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Thanksgiving Craft: Handprint Turkeys

Kids definitely understand food and know that Thanksgiving means lots of it! But do they have any idea why we gather together on this special day? Here is a quick story and thanksgiving craft you can share with your little (turkeys) birds to give them some context to this celebration.

A long time ago in America, before there were big cities with skyscrapers or airplanes flying over our heads, people lived very simply. And the first people to live in America are called Native Americans. They traveled in tribes and hunted, fished and harvested food for their families.

One day, another group of people came to live in America. They came from England and are called the Settlers. The Settlers traveled to America in big ships that sailed across the ocean. When they arrived, they found themselves in a strange land and did not know how to find food.

The Native Americans helped the Settlers find food. All of the men, women and children gathered together and feasted, eating deer, corn and fish. They played games, sang, danced and gave thanks.

The Thanksgiving holiday offers myriad opportunities for fruitful conversations with your birds about topics like tradition, what makes a family, how to show gratitude and, of course, all those things in our lives for which we can be thankful.

Making a handprint turkey is an easy and fun activity to reinforce the idea of giving thanks. Handprint turkeys also make a colorful and poignant decoration for your holiday table. Here’s how to make them.


  • Construction paper (assorted colors)
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Craft sticks (optional)


  • Trace child’s hand on brown construction paper for body. Trace hand on assorted colored sheets for feathers.
  • Cut out handprints yourself or allow child to cut using safety scissors.
  • Use scissors and construction paper to cut out embellishments. Orange paper for legs and beak. Red paper for wattle (or gobble). Black and white paper for eyeball.
  • Tape colored handprints to back of brown handprint.
  • Glue embellishments on brown handprint.
  • Write child’s name on center of brown handprint.
  • Write things for which child is thankful on each handprint feather.
  • If desired, attach wooden craft stick to back of turkey to make puppet or to use in centerpiece.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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