When I was twelve, my best friend and I made a series of finger puppet animals. We spent hours cutting out tiny felt ears and gluing googly eyes. I gave a set of bears to my aunt and she loved them so much she hung them on her tree. Many years later, the bears still make an annual holiday appearance!
To celebrate the joy of homemade gifting, we collected some of our favorite DIYs and KiwiCo Store projects that your kids can turn into presents this year!
Create a trio of faceted candles to decorate the house! With KiwiCo’s easy Geometric Candle crate, kids will learn how to fold a geometric mold, dye some wax, and transform the wax into a candle. The kit includes a video tutorial link, step-by-step illustrated instructions, all the materials, and additional design ideas and inspiration.
We know many grown-ups will be busy tomorrow and Thursday shopping and prepping for the Big Meal — but it’s also helpful to have some fun Thanksgiving games lined up to keep the little ones entertained. These are also some of our favorite ways to bring the family together before or after Thanksgiving dinner — maybe you’ll find a new family tradition here!
On Thanksgiving Day, we have a family tradition. We play the “Turkey Games.” It’s basically a bunch of Thanksgiving games and friendly competition amongst our family and friends of all ages. As the table is being set and Thanksgiving dinner is cooking, it’s a really fun way to spend time together. This year, we’re trying out a new event: Turkey Bowling. My kids had a blast creating and playing this DIY game. Plus, the scoring brings a little math and learning to the fun. Strike!
Sometimes my kids get a little restless on Thanksgiving as the grownups are preoccupied with getting that special meal onto the table. We ended up DIY’ing a Thanksgiving pictionary game that would be a perfect way to spend some time before – or after – the meal.
My daughter brought home a pumpkin similar to this one from school. We loved the concept. So, as a family, we decided that we would each create a pumpkin of gratitude to explicitly recognize that we have so much to be thankful for. We are truly fortunate. This project is simple, but it turns out beautifully. I hope that we continue making pumpkins of gratitude as a tradition in years to come.
We love catapults around here at KiwiCo. That’s why we make two types of catapults: the Basketball Catapult and the Arcade Catapult. Launching things is endless entertainment! This particular cranberry catapult includes a nod to the Fall season and Thanksgiving. Cranberries make for the perfect ammunition. We tried pom poms too, and they worked just as well (or even mini marshmallows left over from the sweet potato casserole!)
Wishing a safe and happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from all of us at KiwiCo!
This Christmas you can give young scientists a chance to experience fun chemistry by helping them create holiday slime. All it takes is this simple Christmas Slime recipe. It’s time to get slimed!
Christmas Slime and Smiles
What does it take to make slime? Molecules. Long chains of molecules and a Christmas chemical combination! Slime experiments are a holiday favorite for elves, young scientists, and Santa lovers everywhere because of how awesome slime-making can be. It’s fun to play with and a joy to create.
Christmas Slime is a sensory experience that uses polymers and slime activators to get a chemically bonding reaction! The look, texture, and holiday fun scent of slime allow children to fully immerse themselves in the experiment while learning all about molecule movement. This Christmas Slime recipe is messy but so satisfying!
Step 1: Create Powerful “Bonding” Moments
It’s time to celebrate Christmas in all its colorful glory with your adventurous Christmas helper! All your child needs this Christmas is some chemical reactive ingredients and this quick instruction guide to add a little sparkle to the holiday season. Here’s what to grab if you want to make Christmas Slime that smells and looks like a holiday party waiting to happen!
Christmas Slime Recipe: Ingredients
(Serving size: 1 batch of festive slime!)
1/2 cup of clear, washable school glue
1/2 cup of water
1/2 or 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of saline solution
mixing container or bowl
stir sticks (popsicle sticks work well)
food coloring (your choice of color)
glitter or Christmas confetti (optional – you’re welcome parents)
holiday spice or scented oil of your choice (optional)
(Tip: Add 2 to 3 drops of peppermint oil, a cinnamon stick or small amount of gingerbread spice blend to your slime mix for a Christmas scent.)
If you don’t have a saline solution and baking soda within reach to trigger the necessary chemical reaction, other recipes call for 1/2-1/4 cup of liquid starch or 1/4 tsp of Borax powder as an adequate replacement option. They are all a part of the Boron family and react in similar ways.
Step 2: Pour On The Sticky Stuff.
