Handprint turkeys in preschool

I just couldn’t resist the idea of making handprint turkeys in my class. We haven’t spent much time making handprint art so the kids thought this was really cool…

As I painted each child’s hand, I would explain to them the purpose for each color of paint: “And this is the turkey body and neck” (above photo) “and this is the blue turkey feather and the orange turkey feather” (photo below)….

“And this is the yellow and red turkey feather”…

“Now let’s make one turkey handprint just above your poem!”  I know – a very directed and controlled process – right down to where to place the handprint.  I even asked the children to “not wiggle your fingers around so the paint doesn’t mix.” …

BUT once that handprint was on the poem paper then the children were given the green light to handprint away on a second sheet of paper…

And we added paint to both hands and fingers so the children could paint with two turkey hands and fingers…

And some children decided they would like to try and paint their own turkey hands…

In the end, I got a set of beautiful turkey handprint poems that I want to send home to parents and the children had fun making lots of turkey handprints (we still have to add the feet:)…

I saved their version of turkey handprints to use as our placemats for our Thanksgiving feast…


See the video below of my students making their handprints. If you are viewing this by email, you may need to come to the blog to view the video:)

Our class in action:


Available on Amazon

Linking up with Feels Like Home and No Time for Flashcards and JDaniel4’s Mom today!

Links to Grow on…

Thanksgiving Turkey Poem can be found here!

Handprint Turkey Cards from My Creative Family

By |2011-11-18T09:20:58+00:00November 18th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Sandy November 18, 2011 at 10:00 am

    My all time favorite Thanksgiving craft! 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

      It is super cute isn’t it Sandy:)

  2. Ms. Dawn, The Singing Nurse November 18, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    This is a great turkey craft, my SMA1 patient will love feeling the cool paint and watching the whole process. Children with disabilities enjoy crafts just as much as able bodied children even with the hand over hand procedure used. Sometimes he does things with his feet as they are in slings because he does have some movement with sling suspension help. My little guy loves watching the paint drip on the plate as you pour out the colors, all eyes watching very intently. Thanks for the idea…Ms. Dawn

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 18, 2011 at 11:06 pm

      Hi Dawn,
      It is so good to hear from you. You bring such an interesting perspective to teaching young children. Shows that the exploration of art in all fields is an important part of growing, healing, and childhood!

  3. Susie November 19, 2011 at 8:20 am

    We do this also but love the addition of a second sheet of paper for them to go at it! I always feel guilty telling them that I need to put their hand down…
    They also add legs and a face if they want after it has dried and we add a dictation and have them tell us what they are doing for Thanksgiving. If they need prompts, we ask, “What will you have for dinner? Who is going to cook? and one that surely elicits laughs at home, Who is going to wash the dishes? Then we laminate them and use as placemats for our feast.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 20, 2011 at 12:43 am

      I completely forgot to have them add legs and feet so I am going to let them do this when they come back to school next week!! You really do alot of things I never would have thought of with this!

  4. Sandy R. November 19, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I have always enjoyed doing this activity with my preschoolers. I have to mention, though, how much I like how the second little person in your video waited patiently for his turn! What great self control…

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 20, 2011 at 12:41 am

      Wasn’t he a trooper? I agree – he had great self control – I got a kick out of him holding his hands out the whole time!

  5. laura November 19, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I do this every year, exactly as you described with the same poem! The kids enjoy it and the parents LOVE it! I think it’s OK to throw in a little “teacher directed” art now and then…especially something like this that is such a part of them!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 20, 2011 at 12:41 am

      It is such a wonderful keepsake for parents. I am looking forward to sending them home but really want to keep them on my wall too:)

  6. Jill November 19, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    We will be doing our turkey handprints this coming week! I always look forward to doing the handprint activity! Its such a fun thing for parents and of course kids just love getting messy!!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 20, 2011 at 12:40 am

      Yes they do!!

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