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Thanksgiving Countdown Bunting Tutorial {and 28 grateful activities}

It seems like Thanksgiving gets a little bit overlooked in the rush to Christmas crafts and ideas.

This year I decided that I want to focus more on Thanksgiving and helping my kids be grateful for all of the blessings and good things in their lives. I had two ideas that I wanted to do, and then I thought — why not combine the two?? A Thanksgiving Countdown Bunting.

I think my favorite part of this project was coming up with ideas for our family to do to celebrate the Thanksgiving Season. I also asked on my FB page for some ideas and there so many wonderful things that YOU do. So I included some of those in the activities at the end. And I asked my kids for some ideas THEY want to do.

You can make as many pockets as you want. I made 20, but you could make one for every day in the month of November, or you could make less. It just depends on what you prefer. Each day I have an activity and some of the days I tucked a treat in the pocket or a little gift. My kids are so excited about this idea!!

Tuck an activity into each pocket, and/or a little Thanksgiving treat.


Here’s how to make the Countdown Bunting:

1. I used Riley Blake fabric – so cute!**

2. I made a rounded bunting template — it is 4 inches wide and 6 inches long.

3. I made a template for the pockets — 4 inches square.

4. I cut out the fabric for the buntings and the pockets.

5. I ironed the edges under on the pockets.

6. I sewed the packet onto the front of each of the pennants.

7. Then I sewed the front and back of the bunting together and then folded the edges together at the top and sewed that shut.

8. Then my sewing machine died, so I had to hot glue the ribbon on instead of sewing it.

9. I used my Silhouette to cut out the letters for the banner. But if you don’t have a Silhouette, you can stencil on the letters.

10. After that I ironed the letters onto the fabric.

11. The last thing I did was add a couple of flowers to the banner.

And my favorite part? Thinking up the activities for our family to do. I also loved getting my kids involved so they thought up some fun things they wanted to do as a family this month as we get ready for Thanksgiving!!

Here are 28 Thanksgiving Grateful Activities

(Thanksgiving Activities — print these off, cut them out and put each one in the pennant pockets, or create your own!!)

  • Make Tom Turkey Cupcakes — http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/sweet-t-o-m-turkeys-687045/
  • Send a special relative a holiday letter.
  • Collect items for shoebox gifts at Operation Christmas for children in different parts of the world — http://www.facebook.com/OCCshoeboxes?sk=wall
  • Take a family walk. Collect pinecones or Fall leaves and make a festive decoration.
  • Make Hand and Feet Turkeys — http://fun.familyeducation.com/thanksgiving/childrens-art-activities/35218.html?detoured=1
  • Go visit residents at a senior home. Bring them a homemade treat.
  • Bake your favorite kind of cookie and take them to a friend or neighbor. Ring the doorbell and leave them on their step.
  • Rake an elderly neighbor or widow’s leaves.
  • Volunteer as a family at your local food bank. If your kids aren’t old enough, leave them at a sitter. instead of date night spend it helping others.
  • Buy some socks and gloves and drop them off at the local shelter.
  • Do something special for your child’s teacher or babysitter.
  • Take all the cash you can find from the house — under the cushions, in pockets, purses and the car and donate it to your local children’s hospital.
  • Try out that new pie recipe as a test run for the big day. Make an extra one and drop it off at a friend’s home.
  • Call your Mom, Dad or sister, tell them how much you love them.
  • Volunteer at your local soup kitchen. Take your kids if they are old enough. It’s something they will never forget.
  • Call your grandparents, or have your kids call THEIR grandparents.
  • Have your kids clean out their toys, clean them and take them down to your local goodwill for less fortunate children.
  • Have your children make something special for their dad.
  • Watch your favorite holiday movie together as a family.
  • If the weather is nice enough, go for a family bike ride. If not, go sledding together or for a walk.
  • Read your favorite Thanksgiving book together. If you don’t have one, check one out at the library and read it.
  • Go over to your local school or church and clean up the playground or grounds. Pull weeds, pick up trash.
  • Make baby blankets or gifts and donate them to your local women’s shelter.
  • Adopt a family this Christmas. Or even one child. Have your children be involved in thinking out and buying their presents.
  • Make your family’s favorite soup. Eat dinner together and talk about what you are grateful for.
  • Go caroling in your neighborhood or at a local retirement home.
  • Make a list of ten reasons you love your spouse and leave them under his/her pillow.
  • Collect canned foods from friends and donate it to the local food bank.

