Paint Chip Turkeys: Thanksgiving Craft for Preschoolers

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 10:08pm -- Jessica Baudin-...

With Canadian Thanksgiving just around the corner we are exploring the themes and symbols of this harvest celebration. We have been reading storybooks about Thanksgiving and learning about Turkeys.  To decorate our fireplace mantle Malia (age 3) and I made this simple Turkey craft using paper towel rolls and paint chips.

What you need:

  • Paper towel roll cut in half (this will make two turkeys)
  • A variety of paint chips samples in fall colors (we picked ours up at the a local hardware store)
  • Brown paint (or you can mix your own like we did using red, yellow, and blue paint)
  • Paint brush
  • Children’s scissors
  • White Glue
  • Goggley eyes
  • Yellow foam or construction paper

Making your Turkey:

Paint your paper towel roll brown. Set aside to dry.

Cut paint chips into long strips. I like the Bear brand paint chips as they have a white line that separates each color.  This provides a clear cutting guide for little ones working on scissor skills.

Glue your paint strips together in a fan shape. You may need to model this a few times for your little one. At the bottom of your first strip squeeze on a dot of glue. Take a second strip and press the bottom on top of the glue dot. Next gently fan out the second paint chip. Repeat this process 6-8 times.

Once your paper towel roll is dry glue on goggly eyes.

Cut out a triangle beak from your yellow construction paper or foam. Little ones may find cutting out a triangle too difficult. I showed Malia how she could make a triangle with one cut by cutting off the corner of our square foam piece. Glue this beak onto the paper towel roll.

Finally, glue your paint chip fan on the back of the Turkey for a tail.

Activity Skill Development:

  • Color mixing: I never buy brown paint because it is so easy to make!  Malia and I discussed how we could make brown paint using other colors. Malia has had enough painting experience to realize that we get brown when we mix all the primary colors together. We started with red and yellow to make orange and then slowly added small amounts of blue to create the shade of brown we wanted
  • Scissor Skills: Learning how to use scissors is very empowering for little ones. It provides them with so many ways to create, explore shapes and develops fine motor control . However, it can be a challenging skill to develop. Young children have more success developing scissor skills if they start with straight lines and have a clear guide to follow, like the white lines on the paint chips.
  • Spatial Relationships: During this activity I used a lot of vocabulary that described spatial relationships. “Put the glue at the bottom of the paper strip.” “ Put the paper on top of the glue” “ The paper fan goes on the back of the turkey.” Young children are developing their understanding of spatial relationships between 18months-4 years. This activity provides a fun, hands on way to develop an understanding of spatial relationships.