the girls gathering leavesSo, this is probably the elementary teacher in me coming out, but I think a table decorated by your kids is the way to go for Thanksgiving. The great thing is that it gives them some important work to do to help you prepare for the big day. (This could also be an activity to keep all of those cousins busy until dinner on the big day.) This works great for any age (the older they are, the more elaborate the mats can be.) It could also be done with butcher paper to be a table runner, if that feels more appropriate to your decor. You can also just enjoy them nightly for the month like we will.


fall leaves (this will turn out best if they are not dry yet so they are still flexible.)

large sized construction paper (We used brown for a fall feel.)


clear contact paper (available at any grocery store)

markers, crayons, or paint…you choose


1. Arrange your leaves into the design you want on a piece of paper. As you can see, I choose to make them the feathers for a turkey, Megan went a more abstract route…whatever works.

2. Once they are how you want them, glue them down. (You don’t have to be too careful, just tack them down so that they stay in place. Now embellish them with the markers. I cut a circle of brown to make the turkey’s body and glued it over the base of the turkey placemat

3. Lay the contact paper over your mat to see what size you need to cut. After it is cut to the right size, peel back one corner and align it to the paper. Now pull the rest of the backing off gradually while you smooth the contact paper over the placemat. *It is a good idea to leave about 1/4″ border around the paper. You can put another piece on the back and the border (of just contact paper) will seal it so that the mat is water resistant. If you are doing a table runner, it isn’t necessary to back it with the contact paper as it won’t get as much abuse.

4. Now praise your little artist’s contribution to your Martha Stewart-esque (right!) table!Megan’s placemat