It’s time to get started! Slime makers, take your 1/2 cup of clear washable glue and pour it into the bowl. This will be the base of your Christmas slime recipe.
(Fun Fact: That clear school glue is known in the science world as polyvinyl-acetate.)
Step 3: Add In Some H20.
Now it’s time to add some water to the mix! Add 1/2 cup of water.
Step 4: Get Out Your Color/Glitter Cannon!
Here comes the creative part! Bring out your inner artist and splash in some food coloring. If you want to add some extra sparkle, this is where glitter or confetti comes in. During this step, you can also put on your experimentation cap. Ask questions like these:
How much food coloring do you need to add to get the particular color you want?
What happens when you add two different colors into the slime?
What is the texture of the Christmas slime after a teaspoon of glitter is added? How about a tablespoon?
And Voila! Next thing you know, you’ve got your own custom slime creation!
Step 5 (Optional): It’s Time To Get Scent-sational!
Before you put your slime activators (baking powder & saline solution, or Borax, or liquid starch) to the test, try adding a fun scent like peppermint oil, cinnamon or a gingerbread mixture of 1 teaspoon of ginger and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir it into the existing water and glue mixture. This will help to spread the Christmas scent through the slime. It can really help boost the holiday experience!
Step 6: Next–Activate The Powderous Pouring!
Get the stir sticks out it’s almost time to watch as molecules tango together in what’s known as the cross-linking process. Add 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder into the colorful glue and water mixture. Give it a generous stir, it’s about to get salty in here!
Step 7: Dribble In Your Salty Solution
After you’ve thoroughly stirred the baking powder, 1 tablespoon of saline solution is next. You’ve already exercised your brain muscle, now it’s time to exert some force with your arm muscles. Use your stir stick to mix the Christmassy concoction into a slimy consistency. You can stop stirring once the slime pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
(Fun Fact: So what just happened? The borate ions in the saline solution reacted chemically with the polyvinyl-acetate (aka the glue) creating slime!)
Step 8: Now You “Knead” To Step It Up
Does your chemistry experiment feel a little too sticky to handle? Yes, Christmas Slime is messy but it shouldn’t be overly sticky. By adding a little more saline solution onto your hands and kneading the slime, it can help those dancing molecules bond more tightly to each other.
Step 9: Put Christmas Slime To The Test
What kind of slime do you like best? Do you think viscous (thick, stretchy) slime is the best kind out there? Or do you prefer a thinner, more soupy kind? Make a few batches of slime to determine what slime type you prefer, until you get the perfect Christmas slime! (Hint: Try adding different amounts of saline solution to the slime. You may be surprised at the results!)
Step 10: Have A Chemical Comparison Session
There are many types of slime. What makes one batch of slime different than another? Does borax react any differently than the saline solution? How does liquid starch react in contrast?
Step 11: It’s Time For Sensory Slime Play Time!
You’ve created your slimy masterpiece, now what?! Stretch your slime to the breaking point. How far will it stretch? Doesn’t the texture make it fun to hold? Some sensory scientists like to play search-and-rescue with their slime by placing tiny objects inside it (parent-approved objects of course.) Then they let others seek them out or guess what objects are hiding.
Step 12: Clean Up Time
Christmas Slime is fun to work with but can be a bit tough to clean off clothes and even tabletops. The key to cleaning slime is to get to it in time! Wipe or pick slime off the surface it is attached to quickly. Many slime makers also use vinegar to keep slime where it belongs!
(Tip: If slime gets on furniture or clothing that you value, don’t immediately pour vinegar on it. First, dab a small bit of vinegar and see how it reacts before using larger quantities.)
Step 13: Keep Your Slime Safe
Slime can last for weeks if it is properly stored. If you place Christmas Slime in a container that is air-tight, it is less likely to dry out. Reusable plastic and glass containers can help your slime stay fresh. Just make sure to clean your slime before storing it away.
This holiday season, smile from ear to ear with this fun chemistry experiment! No stretch of the imagination is required, only a lot of colorful, stretchy slime!
In the last few years, gratitude has come to light as an accessible way to increase happiness and even change our brains (thanks neuroplasticity!). Researchers are studying how to best practice gratitude and developing this field to help us better understand how gratitude affects our kids’ brains, bodies, and communities.
