Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Chair Backer

I don't covet things very much, but when my daughter and I went into Pottery Barn Kids yesterday I fell in love with all of their Thanksgiving decorations... especially these chair backers. I loved the simple concept of filling them with treats and activities to keep kids happy and entertained during Thanksgiving dinner. 

Instead of buying the ones at PBK or attempting to sew them (which would've been a disaster), I dug through my craft cupboard to find materials to create my own simple homemade (and cheap) Thanksgiving Chair Backer. I made a sample one today and my son is going to help me make the other ones this weekend. I got the paper plate idea from here. The project took less than 30 minutes (other than the paint drying time) and I LOVE IT!

Materials Needed: paper plates, paint brush, brown paint (or red and green to make brown), ribbon, googly eyes, colored cardstock for feathers and turkey face, stapler, pencil, something sharp to make a hole, and glue or double stick tape.

1. Paint the back of one paper plate and front of one paper plate. I used heavy duty paper plates. You need to do extra paint layers to cover the glossy front of the plate. If you use cheaper paper plates they are easier to paint... but might not be as resilient with your kiddos!

(I got lazy and only half painted one plate because you won't see the bottom)

2. Cut the plate with the painted back in half.
3. Staple one plate half to the plate that has a painted front. Make sure that an adult does the stapling. Kids can help as long as they are supervised.

4. Trace your child's hands on a variety of colors of cardstock and cut them out. Older kids may be able to do this on their own. You can let younger preschoolers cut out their hands as well as long as there is parent supervision. They won't be perfect... but don't worry too much about that... they will still be adorable!
5. Cut out a circle from brown cardstock for the turkey's face.
6. Cut out a gobbler and beak from colored cardstock.
7. Glue or tape everything onto the turkey's face.

8. Staple everything to the turkey base (paper plate pouch).

9. Use a sharp object to poke two holes through the top of the paper plates. A hole punch will punch too close to the edge, so don't use one.

10. Cut two pieces of ribbon and thread one through each hole.

11. Tie the ribbons around the dining room chairs... and then fill the chair backers with treats and activities! I love this so much more than putting stuff on the table. This way it is out of their way when it is time to eat... and then easily accessible again when dinner is over and the adults still want to chat some more.

One thing my son reminded me is that the turkeys need to have NAMES on them! So make sure you personalize your turkeys with each child's name. If I get all of them done and get names on them before the craziness of Thanksgiving starts, I'll post a picture up on here.

Once these are all done, I am really excited to assemble a few little things to go inside. There can't be too much... or the plate pouches will break, but below are a few of the ideas that I have thought of so far.

Inside Pouch Ideas:
- crayons tied together with a ribbon
- notecards and envelopes to write/draw notes to some you are thankful for
- bag of candy corn and little corn stalks to play this candy corn counting game (instead of writing the number on the corn, I thought I could give each kid one corn stalk and one die and they can roll to know how many candy corns to put on their stalk). I'm sure the candy won't last for long!
- materials to play this turkey roll game (for older kids)
- some Thanksgiving coloring pages rolled up and tied with a ribbon
- a mini container of play-doh
- Thanksgiving mini-felt board

What else would you add inside the turkey pouch?

Do you do anything else to keep the kids happy and entertained during Thanksgiving dinner?


  1. JDaniel would love to have this on his chair!

  2. this is a great idea! how about stickers to go inside too?

  3. what a fun idea! Great for those prolonged Thanksgiving dinners to keep kids from getting antsy! Must jot this down for next year.

    Thanks for linking your idea to the Sunday Showcase last week. Hope to see you this week!


  4. I'm writing because I run a sensory site and am looking for great ideas for Thanksgiving. And as any parent, we’re looking for terrific Thanksgiving crafts and ideas for kids with Sensory Processing Disorder and on the Autism Spectrum. Would you add a link to a craft idea or two on our blog? Here's the link to share and get more traffic to your site…


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! Please know that if it isn't kind or adding to the conversation, it won't be shared. I moderate each comment, so you won't see your comment show up immediately when you post. Thanks for stopping by to visit my blog.