This easy Thanksgiving themed game has been lovingly named ” Naked Turkey” at our house . It is so fast to make but the fun will last for a long time. Kids love searching for things and games like this not only works on concentration it also naturally leads to counting, color recognition and sorting.
- Gather your materials. You will need a clean jar, some orange or brown construction paper, some some, googly eyes , tape, markers and feathers.
- Start by cutting out a turkey torso. Think chubby bowling pin cut in half. Add a gobble, beak and glue on some eyes.
- Tape to the jar. I am taping it because I love these jam jars and plan on using it for something else after we are done with this game. As you can see my daughter was collaging scrap paper while I made it, or so I thought.
- Choose a spot in your house to hide the feathers. I do it in my living room because I can shut the doors and keep the kids out while I hide them. Also in a relatively small space a toddler won’t get overwhelmed. do what works for your kids. Can you see any feathers in this picture?
- Invite your feather finders and play! She loved this and so did my son after he got home from school ( but the light was even worse by then so no pics).
- After she found them all we counted them and sorted them by color, purple first of course!
Since making this on Friday we have played daily with no signs of getting tired of it. My son loves to be the hider and tried to stump my husband and I . I particularly love that the game isn’t too messy to play anytime no matter who is over for Thanksgiving dinner!
I try to include my kids in as much of the brainstorming and decision making about what crafts we make , especially around holidays. When I suggested we make a Thanksgiving craft to give to his grandparents my son immediately suggested a hand print turkey. I knew exactly what I wanted to make and set it up. Both my almost 6 year old and 2 year old enjoyed this craft , I just helped them in different ways to make it appropriate for both of them.
- Gather your materials. You will need a paper grocery bag ( construction paper is fine too) ,pencils, some crayons, glue, googly eyes, scissors , colored paper and adhesive foam dots.
- Star by tracing your child’s hands. I traced my daughters and my son traced his own. Now we traced them 3 times and you can ( just make sure it’s the same hand) or you can just trace one and in step 4 simple layer other paper under to make multiples.
- Now color the hands. You can color them all or just one.
- Cut the hands out.
- While I cut my daughter played with her tea set and tea party place mats and my son grabbed another paper and wrote a Thanksgiving message.
- Now it’s time to glue the eyes on.
- Add the adhesive dots. Layer each hand print on top of the other with the colored one in front.
- Add to your backing of choice.
- Send away to some very proud grandparents!
All the stores are packed with Christmas decor already but I don’t want to skip over Thanksgiving crafts! This Turkey craft for toddlers could also been done with older kids but toddlers get an extra kick out of squeezing and spreading the glitter glue as well as the sticky texture of the contact paper. Make sure while you are crafting that you use the opportunity to use these words. You don’t have to direct the exploration but as they explore add a little narration here and there.
- Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper, contact paper, glitter glue ( ours is from our friends at craftprojectideas.com) , scissors, googly eyes and glue.
- Start by folding a sheet of construction paper in half and cutting out feathers.
- Next cut the middle out of that. You will want to keep it folded to make this easier. You should end up with a frame.
- Cut out a turkey body ( think bowling pin shape) a nose and a gobble ( upside down heart). I used scrap paper for this. If you don’t have red and yellow paper grab some white and color it
- Lay your contact paper on the table sticky side up add the feather frame.
- Time to add the glitter glue. She loved this. What she doesn’t know is that unscrewing the caps, squeezing the glue and even spreading it are all working on her fine motor and eye hand coordination skills. Yay!
- Another skill this works on is color recognition. ” What color are you using?” it’s as simple as that.
- Explore as long as you want. she spent longer than I expected on it and specifically told me I was not to help with the caps, unless they fell on the floor and then it was ” Mama job go get the cap.”
- Next add the body.
- Beak and gobble.
- Cover the whole thing with another sheet of contact paper. Press. Glue the eyes on the outside and let dry.
- Cut out . Pop it on the window for a little extra sparkle Thanksgiving style!
This is not a new craft, handprint turkey crafts in their many variations are everywhere and they should be , they are classic and simply a part of childhood! This one is adapted for toddlers to make them active participants in the creation of the craft. You can often adapt craft projects meant for older children to a toddler’s ability by using different tools, fewer steps ( less detail) and removing small pieces that may be dangerous. Also I find with messy crafts like this using a booster that allows you to belt your child in is useful, not to force them in any way to do the craft ( which should not happen) but rather to keep them in one safe place after they have messy hands. No one is calm if their child is making a beeline for the couch with hands covered in paint. This way we can focus on the activity not the mess.
- Gather your materials. You will need a toilet paper ( or paper towel roll), a paper grocery bag or craft paper, paint, a plastic basting brush and plastic plate, glue , scissors and googly eyes* I used googly eyes because my daughter doesn’t mouth them. If you read my posts from 2008 you will see I never used them when my son was this age, because they would go in his mouth immediately. I still watched her like a hawk and only brought them out when it was time to glue. If your child is like my son , just draw the eyes on like I did with the nose.
- Cut open the bag and tape it to the table. I love doing this for toddler art , it’s a drop cloth and project all at once.
- Start by tracing their hands 3-5 times on the bag. We did 4 and as you may be able to tell that was not easy. If your child is really resistant trace one hand on a cereal box or other scrap paper then cut it out and use that for a template. Don’t upset them before they even get to make a mess !
- Time to paint, add multiple colors on the plate.
- See why I used a plastic plate?
- Also this brush she is using is a plastic basting brush. I chose it because the bristles are sturdy silicone and have never ripped off despite effort to tear it. It’s also big enough for clumbsy toddler fists to paint with.
- Expect them to use their hands , although I should mention some kids at this age start showing a real aversion to getting things on their hands , don’t force them to “relax” , instead offer a wet wash cloth to wipe anything off, and support their play even if it’s not what you expected. Many kids don’t like messy play.
- Cut the roll in half. Draw a nose or rather beak for the turkey.
- Roll the roll in the paint.
- Let dry ( I cleaned up the mess while singing to her and giving the roll a minute to dry ). Add glue to the roll. Help your child place the eyes on the glue.
- Let the hand prints dry and cut out.
- Add glue to the roll and place the cut out hands on the back as turkey feathers. Tip: Use a clothes pin to hold them in place until the glue dries.
- Add this to your holiday mantle.
Stores may already have winter holiday decorations out, but fall is not over with. There is so much more time to enjoy it. Here is a fun way to incorporate learning, crafting, and turkeys. Yep, turkeys.
You will need some construction paper, glue, scissors, and markers. For a reusable (and glue-free) version of this activity use felt instead of construction paper.
Trace circles onto brown construction paper. I used a drinking glass to trace. Make a circle for each number you would like to use in this activity.
Cut out the circles and glue them onto smaller sheets of colored paper. At this point you could have your child cut and glue. I prepared all of mine ahead of time because this activity was done simultaneously with 9 children and only me. Draw little wings, feet, and turkey heads on. At the top write the number for each sheet.
Now cut out lots of feathers in an array of colors.
Now your child can read the number (or count the dots) and set out how many feathers need to be glued onto the turkey.
Let your child start gluing away. With so many small children and just me, I used glue sticks.
Have them count out the feathers to make sure they have the correct amount. Then they can be a silly turkey themselves.
This is a fun activity that helps number recognition, counting, colors, sorting, you can even do the feathers in a pattern, motor skills, and is just plain fun.
Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It