the orange felt. Glue the legs to the underside of the pine cone with the feet sticking out in front.

Place card holders- Have the kids make enough turkeys so that each place setting has one.  Using cardstock, construction paper or any other paper you have on hand, write the names of everyone that will be attending your Thanksgiving dinner.  Lean the place cards against each turkey or stick it between the middle layers of the pine cone.  Now you have seasonal place card holders that can be used from year to year.  Or you can send the turkey pine cones home with the kids as a little party favor.

Tips:

  • You can use store bought pine cones for this craft or bake gathered pine cones in the oven at 250 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes to make sure there are no bugs in the pine cones.  Do this in advance so the pine cones have plenty of time to cool.
  • If you don’t have any pipe cleaners you can glue the felt beak and googly eyes directly to the front of the pine cone.
  • If you can’t find feathers or don’t want to use them then you can use feather shaped construction paper in various fall colors.  Depending on how much space is between the layers on the pine cone you may or may not need to glue in the paper feathers.

Planning a project for the younger guests at your Thanksgiving gathering will not only give them something to do, but it will give you some uninterrupted time in the kitchen to cook.  Plus, by using the pine cone turkeys as place card holders the kids will feel like they were able to contribute to the festivities.

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