**Be sure to check out the fun contest at Riley Blake Fabrics. You have until November 9th to enter a project using their fabric in a home decor project and you can win a beautiful cruiser bike.


PS — I’m linking up to these fun parties!!


Today’s Creative Blog – Get Your Craft On Party!


Tidy Mom’s I’m Lovin’ It!!


  1. What font did you use for the words, please? Thanks! I love the bunting and the idea of slowing down this season!

  2. Love your bunting and family activities! I’m including this in a 5 for Friday roundup of Thanksgiving Countdowns on my blog tomorrow, with one pic and a link back to this post. Thanks for the fantastic ideas girl! You are an inspiration : )

  3. Absolutely LOVE this idea, thank you for sharing! Thanks to Pinterest, I keep ending up on your blog, maybe I should just follow you. :)

  4. thank you …wounderful and love the ieda of slowing downing

  5. I love this Jen!!

    Thanks for linking up too!! I featured your banner in my wrap up http://tidymom.net/2011/thanksgiving-ideas/

    Have a great weekend

  6. Saw this over on Tidy Mom and had to come take a look. Adorable!

  7. I love the idea of getting the kids involved in coming up with ideas… I bet those will be the best ones!

    Come by my blog, I’m giving away 25 FREE Shutterfly Holiday Cards @ http://acraftyescape.blogspot.com/2011/11/giveaway-shutterflys-2011-holiday-cards.html

  8. So lovely and fun Jen!! Thanks for the great ideas.

  9. Not only is the pennant totally adorable just on its own but your idea for adding family activities and ways to be thankful make it a wonderful family tradition! Ill have to put this on my o do list. Thanks Jen!

    • Justine Abbitt » Thanks Justine!! My kids have had such a fun time planning out family activities for us to do together. It’s been fun!


  10. I love this bunting! What a great idea to add pockets! Thanks for sharing!

    • Brittany » Thanks Brittany! The kids have loved helping plan the family activities!! We did the first one on Saturday. I am so excited about all of the activities this month :)


  11. What kind of product did you use to be able to iron on the letters? I would love to make this, but not sure what to cut the letters out of to be able to iron them on.

    • Callie » Hi Callie!

      I used the SIlhouette Heat Flocked Heat Transfer material. You can buy it through Silhouette’s website. Or, if you don’t have a Silhouette, you can buy iron-on fabric letters at your local craft store :)


  12. i just LOVE this project and all the ideas! it makes me so glad to see families focused on quality time together this time of year!

    • breanna » Thanks Breanna! The kids have loved thinking up activities to do together as a family and also ones to do for service. It’s been fun!


  13. What kind of product did you use to be able to iron on the letters? I would love to make this, but not sure what to cut the letters out of to be able to iron them on.

  14. Jen!! I love this idea of the bunting and the activities that the kids come up with. My “thankfulness” can almost all be distilled down to basic Family things. This is perfect.

    • Vivienne @ The V Spot » Thanks Viv!! The kids have loved coming up with the activities. We did our first on on Saturday :) Love ya!!


  15. This is such a fabulous idea for the kiddos! I so need to do this with mine! Love this idea and the colors!


  16. So cute! I think I might make one and have everyone insert a note stating what they are thankful for to be read on Thanksgiving. What an awesome banner!!!

  17. This is awesome! I love the colors – and I just love that whole mantle! Beautiful!

  18. What a cute idea! :)

    • Thanks Bridget!! My kids loved making the list of things to do with me. We went bowling on Saturday for our first activity :)


  19. So, so great, I love this idea! We will definitely be doing this. I love Thanksgiving and the idea of being intentionally vocal about all the things we’re thankful for…..I am thankful for my sweet girls. (here’s one of the reasons, fyi! http://youtu.be/Sm82Gvyb7zU)

  20. Seriously adorable!!

  21. Love, love, love this idea–so cute, as always. I like how you got the kids to contribute to what goes in the pockets.

