Working on our Thanksgiving costumes in preschool

We are continuing to work on our Thanksgiving costumes in preschool.  We completed our pasta necklaces from the colored pasta we made the other day…

And when we weren’t threading the pasta onto our twine, then we had fun just playing with our pasta beads…

We also made vests for our Thanksgiving feast…

To make our vests, the children were each given two sheets of manilla paper that was stapled at the top for shoulders. Then a neck hole was cut in the center. Next the children used scissors to fringe the ends of the paper (the bottom of their vests). Some of the children fringed their vests before painting and others still have to fringe theirs after the paint dries…

To add color to our vests, the children used a variety of tools. Some of the vests were painted with blocks dipped in different colors of paints.  Some of the children tried to make symbols or patterns on their vests like we talked about in circle time…

Other children painted with brushes or used bottles of paint to squeeze lines and circles on the paper. We worked on vests on two different days so the techniques continued to change…

Although the painting techniques changed, the process stayed about the same. Remember that the children have two sheets of paper stapled together and they are only painting on one of those pieces of paper. Once the painting was complete, they folded the non-painted paper over on the painted paper and rubbed them together…

Then they opened the paper back up to see the finished design on both the front and the back of their vests…

Here are a few of the vests we have completed so far…

We haven’t quite finished them all but we should be good to go in plenty of time for our Thanksgiving feast!


  1. says

    This post feels nostalgic for me. I can remember making things like this in school and loving this time of year so much. I think my kids are going to do something similar in school, if not, I’ll have to make sure we do at home!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      We are enjoying preparing for our Feast and I think they will have positive memories of their time together too!

  2. Jill Champagne says

    I have really enjoyed your ideas, until now. I am part Native American and I cannot begin to tell you how offended I am to see young children making sterotypical Thanksgiving costumes representing Native Americans. This is not the time to be teaching children about Native Americans. What followed the feast was a mass slaughter. What we should be focusing on is what children today can be thankful for rather than discussing bits and peices of history that seem “cute” when the topic is actually so complex they could not possibly, nor should they, understand it.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      Hi Jill,
      I am so sorry to have offended you or anyone with this post – it is not my intention to teach the children about any given culture as much as to let them enjoy the process of preparing for our own version of a Thanksgiving feast. Unfortunately, this post only shares one aspect of our classroom and what we have been focusing on. We have not been focusing on Native American history and culture although we have touched on the story of how the Pilgrims and the Native Americans ate together and worked together to teach each other how to build houses, hunt, and grow food. But our primary focus has been on being thankful.

      I Am Thankful Graph

      This post really was meant to show the painting process we explored while making our vests. The children were more interested in painting their lines and making their vests and for them it was really all about having fun with this painting process.. I have been talking with another girl who is a Native American on Facebook and she has been teaching me authentic Native American games and dances we can play in our classroom. I will try to post more of those types of activities as we try them in our classroom and more on how we have been focusing on being Thankful. Thank you for your concern as I am always learning from others as I write this blog and try to make good choices for my students and for my readers.


  3. Robert Strobel says

    You might also consider paper mache’, I used to love building masks out of it. You are doing a great job.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      I will have to consider paper mache. I haven’t done much with that medium this year!

  4. Cindy S. says

    Hi Deborah!

    I wanted to say “Thank You!” for your willingness to share your ideas with other preschool teachers! I am trying to put together an American Indian vest for my 3 year old class before Thursday (gulp!) and this seems like the perfect one!

    I do have a quick question….Did you use 2 of the large size manilla construction paper for the 2 pieces (as I think you did) or did you cut longer pieces from a manilla colored roll?

    Thank you once again,

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      We had fun making them and they are all hanging up ready to wear to our Thanksgiving feast:)