Making paper plate pilgrims crafts is a classroom tradition in many schools for Thanksgiving.
Perhaps that’s because this is such a good arts and crafts activity for children of mixed ages. Preschoolers can learn about the colors black, white, and yellow, while children from kindergarten on up can practice cutting skills. For the youngest, you will need to cut out the necessary shapes around the paper plates and provide pre-cut pieces to make the hat.
Take the opportunity to talk about the pilgrims and Thanksgiving as you teach the children how to make a pilgrim man and pilgrim woman from paper plates and construction paper.
by Jane Lake
- one paper plate for each pilgrim
- black construction paper for man’s pilgrim hat
- yellow construction paper for hat buckle
- white glue
- crayons or markers to draw faces
For the Pilgrim Man
1. Cut off the border of the paper plate as shown in the photo here, leaving about one third of the border at the bottom for the man’s collar.
2. Snip out a triangle in the center of the remaining border to divide the two parts of the collar. Alternatively, you could draw the two sides of the triangle in pencil then color it with black paint or crayons.
3. Cut a rectangle from black construction paper that is about six inches wide and four and a half inches high. Fold the rectangle in half. Cut a smaller rectangle, 3 inches high by 1½ inch wide from an outside corner (opposite the fold), cutting through both layers. Discard the small rectangles and open the folded paper to make the pilgrim’s hat. Glue the hat to the top of the paper plate.
4. Cut a rectangle two inches wide and 1½ high from yellow construction paper. Fold this in half and cut out the center to make the buckle. Unfold the paper and glue the buckle to the center of the hat, just above the hat brim.
For the Pilgrim Woman
1. Study the photo of the paper plate at left to see how the border is cut to make the woman’s bonnet and collar.
2. You can either cut out the triangle which divides the middle of the collar, or color this area with black paint or crayons instead.
For Both Pilgrims
Draw a face on the center of the plate. This can be very simple – just two eyes, a nose and a mouth – or you can add extra details such as yarn glued on as hair.
To finish, have the children write their names on the back of the paper plate.