Making Turkeys

One of my favorite Thanksgiving activities is making turkeys. I love all of the handprint turkeys and crafts like that, but I am really big on letting children create artwork that is their own. I feel that if I am the one who is painting their hands, or even directing them about how to do it, it isn’t really genuinely theirs. I’ve been a stickler for stuff like that for a couple of years now.

Today we made our own turkeys. We made some brown salt dough and I let the children form their own turkey bodies with it. Then I let them pick out some feathers to put on their turkey bodies.

They really enjoyed this new way to combine the materials, and I am hoping to get them thinking about how to combine other materials. We have been talking about houses a lot lately, especially with all of the different types of Native American houses to study. I am hoping that we can use dough and sticks to make houses sometime this week or next. We may even do a “Three Little Pigs” house study.

One girl, when she got done putting her feathers into her dough, exclaimed, “I made a Phoenix!” I was surprised to hear this word from one of the students, but apparently there is a Phoenix on Sophia the First. I thought it was great how she connected the activity to something she was familiar with, because a lot of the children weren’t familiar with what a turkey looks like. I pulled up a picture and showed them, and that helped a little bit. Not all of the children have finished making their turkeys yet, so I can’t wait to see what other directions this activity goes. Maybe it is time for a bird study, too!

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