  22. This is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing. Cute beyond measure :-)

    • Dana – thanks so much!! We are really excited to do the activities. We are starting the first one tomorrow :)


  23. This is wonderful! I love how colorful it is and LOVE getting the family involved with the activities. My oldest is only 16 months (and have 1 one the way) so I think this will be great for next year when he can get a bit more involved, but it’s not to early to at least *make* the banner. Thanks for sharing!

    • Congratulations!! How fun. Yes, next year is a great idea!! You could make it this year and put some little treats inside the pockets for your baby. or even hubby :)


  24. What a fun idea, love it! Big Hugs ♥

  25. This is such an inspiring post Jen! I love all the activities and especially your banner! Our Thanksgiving has passed already (I’m from Canada), but I think I will apply some ideas to the time leading up to Christmas! So inspired!

    • Thanks Jo-Anna!!

      I appreciate your comment. It makes me happy when I make something that inspires someone :)


  26. What a Very Fun a cute idea…Love the colors

  27. I’ve got one little one napping and one sick little one watching a movie in bed and now I’VE GOT SOMETHING TO DO! I am so doing this right now! I was able to add some Thanksgiving cheer to my entry and dining table the other day, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the mantel.

    Today I am thankful for the brilliant ideas of others that help inspire me when I am stuck! Thank you!

  28. I was just thinking I needed a Thanksgiving themed bunting, and I love how you combined it with the activities! Thanks for the awesome idea.

    • Thanks Sarah!! We are really excited about the activities. I think it’s really going to help bring the spirit of service into our home this year.


  29. Amazing as always!

  30. love the ‘be thankful’ banner! i don’t sew, so I am going to make one with paper! great job, thanks for the inspiration!

    • That is a great idea Jackie!! Will you send me a picture when you make one – I would love to see it and feature it!!


  31. I just love how colorful your home is! The bunting is awesome!

  32. This is the cutest bunting idea, Jen. Love the fact that the kiddos get involved. Your mantel and fireplace area is once again gorgeous! Thanks for sharing :)

  33. I love this bunting and all the ideas!!

  34. That’s a very cute project!

  35. This turned out so cute. I love that you were able to incorporate a countdown and a bunting into one. I love the fabric too.

  36. Great idea! I love all the fabrics you chose too!

  37. Looks great and what a fun way to help celebrate Thanksgiving!

  38. How a-dorable it that!!!!!!! ;}

    m ^..^

  39. This is so wonderful! Truly. I’m doing a Friday Favorites this month and am adding my personal faves that I’ve come across during the week. I’m going to include this. It’s so sweet <3

  40. This is too cute!! I love the colors.

  41. What a clever idea this is! Fun to get the kids involved! ~ Barbara

  42. Just wondering where you purchased the RD fabric… was it an online store? I love your color combinations… were they a fat quarter pack or did you buy them all seperately? thanks!

    • Hi Holly!!

      I found the Riley Blake fabric at a local quilt store. If you go on the Riley Blake website, you can look up where local stores are in your area that carry their fabric.


  43. What a fabulous idea! So cute and perfect for this Thanksgiving season! Thanks for sharing!

  44. Jen that bunting is so cute! One of these days I’m going to make a cute bunting to hang on the console table in my living room! I love that you added fun activities and treats…makes it kind of like an advent calendar for Thanksgiving!

  45. This is really cute! This post has so many great ideas—gotta bookmark it so I can come back!

    I would like to invite you to my weekend linkup. It involves anything related to homemaking: recipes, sewing, decorating, crafts, DIY, a story about what you did today, etc! There’s a button at the top of my sidebar you can grab to help you to remember to come back each week.

    Hope you have a lovely weekend!


  46. I ADORE the bunting! {and all the great grateful activities} Thank you for not overlooking Thanksgiving. It’s my intention to fill up on gratitude and mashed potatoes all month long!

  47. Very cute!

  48. What a wonderful idea. Hope your machine is healthy again!

    • Me too! I’m so sad. I hope I get it back. I have a bunch of projects I want to sew LOL!


  49. What a cute idea, thank you for sharing!


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