Thanksgiving Centerpiece Created by Kids

One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories was the year that my mom asked me to do the decorative centerpiece. As a fourth-grader, I was well-versed in setting the table. But to be able to decorate the table all on my own ... I was thrilled. I placed a rectangular mirror on the center, added candles and then went in search for "autumnal beauty."

I purposefully rode my bike half a mile away to "the ballpark" (the park across the street from my school). It was a foggy California day and the grass and fallen leaves were wet and cold. But I was on a mission to find "pokey balls" and this was the only place in town to get them. Technically, they are called sweet gum tree seed pods. I learned that today when I Googled it. Anyway, the pokey balls, along with some beautiful leaves completed my inaugural Thanksgiving arrangement.

Now, I've passed along the table decor honors to my own kids.

We begin by gathering. (Depending on where you live and when your fall "falls," 
you may want to gather your Thanksgiving decor earlier, rather than later, in the month.)

Leaves ...

Wild grasses ...

Sticks (boys like sticks) ...

Once you are ready to arrange, gather small bottles and glassware.

Have your kids group your autumnal plunder.

If you have a little boy, he'll love this part. Grab two apples, a butter knife and candles.
Crafting with a knife is very masculine.

If you need to you can get a hole started, and then let him finish it.
Careful not cut through the bottom.

 Insert candle.

Have another helper begin arranging the natural finds into containers. These will help the centerpiece look more purposeful versus nature dumped on the center of the table.

Display the beauty. Let you child do it. Remember, this is their arrangement.

If you are interested in crafting a no-sew burlap table runner go here. 
(This is also a kid-friendly project.)

 Set the table. Tie napkins with twine.

If you are traveling for the holiday, you won't want to pack a box of nature, but place cards can be prepared and take up minimal packing space. Just ask your hostess if your kids can create cards for the event. Be sure to get the guest list.

You don't need anything too fancy--just paper and a pen. Fold the cards in half. At the top write "I am thankful for." Then, have your child write a name on each card. This is a great time to talk to your kids about not only about the "things" we are thankful for, but the people ... those God has placed in our lives to provide love, laughter and back scratching.

The next step can be done before the big day, but it's fun if everyone at the gathering participates. Leave pens on the table and before the meal, have each attendee write what they are thankful for about each person.

Now your table looks beautiful. Bring on the turkey.


  1. I LOVE this! I'm going to do it for sure if my grandma will let me. She's keeps a tight reign on the decor since we do the cooking now. Haha!

  2. One of my daughter's favorite things to do is help me set the table at grandma's every thanksgiving. We pull out grandma's dishes, take a walk through the yard and let her go to town. And every year the table is beautiful.

  3. I love this— such a fun idea to let the kids decorate the table— my girls would be thrilled to do that. I love the place cards idea too. Found you this blog via Grace Laced. And I saw that you are in Denver... I live in Fort Collins. ;-)

  4. The candlesticks made with apples is such a cute idea!

  5. I love this! What a great way and excuse to get the kids out looking for decorations! Also LOOOVE the individual "I am thankful" cards for each guest!