With all of that new research, it’s no surprise that so many parents are wondering how their kids can practice gratitude. What games should you play with your child? What awesome projects can you do together to practice gratitude? Parents want to bring gratitude into their family activities beyond Thanksgiving Day or week, but they struggle to find simple and practical ways to keep it up. Below, we’ve collected an updated list of 10 hands-on projects to try at home with your family any time of year!
Throughout the year, have your kids write or draw what they are thankful for on smooth stones, and drop them into a special jar. At Thanksgiving, pull out the rocks and talk about the things you are thankful for this year.
This Gratitude Collage template helps kids learn how to express their gratitude. The prompts and illustrations are a super helpful way to teach younger kids how to express their gratitude. These paper gratitude blankets will hang nicely in your living room!
It’s a great, kid-friendly project to remind the people around you to be grateful for the little things in life! You can hang your gratitude chain by tying strings around both ends of your chain and taping them to the wall. We also love the idea of using the garland as tabletop decor!
Show your neighbor, friend, or family how grateful you are to have them in your life with a little treasure hunt. Busy lives and full days, means we often forget to stop and express how grateful we are for each other. This treasure hunt is a fun and heart-warming way to say thank you for the simple things we often take for granted.
Collage the outside of a journal you make yourself or have around the house. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to jot down what you are grateful for. It’s a simple way to lift spirits and reminds us to celebrate the small things in life.
Go for a nature walk with your kids. Keep track of what brings you feelings of gratitude along the walk. When you return home, illustrate a poster with those items: sunshine, birch trees, lakes, and more!
A kindness wreath is a great way to encourage kids to create moments other people will be grateful for and to develop a keen awareness for the kindness around them! A ribbon is added to a wreath each time a family member points out an act of kindness. When the wreath is full, celebrate as a family and move it to your front door!
How do you practice gratitude?
Let us know in the comments below! A big thank you to everyone who made it to the bottom of this blog post, and for continuing to engage your kids in hands-on learning through KiwiCo projects and/or in other ways. 🙂
7 Reasons to Make KiwiCo Your Go-To Holiday Gift Solution
Are you scrambling to find a holiday gift for the kids in your life — a gift that inspires fun and learning? That will please the kid (most importantly!) but also their parent too?
We may be a little biased, but we think we have a solution for even your toughest customers. Our crates are packed full of age-appropriate awesome projects and activities that encourage engaging exploration and hands-on play. We offer a wide range of crates for all ages and interests, from infants and toddlers to teenagers (and beyond!) You can also choose projects aimed at specific interests, such as art or engineering, chemistry or crafting, geography or robots. Most importantly, the crates offer old school fun.
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, auntie, uncle or family friend, here are some reasons you can’t go wrong with a gift from KiwiCo this season:
When you give a crate from KiwiCo, you are giving the gift of self-confidence, curiosity and innovation to your kids. KiwiCo inspires kids to see themselves as makers and to develop the creative confidence to change the world (for real!)
You are giving the gift of quality time to yourself and your kids. With our hectic weeks and very long days, it can be difficult for us as parents to find time to sit down with the kids and do a fun activity (trust us, we know!) Our crates are thoughtfully designed to make learning playful and fun for both you and your child.
You are giving the gift of ease and convenience to yourself (or the lucky recipient’s parents!) All of our projects come with everything you need in the box! No last-minute trips to the store, no frantically checking the obligatory kitchen junk drawer for batteries, paper, or scissors. Everything needed is in the box! Plus you can order the box TODAY and select the first date when the crate gets delivered. So you can cross gift-giving off of your list.
You can still have a gift to put under the tree or to give in person. With our service First Crate Ship to Me, you can have the first crate shipped to you so you can deliver a physical gift for the holidays.
You are giving a gift that keeps giving. Long after the craziness of the holidays is over (and some gifts have, sadly, been forgotten/broken/lost), your kid will continue to enjoy a monthly delivery of their crate!
We have a gift for ALL price points… You can find 3-, 6- and 12-month subscription terms, as well as plenty of single projects (including stocking stuffers) for sale in the KiwiCo store.
…and for EVERY age, from infants to teens (and even kids at heart!) No more visiting multiple stores and websites or getting lost in the Google rabbit hole of searches for “best gifts for 5 year olds, 9 year olds, 13 year olds, 15 year olds, etc….” We can help you check off literally every kid on your list.
But don’t just take our word for it.
