The holidays can be a stressful and hectic time. Even though it seems like everything we are planning and doing is for our family or kids, the actual doing part usually takes away from spending quality time with them.
One of the easiest ways to get everyone involved during the holidays is by crafting together. One tradition that has been passed down through generations is making thankful turkey crafts for children.
You can make it year after year, and it always comes out differently each time. Your kids get older, their arts and crafts abilities change and their ability to express thankfulness grows.
Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving by having a big family get together at home or travel out of town, everyone knows what’s expected during the holiday season – food and fun!
Making a Thankful Turkey as a Thanksgiving Day Holiday Tradition
I’m so excited to share this thankful turkey craft with you today. It’s such a great way for kids to be creative and express their thankfulness.
It’s perfect for adults and kids of all ages! Sometimes in the craziness of life, we forget to appreciate the simple things. This can be especially true for adults, right?
And don’t forget to get the teenagers involved. While they may protest at first, once they get into getting crafts they are sure to enjoy it.
How to use a Thankful Turkey
If you’re looking for an activity to do with your children that celebrates the meaning of the season, you should try this craft. It’s a great way for them to take a step back and think about what they are really thankful for.
It’s also a good learning/teaching experience as you can talk with your child about what is really important in life. Take the time to explain to your children the things you are thankful for and why you put them on your thankful turkey.
Some ideas for what you might be thankful for:
- Your home
The above examples are easy and generic, but you can get your kids’ creative juices flowing by setting an example with some more personal or thoughtful answers like:
- Fuzzy kittens
- Warm clothes out of dryer
- Catching snowflakes on my tongue
- Trying new foods while traveling
- Slobbery dog kisses
- Holding hands and hugs
- Whatever makes you happy!
It’s all about expressing emotions to show your thanks. This is a thought-provoking craft that is sure to give everyone all the feels!
When should we make this craft?
If you’re not too busy in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day, this Thankful Turkey is the perfect activity to do just before or after your meal.
But only if you have time! You want to make sure you won’t be rushed and have a leisurely amount of time to spend on your turkeys.
If your day is generally full, then you will most likely want to do this craft a few days before thanksgiving. This will also let you display your turkeys, and you can even use them as Thanksgiving centerpieces on the table as part of your decor.
This will also give you another opportunity to talk with your family about what everyone wrote on their turkeys during Thanksgiving dinner.
While older children may be more closed off during other times of the year, this may help them discuss what they really value in their lives.
This is such a fun craft that everyone should get involved in! It will make for some happy memories, and probably a few laughs too.
What kind of glue is best for paper crafts?
A glue stick works best for this craft as it is easy to use and dries fast. We like the disappearing purple glue sticks for younger children.
If you have Elmer’s glue (plain white school glue) on hand, that will work too! Just be careful not to move the turkey feathers around too much, so the glue has time to set.
What kind of paper works best for Thankful Turkey crafts?
If you have card stock on hand, that will work the best.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective option, then printer paper will also do just fine! If you find printer paper is too thin, you could glue two pieces together.
Paper plates can also be used if you don’t have any card stock on hand as they are durable and hold up well.
What do I need to make a Thankful Turkey?
You only need construction paper, scissors, and glue to make these.
It is super easy easy to make just by following our How to Make a Thankful Turkey video or you can follow on step by step at the bottom of this post.
What if I don’t have all the supplies listed?
If you’re missing some supplies, use whatever you have on hand.
No glue? Tape, or even a stapler is fine.
Out of card stock? You can use a box, paper plate, plain paper, whatever you have, and cut the feathers out and color them.
Our video shows an option if you don’t have colored construction paper (we painted some white paper brown for the main body of the turkey).
Of course you can use brown construction paper here or an empty toilet paper roll!
You could also dress up your paper feathers (in addition to, or instead of coloring them) by adding some real feathers or leaves gathered from outside.
The important thing is just making the thankful turkey craft together as a family, not that it looks perfect!
Thankful Turkey Craft Video Tutorial
If you prefer a visual step-by-step, you can watch our How to Make a Thankful Turkey video.
Thankful Turkey Craft Written Tutorial
Making a Thankful Turkey craft with our kids is one of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions.
It’s an easy craft that they love doing every year and it helps them think about what they are thankful for during this season of family togetherness and giving.
- Colored construction paper
- Pen or marker
MAKE THE FEATHERS
Fold a 2.5”x5” piece of colored paper in half, lengthwise.
To make a feather shape, hold the folded side in your left hand and use your right hand to cut a curve. Starting at the middle of the bottom short edge and end at the fold of the top edge. (refer to the photo below)
Open and you have a feather shape!
Make as many feathers as you like in different colors. We recommend a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 11 feathers.
Now cut a circle about 6” in diameter to use as the feather base. To make this easy, you flip aa bowl upside down onto your paper and trace the circle.
Glue the flat edges of your feathers around the outer edge of the circle. Be sure to leave a gap at the bottom so your turkey will be able to stand up.
Now write what you are thankful for on each feather and then set this aside to dry.
