You know, stuff like having them weave brown and orange strips of paper through a yellow paper cut to look like an ear of corn. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that craft, and I may even do it someday, but not with the expectation that it will keep my kids occupied independently for more than 2 seconds. Only TV or shackling them to the wall in the basement could do that.
While I'm at it, here are 3 other great fall crafts that I shouldn't depend on to be my babysitter while I'm mashing potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner.
1. Making Hand-Shaped Turkeys
Sure it sounds simple: have them decorate a tracing of their hand like a turkey and cut it out. No prep, no mess. What could be better?
Well, depending on which of my children you're talking about, they would either "finish" decorating it in 3.5 seconds and run away leaving 1,254 markers on the table for me to clean up, or get so into the craft that when I check on them 15 minutes later I'll find them cropdusting the floor with glitter. Also for me to clean up.
The toddler will see his siblings and want to participate, which for a toddler means getting rid of the middleman (the handprint) and coloring directly on the table, and the preschooler will refuse to attempt cutting out the complicated shape on her own (or attempt it and then burst into tears because she accidentally cut off the turkey's head.)
2. Coloring Placemats
In this classic, I'd draw a blank place setting (cup, silverware, and plate) on a big piece of paper for the kids to fill in with our Thanksgiving dinner. They'll fill up the page with their favorite foods such as mac and cheese, Goldfish, and sugar cereal, none of which are actually on the menu for Thanksgiving dinner.
It wouldn't be long before the first child would wander into the kitchen (A) claiming to be hungry, or (B) asking if I can serve Kraft mac & cheese for Thanksgiving dinner instead. Oh, and telling me that they think green beans, stuffing, or whatever else we're having is gross.
3. Creating Pilgrim Centerpieces out of Toilet Paper Rolls
Ah, the ubiquitous toilet paper roll craft. Ideally, the kids would sit still and happily color little pilgrims and Indian figures, cut them out, and glue them to toilet paper rolls to make cute little cylindrical centerpieces for the table.
Good idea, except I don't think it would take very long. Also, I'd then have used toilet paper rolls sitting in the middle of the table while my guests and I try to enjoy our Thanksgiving meal. Actually, multiple meals until January since if I throw away anything my kids make I might as well be throwing one of their appendages in the garbage for all the fuss they make about it.
I guess what I'm saying is, maybe crafts aren't the best way to keep my kids occupied while Phillip and I are busy cooking and washing dishes in the kitchen. Isn't that why iPads were invented?