Fine motor turkeys in preschool

Today was our Thanksgiving feast and I needed a few simple activities the children could do while we waited for the food to finish cooking. So here are a few ideas I threw together….

I call these little guys fine motor turkey toppers.  I actually got this idea from Reading Confetti – only she made an edible snack that is too cute….

For the fine motor turkey toppers, you simply cover the outside of a paper cup with a turkey then poke holes in the bottom of the cup.  I set out a selection of feathers and pipe cleaners for the children to poke through the holes…

The children simply add feathers to the top of the turkey by poking the feathers or pipe cleaners through the holes in the cup.  This could be used to make a cute table center piece as well but I just needed a game.

This idea was simple to throw together for a last minute Fine motor turkey activity and between the two materials, pipe cleaners and  feathers, there was some nice textures added to the turkeys as well!

Turkey Punch

For this second fine motor activity, I prepared a set of paper plate turkeys.  The idea here was not for the children to make and take a turkey but to instead explore a variety of tools in the classroom…

I set out hole punchers, scissors, crayons, and yarn for the children to explore. I invited the children to use the tools any way they would like on the paper plate turkeys. They could punch holes, cut the feathers, snip the feathers, thread yarn, weave yarn and so on….

The children really struggled using these hole punchers (they were brand new to our class) but as they kept coming back to the table, several of the children got quite proficient at using the hole punchers. It had to do more with strength than it did fine motor control…

The yarn was a big hit with the younger children.  Some liked threading in the holes but most of them just liked wrapping the turkey all up…

Apple Turkeys

And finally, we used part of our morning to create apple turkeys. I found this idea from I (heart) Crafty Things.   These were going to be for our centerpieces on our table for the Thanksgiving feast but I forgot to have the children set them out once we got them finished.  It was a crazy busy morning!

The apple turkeys were a huge success with the children.  They loved poking the toothpicks into the apples and adding on the gum drops and marshmallows.  Our apple turkeys ended up looking not so much like turkeys but the process definitely led to some quality fine motor play….


Not sure what you would call these creations but they each turned out quite unique…

These were a few of our last minute fine motor turkey activities…..

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By |2011-11-22T18:00:43+00:00November 22nd, 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. Jill November 23, 2011 at 12:35 am - Reply

    you always have such wonderful ideas! I am going to have to do these but with a Christmas theme throughout the month! Thanks for the GREAT ideas!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 23, 2011 at 10:26 am - Reply

      I always like adapting ideas to different holidays as well:)

  2. Kristina November 23, 2011 at 12:45 am - Reply

    Lots of fabulous ideas. My favorite is the cup fine motor turkeys. That is such a great activity that isn’t hard to set up… and yet I can picture kids having fun doing that for awhile! I am pinning this for next year. Thank you!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 23, 2011 at 10:25 am - Reply

      They are very easy to throw together:) Great for last minute fillers.

  3. Lisa November 24, 2011 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Such wonderful ideas you got there. You got a creative mind. I’m sure the kids loved this kind of projects.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 24, 2011 at 10:20 am - Reply

      Thank you Lisa – It is always fun to come up with new ideas:)

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