MAKE THE BODY
Roll a piece of paper measuring 5“x5” into a tube and glue or tape it together.
We used a firmer white card stock paper and then painted it brown for sturdiness. Of course, you could simply use brown construction paper or an empty toilet paper roll too!
Next, glue or draw on eyes. You can just use a Sharpee marker or regular pen. Googly eyes would be really cute too!
Now grab a scarp piece of red paper to cut a long drop shaped snood. Ours was about 2″ in length, but you can make yours however you like! Make it shorter, rounder, crooked, you name it!
Make a small triangle beak from yellow paper and glue it on top of the snood. (or is it a wattle since it’s hanging off of his neck?). Whatever it is, set it aside now.
MAKE THE HAT
Take a piece of black paper that measures 5” long by 2” wide and mark a line with a pencil about 1cm in from the long edge of one side.
Using a small amount of glue on one short edge, roll this into a tube.
Now grab a piece of black scrap paper. Ours was a 2″x2″ square, but your just needs to be anything that is slightly larger than the diameter of your tube.
Glue the edge of the tube (without the pencil line close to it) onto the black piece of paper and use scissors to trim off any excess. This creates the top of the hat.
Now use the scissors to make small snips all around the free edge of the tube, using the pencil line mark as a guide of where to stop your snips. Bend the fringe pieces out towards the outside of the hat.
Use a compass to create a 1/2” wide ring with the hole in the center being just large enough to fit over the tube.
*If you don’t have a compass, you can just turn the hat upside down and trace the circle onto black paper. This will be your inner/hole circle. Make another circle about 1/2” larger to create your hat brim ring.
Put some glue on top of the fringe and slide the brim ring over the top. Gently press down glue it all together.
Your turkey hat is now complete!
ASSEMBLE YOUR THANKFUL TURKEY
Place glue along the top of your turkey body tube and secure the hat in place. We used a hot glue gun for this step.
Glue the turkey body with completed hat onto the feather base. You can adjust how high or low you attach the feather base to make sure he stands up properly without them interfering.
You’re all done – enjoy your new Thanksgiving dinner centerpiece and family conversation starter!
While Your Thankful Turkey May Seem Like Just A Cute Kids Craft, It Is So Much More
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are grateful for. It’s also an excellent opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends.
If you haven’t yet, try this thankful turkey craft together as a family or gather your group of close friends and create one in advance so that when Thanksgiving day arrives, everyone can share!
This project helps children realize all they have without being overbearing–and it brings families closer together while having meaningful conversations about thankfulness. What will you be writing on yours?
Here are some more Thanksgiving crafts we think you’ll like!
- Cute Thanksgiving Felt Turkey Hand Sewing Craft for Kids
- 12 Really Awesome DIY Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids
- Kids DIY Thanksgiving Turkey Muffins
Our Thankful Turkey is a fun Thanksgiving turkey craft idea that teaches kids about gratitude while having fun.
- Colored Construction Paper
- Googly Eyes (optional)
- Pen or marker
- Compass (optional)
- Fold a 2.5”x5” piece of colored paper in half, lengthwise.
- Cut a curve starting from the middle of one short edge and ending at the fold of the opposite edge. Open and you have a feather shape!
- Make as many feathers as you like in different colors. You should be able to nicely fit about 11 feathers total.
- Cut a circle about 6” in diameter to use as the feather base.
- Glue the flat edges of your feathers around the outer edge of the circle. Be sure to leave a gap at the bottom.
- Write what you are thankful for on each feather and then set aside.
- Roll a piece of paper measuring 5“x5” into a tube and glue or tape together. We used white card stock paper and then painted it brown for sturdiness. But you could simply use brown construction paper or an empty toilet paper roll too!
- Glue or draw on eyes. (Googly eyes would be really cute too!)
- Cut and glue on a long drop shaped snood (wattle?) from red paper (about 2” in length) and a small triangle beak from yellow paper.
- Set aside.
- Take a piece of black paper 5” long by 2” wide and mark a line with a pencil about 1cm in from the edge of one long side.
- Place a small amount of glue on one short side and bend the other end over to form a tube.
- Glue your tube onto a black piece of paper at least 2”x2”. Be sure to glue down the side that doesn’t have the pencil line.
- Use scissors to trim excess off. This makes the top of the hat.
- Now use scissors to make small snips all around the free side of the tube. Use the pencil line as a guide of where to stop.
- Bend the fringe towards the outside of the hat.
- Use a compass to create a 1/2” wide ring with the hole in the center to be just large enough to fit over your hat tube.
- *If you don’t have a compass, you can just turn the hat upside down and trace the circle onto black paper. This will be your inner/hole circle. Make another circle about 1/2” larger to create your hat brim ring.
- Place some glue on your fringe and slide the ring over the top, gently pressing everything together to secure.
- Place glue along the top of your turkey body tube and secure hat in place.
- Glue the turkey body with completed hat onto the feather base. You can adjust how high or low you attach the feather base to make sure he stands up properly without them interfering.
- You’re all done - enjoy your new Thanksgiving dinner centerpiece and family conversation starter!
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