“This is one of the best gifts I’ve ever found for my grandson. The crates come monthly and he loves to do the projects. They are age appropriate and he can do them by himself. Science, art and more.” -Lorna B.
“So in ♥ with KiwiCo! This is THE gift I recommend to everyone I know with kids in their lives.” – Tracy T.
“I LOVE these crates. My kids have a great time and we spend family time together doing them. Great memories made” – Stacey W.
KiwiCo has the perfect solution for young scientists, creatives and innovators! We’ll help you find a gift that inspires curiosity and learning all year long.
Get your holiday shopping done today at KiwiCo.com!
We are thrilled to announce the launch of Maker Crate — our newest line for teens and beyond. Maker Crate will provide you with all the tools and instruction to tap into your creativity, learn new techniques, and make something beautiful… and useful.
Our mission in launching Maker Crate is to deliver an experience that will help you build creative confidence to turn artistic visions into design realities. From creating a macrame plant hanger or a punch-needle pillow to spruce up a room to crafting a terrazzo-style tray to store essentials — every crate includes projects that are both imaginative and functional.
Not only will makers learn new techniques and tools, they will learn real-world applications and the history behind each art form. Whether you are 14 or 104 years old, a first-time crafter or an experienced maker, each crate is a chance to experiment, draw inspiration and make something to treasure or give to someone special.
If you’re familiar with our other lines, you will find some unique aspects to Maker Crate:
Maker Crate’s step-by-step instructions are presented exclusively through online video tutorials, to make learning new techniques more visual, more accessible (and maybe even more fun!)
With an emphasis on more sophisticated techniques, Maker projects are more in-depth and will likely take longer to complete. We’ve also included materials for future projects so that long after the first project is finished, you can continue to experiment with other designs. Like Eureka Crate, Maker Crate starts at $24.95/month (with free shipping.)
We know first hand the joy that comes with experimenting with new artforms and learning a new craft. We’re here to help makers feel more confident in trying new things in a way that is encouraging, convenient, and seriously fun! We can’t wait to see what you make!
Is the young crafter in your family fascinated by snow and the holiday season? If so, then your child may enjoy delving into the snowy side of Christmas crafts. Learn how to make a paper snowflake by following these 10 easy steps. By the end, you’ll have an intricate snowflake that will bring creativity and holiday spirit into your home!
Step 1: Gather Your Paper Snowflake Materials
Paper Snowflake Craft Materials
White paper (letter-size)
Scissors (safety scissors are optional)
Protractor or ruler (optional)
(The materials listed above are enough for one large snowflake. If you want to turn your ceiling into a fantastical snowflake skyline, repeat this project with more paper sheets!)
Step 2: Create a Snow Crystal Square
Every paper snowflake starts off in a basic square shape. Take a sheet of letter-size paper and fold a corner down to align the shorter end with the longer end. The folded part will form what’s known as an isosceles triangle. Now use scissors to trim the excess paper below the triangle shape.
(Side note: The excess paper should measure 2” x 8.5”, in case you want to make sure you’re following along correctly! It isn’t needed for this project, so you can add it to the scrap bin or recycle it.)
Step 3: Fold and Refold
Keep your paper folded in a triangle shape. Now fold the large triangle again in half. This will make a smaller triangle. Try your best to make clean and straight creases!
Step 4: Divide and Conquer Your Triangle!
Because real life snowflakes are symmetrical, we’ll need to do some careful measuring to create a symmetrical paper snowflake of our own. Symmetry is when two or more parts of a thing are identical. Think of butterfly wings, matching socks, and spiderwebs — they all have parts that match.
Now, the smaller triangle needs to be divided. The longest side of the triangle should measure 8.5″ long. Use a ruler and pencil to mark the middle of that side (at 4.5″ from each end). Use the ruler to draw a line from the apex of the triangle (the corner opposite the longest side) to the mark you made.
Step 5: To the Left
Now it’s time to get back to folding. As mentioned, snowflakes have symmetry. Folding your triangle correctly creates a kind of symmetry, a uniformity, a balance to the shape. Take the left side and fold it so the left edge is aligned with the middle drawn line.
Step 6: Now to the Right
Repeat this with the right side and fold it over the middle section as well. The paper should look like an arrow pointing downward.
Step 7: Flip it Forward
Once the folding is done, flip the arrow shape over to see a horizontal edge at the top. No two snowflakes are alike and you’re able to put your own unique creative spin to yours!
