Weave Paper Thanksgiving Placemats Activity

3.7 based on 135 ratings
Updated on Oct 22, 2013

Thanksgiving placemats are a great craft for your child, and they make a beautiful addition to the family dinner table! As part of a first grade social studies goal to help children become familiar with their communities and yearlong rhythms, many students learn about the meaning of Thanksgiving and practice giving thanks at school. This craft gets your child excited for expressing gratitude at the dinner table, and gets him to build on pattern-making and fine motor skills that help students with math and writing. Make these Thanksgiving placemats with your child to build skills in all three subjects, and make beautiful pieces for the Thanksgiving table in the process!

What You Need:

  • Large (12x18”) construction paper in fall colors
  • Scissors
  • Clear contact paper or a laminator

What You Do:

  1. Fold one piece of construction paper in half horizontally. Starting at the fold, make parallel line cuts in the paper, 1 inch apart, leaving a 1-inch border at the edge. You can cut straight, or we especially recommend doing curvy lines. Just make sure that you leave at least 1” at the ends of the cuts.
  2. Take a piece of construction paper in a contrasting color, and cut it horizontally to make strips 1” wide and 12” high.
  3. Help your child weave the strips over and under to create a “placemat” for the table. If this is your child’s first weaving experience, you'll probably want to start just with over/under alternating strips. But as soon as your child is comfortable, encourage variations: curvy lined placemats, placemats with more than one contrasting color; or designs in which a child develops a weaving “pattern” with, say, a strip that goes “over two” and “under one.”
  4. When your child is finished, seal off the design by placing it between layers of contact paper, or run it through a laminator. You have created a protective table placemat that can be used again and again…while giving your child practice in those key first grade math and social studies skills.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.

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