Donna’s Day: Creative Family Fun Woven Placemats Hold Thanksgiving Memories


I’m thankful for Thanksgiving. It’s a time to gather with friends and relatives around a table, savor one another’s favorite dishes, anticipate pies with dollops of whipped cream and simply be grateful for what we have. The predinner outdoor fun, like a rousing game of family football, the food and the stories add up to times to remember, especially for kids.

Holiday memories often weave in and out of our lives like a warm tapestry enfolding each member of the family. At Thanksgiving, or during any of the winter celebrations, it’s worth a little extra effort to create special times for sharing with one another.

Here’s an easy way for your school-age children to start a tradition and set their mark on Thanksgiving Day by weaving memory placemats. The colorful addition to the table setting only requires the basics: paper, scissors and glue. A ruler and pencil are helpful, too.

Use a large sheet of colored construction paper for the placemat. Fold in half widthwise. Along the fold, use a ruler and pencil to mark four to six evenly spaced dots. Measure and mark corresponding dots along the opposite edge. Cut through both layers of the placemat, beginning at the fold and ending within 1 inch of the opposite edge. Be creative by varying the straight cuts with zigzags or a wavy design.

Now cut construction paper in contrasting colors in nine or 10 12-by-1-inch strips for weaving in and out of the cuts. You might want to make some strips a little wider or narrower.

Weave the placemat by feeding one of the strips through the slits. Show your kids how to slip the strips over, then under. When the first row is done, slide the strip to the edge of the slits, and glue the ends to the back of the placemat. Repeat with remaining strips until completed.

As your children become engrossed in the activity, you may wish to join them, making your own placemats. The rhythms of weaving are repetitive and satisfying — back and forth with bright, brighter and brightest patterns as you slip the strips over, then under.

Make placemats for all settings at your table. For added touches, decorate with cutouts of construction paper in contrasting colors or add stickers, small pictures and photos representing memories of past Thanksgivings. Personalize a placemat by writing little notes to guests.

When family and friends settle around the holiday table, be ready to capture the moment when your child exclaims, “Aunt Jane, I wove a Thanksgiving Day placemat just for you!”

Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit and link to the

NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”

©2018 Donna Erickson
Distributed by King Features Synd.

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