Step 8: Taking a Cut Above the Rest
Take scissors and cut along the horizontal edge. After you’re done cutting, fold the triangle in half one last time. Now, the triangle is a right triangle, which means one corner of the triangle is a 90 degree angle.
Step 9: Shape it ‘Til You Make It
Make sure to keep the paper folded and begin to cut out different shapes from the edges. Beginners can start with triangles, but you can also explore squares, rectangles, or rounded shapes — get creative!
(Tip: Never cut all the way across the triangle from end to end as it will cut your snowflake in half.)
Step 10: Unveil the Paper Snowflake Masterpiece!
Now it’s time to unfold the paper. What kind of snowflake will appear? If you folded along with the steps, it’ll be a 6-pointed snowflake, but then again, half the fun is in the mystery of the reveal! Remember that every snowflake is different. Your snowflake should feature a symmetrical design, just like real life snowflakes. See how many different patterns you can create. Try adjusting the project to create bigger or smaller snowflakes to decorate and create a true winter wonderland.
Looking for the perfect present for a creative kid? Stop by our Holiday Gift Guide for a full list of STEM and art gifts for all ages!
DIY snow globes are a fun way to use arts & crafts to learn about density, displacement, and viscosity.A typical snow globe contains some sort of liquid, plus a material to act as the “snow”. When shaken and flipped, the “snow” makes its way to the bottom – just like a snowfall! The snowfall inside a globe looks more realistic when it falls gently down from the top. The inventors of the snow globe swear by their secret snow recipe for creating realistic scenes inside their globes. Brainstorm some ideas for what materials to use for your snow recipe. Choosing the right material for snow is important, as is the liquid it falls through. Glitter is common. What about confetti? Styrofoam? Soap shavings? Sawdust?
Setting up your Workspace
For both experiments and projects, keep an organized and tidy work space to be able to observe results and record observations.
Read through the instructions for the entire project.
Gather materials for each step as needed.
Find a secure place to allow the globe to cool or cure without disturbance.
DIY Snow Globe Materials
Start by asking kids what materials might be needed to create a snow globe.. Brainstorm ideas for what kinds of objects can be used to create a wintery scene inside the globe. Old toys and recycled materials are good options, as well as polymer clay which can be used to construct a unique scene.
Glass jar with a lid
Polymer clay glue
Toys, dollhouse miniatures, or other recycled material for creating the scene inside the globe
Hot glue gun
Clear nail polish
Glycerin (available at drug stores)
Glitter of different sizes and other potential materials for snow
Waterproof silicone sealant (from a hardware store)
In order to let all the parts of this project properly dry and cure, this DIY snow globe project may take several days to complete. Throughout the project, there are two quick experiments that can be done at any point to boost the science fun and learning behind the snow globes.
Learn about viscosity (how easily liquid flows) and density (how compact a material is) in this kitchen experiment.
Materials for “snow” (glitter, confetti, styrofoam, etc.)
Place two jars side by side. Put a tablespoon of the same snow material in each jar.
Fill both jars with distilled water so that they’re nearly full.
Add a ½ teaspoon of glycerin to only one jar.
Tightly close the jars with lids and have kids shake up both jars to see which combination does a better job of recreating falling, drifting snow.
Note any interesting observations. Is the “snow” falling at the same rate in the two jars? If you used material in varying sizes (like cut up styrofoam), do some pieces seem to be falling faster or slower than others? Why do you think this is?
What happens when you add more glycerin to the jar containing the water and glycerin mixture? Add more glycerin into the jar in ½ teaspoon increments, recording the best amount for realistic snowfall.
The Science Involved
What’s going on? Adding glycerin to the water increases the viscosity of the mixture, meaning it flows more slowly. This ultimately gets in the way and slows down the falling snow pieces, which is why the same snow material might fall slower in the glycerin-water mixture than plain water. Smaller pieces still move faster than larger pieces, which get more encumbered.
Density plays a part as well. Density means how much something weighs for a given volume of it. Glycerin is denser than plain water, so a glycerin-water mixture will also be denser. Materials with a much greater density than the surrounding mixture fall faster, while materials with less density or the same density fall slower or not at all.
