Turkey Fun in Early Childhood

Categories: Fall | Resources

There’s nothing more comforting (in my eyes at this point) in the midst of a pandemic than the thought of comforting Thanksgiving food.  If you’re looking for ways to incorporate some turkey and Thanksgiving fun into your classroom or virtual session, then this post is for you! Please note that the pictures in this post are pre-pandemic from last year.  Modifications will be noted!

Adapted Turkey Books by Sarah


If you know me as a special educator, you know that I am obsessed with all of Sarah’s adapted books.  My kiddos LOVE the Thanksgiving ones and so do I.  I like to prep for turkeys and Thanksgiving during our morning circle time with some fun online dance songs like “Five Little Turkeys” and a turkey dance.  During work with teacher I read the adapted book and let the kids take turns matching the pieces.  Now that the adapted books are digital (I mean GENIUS), I might switch it up and read the story during circle time and have the kids take turns coming up to the interactive board to match the pieces.  You can find the digital versions here.  The repetitive language of the books is so helpful when working on fill ins.  I love the visual discrimination of the pieces and the matching aspect.  You can always reduce the field of choices by pulling down 2-3 pieces at a time.  Or you can even make it errorless by pulling down the correct choice and showing your student or child how to match it (they have to learn the skill first).  Click here for the original printable versions. 

Tissue Turkeys and Cookies

Following the adapted book, I love having the kiddos make these tissue paper turkeys.  You can make individual bags of tissue paper if you don’t want to risk them touching all of the pieces.  I like using a color fringe board and stretching the language even farther by having them request the colors and materials they want. If I had older kiddos (that were practicing with scissors) I would have them cut out pre traced pieces and the paper plate in half.  I love how differently they all turn out!  Turkey cookies are also a super fun and easy activity for either snack time or a different day.  All you need are some sugar cookies (Wal-Mart store bought are always inexpensive and easy), icing tubes and candy corns.  You can make it as structured as you want by creating a quick an easy work system with the steps or a visual board with the finished product and letting them decorate as they like! 

Turkey Headbands

These turkey headbands are super fun and take about two days of work with teacher time with three-year olds.  I learned my lesson quickly about expecting too much in one short work period with such young learners.  On the first day we decorate the feathers and the following day we glue on the beak, color the eyes and staple everything together.  I love using Kwik tempera paint sticks and bingo daubers to decorate the feathers.  I have found that three-year olds do not last too long only coloring so having alternate materials was so helpful.  This specific activity is by Made for Me Literacy however, you can also make your own turkey feather template and copy on card-stock (so much easier for decorating).

I hope you have fun celebrating with your class whether you’re in person or virtual!  For premade Thanksgiving party schedules click hereHappy Thanksgiving!

Gina Russell, B.S , M.Ed
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