November is flooded with Thanksgiving turkey crafts and activities, and I love them all! But I felt a non-turkey Thanksgiving craft might be appropriate while teaching my preschoolers about the Thanksgiving holiday. Beyond a cute corn craft, it is also a number identification and counting activity, as well as a fine motor activity. It’s a great addition to a Thanksgiving theme!
Non-Turkey Thanksgiving Craft
When I was a kid, my family of ten lived in a 1,800 square foot house on a acre of land. Most of that acre was dedicated to a garden, because as you can imagine, it was really expensive to feed eight children.
You see, I have five brothers. And they ate a lot. They still eat a lot!
Every Saturday my dad would wake each of us up at 7:30 in the morning and we had to have ourselves dressed and fed and outside ready to work by 8am. For the next four hours, we worked in the garden. We grew potatoes, green beans, tomatoes and corn, as well as other goodies like eggplant, melons, and cucumbers. But what I remember the most were the vegetables we preserved for the winter.
Corn was one of those vegetables.
I remember about a quarter of the acre we lived on was a corn field. Some years, my grandfather would plant a equal sized plot of corn in his nearby property.
But that was never enough for our large family. My dad would almost always have to buy a truck bed full of corn from a local farmer. He would let the tailgate down and the ears of corn would spill out onto the grass in the backyard.
One Saturday each fall, we cancelled all other plans we might have for the whole day. We had to stay home and work together to prepare all that corn for freezing.
Everyone in the family had a special and specific job. Some of my siblings were tasked with husking all those ears of corn. My mother and grandmother typically were in charge of blanching the corn, while my dad and grandfather cut the corn off the cob.
My younger brother and I would usually scoop the corn into freezer baggies, wash the sticky, starchy juices off the outside the bags, dry them, and arrange them into neat rows in the deep freeze. I remember my grandfather sneaking me chunks of cut corn in rows while we worked.
Our work was always rewarded on holidays when we got to enjoy some of that sweet corn we had worked so hard to preserve. Each Thanksgiving, my dad would make fried sweet corn using the bags of corn we had frozen earlier that fall. It always made me think of Indian corn, and the corn they shared together at the first Thanksgiving.
So, while I do adore all those fun turkey crafts, (I’ve shared many myself), I definitely appreciate a craft that represents other parts of Thanksgiving! I try to include them all in my Thanksgiving lesson plans. So here’s to a non-turkey Thanksgiving craft. Especially a corn craft!
But don’t forget, it is also a counting activity, a number identification activity and a fine motor activity!
Frequently Asked Questions about a Preschool Thanksgiving Theme
Discuss the importance of the meaning of Thanksgiving. Help young children learn that this holiday is all about gratitude and celebration of family and friends. Encourage children to share what they feel thankful for and find ways to share those feelings with the important people in their own lives.
Invite children to share special traditions, meals, or games that are special in their families. There are lots of Thanksgiving songs to sing together, too!
There are so many fun activities for Thanksgiving! You could attend a parade or watch one on television. Families can also have fun playing football in the backyard, volunteering at a soup kitchen or community pantry together, making crafts, or playing board games.
There are lots of hands-on activities to use during the Thanksgiving season. Try a colorful turkey process art activity or play a silly game of Catch the Turkey for some math practice! Use beads and work on hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills with a beaded feathers Thanksgiving hat.
Other Thanksgiving and Fall Activities for Preschool
Thanksgiving Corn Craft for Preschool
- yellow tissue paper cut into one or two inch squares
- heavy cardstock, cut into the shape of an ear of corn
- liquid school glue
- green construction paper with leaf shape traced on
- ten frame for counting (optional)
Begin by inviting your preschooler to join you in crumpling up the pieces of tissue paper to make “corn kernels.” You don’t want to crumple them too small, or you will need a TON of tissue paper. But if you crumple them too loosely, they will loose the corn kernel look. Somewhere in the middle is best.
This is one of the fine motor pieces to this non-turkey Thanksgiving craft.
While they’re crumpling tissue paper, you can cut the cardstock into the shape of an ear of corn. If you cut one that’s a shape you like, you can use it as a template for the rest. Or just freehand cut – real corn comes in lots of shapes and sizes, and yours can too! In lieu of cardstock, you can also use a paper plate.
Prep the green construction paper by drawing or tracing on a simple leaf pattern. You’ll want two leaves for each child. They can help cut these out later.
Kernel Counting Activity
Once all the materials are prepped, it’s time to dive in! Have the children load up the cardstock ears of corn with liquid glue from about an inch from the bottom all the way to the top. Squeezing the glue onto the paper is another great fine motor skills workout.
Next, invite your preschooler to roll the dice and count out the coordinating number of crumpled tissue paper corn kernels to add to their ear of corn. I had my preschoolers first place their tissue paper corn pieces on a ten frame, to help them count the amount correctly each time.
Continue rolling the dice and adding corn kernels until the ear of corn is full. The kids’ pincer grasp will have gotten a great workout by this time! Set the completed ear of corn aside and allow it to dry.
While the ear of corn is drying, have the kids cut out their leaves. Fold each leaf in half lengthwise, and glue to the bottom of the ear of corn.
In preschool, I try to spend as much time as possible teaching my students about the story of the Thanksgiving holiday and why we celebrate each year. Turkey crafts are cute and festive, but I love a good non-turkey Thanksgiving craft, too. And, of course, this one hits close to home for me, because of the memories I have from my childhood of growing and preserving corn.
Don’t Forget Thanksgiving Picture Books
High quality literature is so important for kids, and is a perfect addition to every preschool theme! We’ve hand-picked some of our favorite Thanksgiving books for you, and thrown in a few about harvest and Thanksgiving foods as well!
More Fine Motor and Number Identification Activities for Preschool
- Yellow tissue paper cut into one or two inch squares
- Heavy white cardstock
- Liquid school glue
- Green construction paper
- Ten frame for counting (optional)
1. Crumple the tissue paper squares into small "kernels." Cut the cardstock into the shape of an ear of corn, and draw two leaves on the green construction paper.
2. Have the kids cover their cardstock corn with glue, leaving about an inch of room at the bottom.
3. Invite the kids to roll the dice, count out the number of tissue paper "kernels" (double checking with the ten-frame, if desired,) and then add the kernels to the ear of corn.
4. Continue rolling the dice and adding the appropriate kernels until the entire ear of corn is full. Set aside to dry.
5. Once dry, fold the green leaves in half and glue to the bottom of the ear of corn.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.