Creating good snowfall requires adding viscosity and density to water with glycerin and picking a snow material with a similar density to the liquid. Record observations and save the recipe for the best snow material (maybe it’s a combination of materials?) combined with the right mixture of glycerin and water.
The DIY Snow Globe Scene
Create a fun, wintery scene to affix to the inside of the jar lid. Remember, the scene should be narrow enough to fit through the mouth of the jar and short enough to comfortably fit inside the jar when closed.
Bake & bond polymer glue
Clear nail polish
Hot glue gun
Create a Base
Tightly ball up a sheet of aluminum foil.
Roll out a sheet of polymer clay to wrap around the aluminum foil.
This creates a raised base inside of the globe where you can glue on found and recycled items or mini polymer sculptures.
Use polymer clay to sculpt winter and holiday objects within your DIY snow globe. Brainstorm objects to sculpt: candy canes, snow men, present boxes, Christmas trees, etc.
Test the scene to make sure it will fit in the globe by gently placing the jar over the items.
Baking & Sealing
Polymer clay needs to be baked before going inside the DIY snow globe. Gather up the clay items for baking.
Clay items can be glued together with polymer glue before going into the oven.
Bake the clay wrapped aluminum foil base and any polymer pieces at 275 degrees for 20 minutes.
Let the clay cool completely.
Once cooled, plastic toys and other items can be hot glued to the base. Parents should be in charge of the hot glue gun.
Coat the entire scene with clear nail polish to protect it.
Leave the coated scene for 48 hours to cure completely.
Learn about water displacement in preparation for the final snow globe assembly. Water displacement is a fun way to gauge how much volume, or space, an object takes up. It’s usually measured by dropping a solid object into a container of water and tracking how far the water level rises.
Any collection of objects that will fill the jar in increments: marbles, rocks, small toys, wooden beads
Towel & baking sheet or other tray to keep water contained
Make a guess about what will happen to the water when objects are dropped into the jar. How many marbles will it take to get the water to the top of the jar?
Fill the jar halfway with water. Place a towel on the baking sheet or tray and place the jar on top.
On a piece of paper, guess how many marbles are needed to get the water to the top of the jar.
Begin dropping marbles into the jar.
Keep a tally for each of the marbles placed into the jar.
Once the water reaches the top, count the tally marks. How close was the guess? Is it more or less or equal to the original guess?
With this experiment, you’re measuring the volume of the marbles. When the marbles sink in water, they displace – or push – the water upward. The amount of water they push is always equal to the marbles’ volume, so if you tracked the rise in water, you just successfully measured their volume! This same principles are used to weigh things like giant ships that would otherwise be super difficult to put on a scale.
Bring all the pieces together to create a realistic and lasting DIY snow globe.
Jar with lid
Sealed scene (on polymer clay base)
Water & glycerin mixture
Hot glue gun
Silicone waterproof sealant
Baking sheet or tray (to catch overflow of water)
Using the hot glue gun, adhere the snow mound to the inside of the lid. Dry test the fit to make sure the jar will still fit over the scene.
Place the jar right side up on a towel on a baking sheet. Don’t forget about water displacement! Water will flow out of the jar as the globe is assembled, thanks to the space the snow mound takes up.
Scoop snow material into bottom of the jar, following your favorite combination of materials from the Quick Experiment.
Pour in the water and glycerin mixture to the top of the jar.
Around the lip of the jar, put a line of waterproof silicone sealant so the jar will seal shut and won’t leak.
Tightly screw the lid onto the jar.
Using the towel, wipe off excess water and silicone from the outside of the jar.
Over the years we’ve asked our community about their family Thanksgiving traditions — and got hundreds of responses! We loved them all; these were our favorites. These Thanksgiving traditions for kids are perfect for involving them in the festivities, keeping them engaged…and teaching them the real meaning of thankfulness.
