Thanksgiving Cookies: An Edible Craft

The following post was written by contributor Rae Grant and originally appeared November 2010.

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, home is a busy place. Thanksgiving Day is always a good time to offer kids a craft focus and it is the perfect opportunity to make new traditions.

Over the years, we have made pinecone turkeys, turkey handprints, wreaths, and nature centerpieces for the children’s table. I’ve found it is always a good idea to have a simple, seasonal craft project in mind when you have a group of kids for a holiday. It brings them together and adds an element of tradition to the festivities. It will also give them things to remember years later.

I recall one Thanksgiving when my brother was dive-bombing his small green plastic toy soldier directly into the mashed potatoes and gravy on his plate. No adults were watching and we kids were highly amused. We should have been crafting!

This year, I’ve decided to do something a little different to keep the kids busy on Thanksgiving Day. After watching all the lovely changes in the leaves, making hand-cut sugar cookies in the shape of an autumn leaf seems like the perfect ending to a beautiful season.

Get Creative

Like free-form cutting with play dough, kids can cut artistic leaf shapes from sugar cookie dough using a metal or plastic butter knife. They may not look “perfect” like a cookie cutter type, but hey, they are “homemade”. I recommend rolling and baking the cookies the day before so that the craft on Thanksgiving Day is about cookie painting.

We’ll use the cookie and frosting recipe from my book Homemade Fun, but any favorite sugar cookie recipe and butter frosting will work too.

Give Thanks

When the cookies have cooled, have the kids try their hand at painting a Thanksgiving message on the cookie using colored frosting and paintbrushes. Imagine a plate of cookies adorned with simple words like “play, eat, love, hug, tree, sky, wind.”

After dinner, we plan to pass around the cookie plate and ask each person to read or say their word of thanks. This communal act reminds us all of the simple joys we have in our lucky lives. Eating the cookie is the other additional benefit!

Leaves, colors, sunshine, family…. Happy Thanksgiving!

What are some simple words that you and your family might be thankful for this year?

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  1. Growing up my mom and aunts always had a kid craft for us on Thanksgiving day. We made graham cracker houses, punched cloves in oranges, made cinnamon ornaments, etc. It was always great. I miss that and am a little sad the tradition won’t continue… I’ll have to figure out how to change that.
    Angela´s latest post: FPU Junior sale!

  2. It’s a gray day here, just perfect for cookie baking! We’re thankful for a cozy kitchen and time to bake together.
    Aimee @ Simple Bites´s latest post: A Simple Bites Holiday Menu recipe- Cranberry-Orange Sauce

    • It’s windy and rainy here today so we are going to paint the cookies later today after school. We baked for the post yesterday and have the cookies in the freezer awaiting decoration! I’m thankful for knowing how to bake and being able to offer that to the kids in the family. It also helps G, my daughter, have a stress free focus after a long day of school work and gets her mind on Thanksgiving that is just around the corner.

  3. This is a fantastic idea. I have been looking for some turkey day activities to keep the kids entertained while the adults catchup and do our thing. I am currently going to use a paper ‘table cloth’ and offer crayons to the kids to help them get through dinner. This idea is also great, I think i’ll be giving it a shot for later in the night! Thanks!
    MindWare´s latest post: America Recycles Day

  4. These are lovely! I have “Homemade Fun” and it’s wonderful, BTW!
    Alicia´s latest post: Nature Therapy

  5. we’ll be trying these- just got to get through Nutcracker (this weekend)
    priest’s wife´s latest post: This Life is NOT a Dress Rehearsal

  6. Awesome as always, Rae. I’m incredibly thankful for a family who loves food and cooking and baking as much as I do.

  7. Here’s what we’re going to make:

    I love crafty food making stuff!

    Heidi @
    Heidi´s latest post: Think Outside the “Toy Box”

  8. What a fun idea!

  9. This is a fun idea. My daughter would enjoy it!
    Nisha @ Healthy Mom’s Kitchen´s latest post: Commit To Be Fit FRIDAY- New Year Healthier You Countdown WK 4

  10. I love baking with my girls! Looks yummy, thanks. And, we have much to be thankful for, in the midst of some major health issues. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for that reason.
    Melissa @imaginationsoup´s latest post: Thanksgiving Gratitude, Learning Ideas, and Books for Kids

  11. Anybody have a good pumpkin sugar cookie recipe?

  12. I loved these cookies! They look so “rustic” as we liked to call them! Thanks for sharing such a simple but overlooked (by me anyway) idea! Cookies without the cookie cutter! Great! I do have to admit that i cheated a little and bought the dough already ready to go.
    Debbye @ The Baby Sleep Site´s latest post: Happy Holidays! 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway for 2011


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Simple Kids and Ellen Luckett Baker, Susan Heid. Susan Heid said: RT @simplekids Thanksgiving Cookies: An Edible Craft […]

  2. […] I came to post that I got this recipe from a piece by Rae Grant on Simple Kids or maybe on her blog My Little Hen where there are indeed leaf-shaped cookies… but when I […]