We make one “Thankful Slip” (alternating red and green construction paper slips) for each person on each night of November. We do it as a family at the dinner table each night, we discuss what it is that we are thankful for and why (even the toddler participates, we’ve been very surprised at the sweet things she has “written” on her slips so far). Then we put our slips into our Thankful turkey (a milk jug turkey my teenager made when she was in preschool). On Thanksgiving day we pull out the slips and turn them into a Christmas chain for our tree. It brings the thankfulness into the next holiday season. —Desirae
On Thanksgiving Day, we host the Turkey Games. Everyone is split into teams with color sashes like the Cranberries, Green Beans, and Blue Potatoes. Then, we compete in fun games like wind-up toy races, pin the gobbler on the turkey, etc. It’s basically a bunch of games and friendly competition amongst our family and friends of all ages. As the table is being set and Thanksgiving dinner is cooking, it’s a really fun way to spend time together. Our family loves Turkey Bowling. My kids have a blast creating and playing this DIY Thanksgiving game. Plus, the scoring brings a little math and learning to the fun. Strike!–Marianne
Before dinner we all go on a walk in the woods and collect branches, leaves, pods and other natural materials. Then we bring all the materials back to the house and make Thanksgiving nature mandalas. We begin by placing all of the materials in piles and then sorting by color and texture. Then we make circles in color gradients. We love how this ritual connects us to the season and to each other–Peter
We put out paper supplies and encourage everyone to make a special art turkeys. Teams are encouraged! Then we parade through the house with our turkeys and vote for the ones we love the most. We been doing this for years and now we have beautiful collection. Each turkey reminds of the people who made them. –Celia
A week before the holiday we research a topic we are passionate about–it could be as simple as a type of animal or more complex like a historical subject. Then at dinner we take turns presenting our stories. We call these “Turkey Talks.” It’s lots of fun and we all learn something new.–Leslie
For one of our Thanksgiving traditions for kids: we taught our kids a few magic tricks, which they perform at the beginning of the meal and again before dessert. They love it, and it gives them an incentive to sit at the table. —Angel
Family Placemat Project
Each family member makes a placemat by coloring their name and a few simple things they enjoy. After 15 min, it’s passed to the left and that family member draws a picture and says what they are most thankful for about you. Every 15 minutes, pass again until you have your own back and you have pictures from the whole family about why you are special to them. We use them at dinner to remember that family is our greatest gift. —Beverly
Paper Bag Costumes
The kids work on a play and make costumes out of paper bags and markers. We have feathers to decorate headdresses. It takes them a while to get ready. Then we have dinner. Then we get to have a show with our dessert. A win for everybody. The kids really enjoy it. Each year the production gets bigger! —Teresa
The Candy Corn Game
Everyone in the family has five candy corns placed at their spot at the Thanksgiving table. At the end of the meal we go around and everyone shares five things they are most thankful for, one for each candy corn. I am a teacher and I have started doing this with my students (preschoolers and kindergarteners) on the last day of school before Thanksgiving break. They take it very seriously. It is sweet to hear them and often, in listening to others, they/we are reminded if more we are thankful for. —Meredith
Tree of Gratitude
Every Thanksgiving holiday, we have a family tradition where each of us writes down what we are thankful for. Typically, we just jot them down on some post-it notes and read them out loud, but this year, we wanted to create a centerpiece of gratitude. This tree is a simple but elegant way to display what we are are thankful for. Going forward, the tree will be a part of our holiday tradition.
We travel to Portland and visit family. With seven children under 12 in one house for three days, we keep it really simple and eat lots of leftovers after the big day! We have been writing what we are thankful for on little wooden hearts and leaves (from the craft store) since the beginning ten years ago and now we have quite the bowlful. It’s so adorable to read what the little ones said years ago 🙂 —Katja
A Thanksgiving Toast
We buy bottles of sparkling cider and each kid gets to use grown-up wine glasses because it’s special. They each toast reasons for being thankful and then take sips after each toast. Pinkies out! —Angie
Coloring Table Project
We have a toddler so we get to intro some new Thanksgiving traditions for kids. I’m working on some little felt leaves so that every year we can each add a message to one and then over the years I will have a thankfulness tree to frame. Also, we covered our table with Kraft paper for coloring last year to help keep the kids busy, and let them help cook! Having them involved with the food means they will actually eat it, too! —Joanna
Donating Dog Food
Around Thanksgiving we’ve begun a new tradition of finding a way to give back to our community (in other ways than just donating cash). This year, we decided to give back by donating dog food to our local shelter. We talk about what we’re thankful for and try to help those who are less fortunate (even our four-legged friends!). —Janice
More Thanksgiving Traditions for Kids
We hope you have the opportunity to try some of these traditions and have some fun! For more Thanksgiving traditions for kids, along with crafts, activities, and recipes, visit our Thanksgiving Crafts For Kids list!
It’s impossible to pinpoint the source of the magic of the holidays, because it’s never just a single thing that makes the season feel special. The culmination of family, tradition, and yes, presents, come together to make it the most wonderful time of the year. With kids on winter break, coming up with traditions, like a reindeer food recipe, that keep them engaged while inspiring that holiday magic is a win-win. Especially for parents who are working overtime as members of Santa’s home-brigade of elves.
Reindeer Food is a cute tradition that will engage kids and inspire the magic of the season. These are two separate recipes, one is meant for reindeer to eat, not kids. The other is a snack for kids and Santa’s elves who might need a sugar fix.
What Do You Feed Reindeer?
First, gather together ingredients & supplies for the reindeer food. During the holidays, many of the ingredients will already be in the pantry, and there’s always the option of grabbing more specialized ingredients from the store.
Reindeer Food Recipe
6 cups rolled oats
Red & green sugar crystals or sugar with food coloring
Optional: edible glitter
A jar, sandwich bag or other container
Is This Really What Reindeer Eat?
Santa’s reindeer need different food than the reindeer of the arctic. Non-magical reindeer in the arctic eat a lot of lichen, when available they eat the leaves from trees like willow and birches. They’ll also eat grass when they can find it.
Reindeer migrate to summer and winter habitats, covering up to 3,000 miles in a year. This is more than any other land mammal. They’re the perfect animal to make it around the world in a single night.
They have wide hooves for walking through snow, Santa’s reindeer need their hooves for landing on rooftops without falling off.
Their knees make clicking noises so during blizzards they can hear other members of the herd. Santa’s reindeer also wear bells to hear each other.
Mixing Up Reindeer Food
Once you’ve selected your magical ingredients for Reindeer Food, get a large mixing bowl and pour all the ingredients in. You can use as much or as little of each of the magic ingredients as you’d like, depending on what you think the reindeer need.
Oats: the reindeer need oats for strength and energy to fly all the way around the world on Christmas Eve.
Marshmallows: keep the reindeer light & fluffy so they can prance through the air.
Brown Sugar: keeps their fur thick and soft to keep them warm in the winter sky.
Red & Green Sugar, or Edible Glitter: magic fairy dust so they can fly through the night sky.
Add your festive mix to a sandwich bag or clear jar, hand decorated with ribbons, glitter or drawings, and you’re all set for a visit from Santa’s furry friends!
What to do with Reindeer Food
If you’re establishing a new family tradition, there are a lot of ways to use reindeer food.
Sprinkle on the ground in the backyard or front yard. The ingredients are safe for birds and squirrels. Edible glitter and sugar will dissolve. Don’t use real glitter for food going outside.
Leave next to Santa’s cookies for him to feed to the reindeer.
Share with family members and friends.
Reindeer Food Kids Can Eat
While magic reindeer food isn’t for kids to consume, you can also make this “Reindeer Kibble” for people to eat around the holidays.
Reindeer Kibble Ingredients
9 cups crispy cereal squares
½ cup peanut butter
1 cup white chocolate chips
½ cup confectioners sugar
1 cup red & green sugar crystals
(optional) 2 tbsp edible glitter
Large Ziplock bag.
Directions for Making Reindeer Kibble
This recipe requires using heat & melted chocolate, so parents should help out with the cooking parts. Kids can help with mixing & stirring the kibble together. This is food for people, and shouldn’t be put out on the lawn with the magic food!
Pour cereal into a large mixing bowl.
Pour confectioners sugar, edible glitter and red & green sugar crystals into the Ziplock back and set aside.
In saucepan over low heat, melt white chocolate chips and peanut butter together. Stir continuously.
When melted & well mixed, pour the melted mixture into the large bowl over the cereal. Using a spatula, kids can help stir until the cereal is well coated.
Scoop the coated cereal into the ziplock bag and seal shut. Shake the bag until the cereal is well coated.
Whatever isn’t eaten immediately, store in an air-tight container.
On Christmas Eve, kids can leave a bowl of Reindeer Kibble next to Santa’s cookies for him to eat as well! Santa’s home-brigade elves can snack on Reindeer Kibble to power through last minute present wrapping binges. Kids will enjoy projects like the reindeer food recipe year after year, and will hopefully do someday with their own kids, to make the holidays feel extra magical.
Reindeer DIY Guide
For more holiday fun, check out a few of our other awesome reindeer DIYs: