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October 30, 2012

Thankful Turkey - Teaching Children Gratitude

Turkey Craft for Kids

Thanksgiving tends to get lost between the fun of dressing up for Halloween and the merriment of Christmas.  It's important to me that my children remember to be thankful.  I don't want the holidays to be all about getting candy and presents.  (Christmas is about much more than getting presents of course.)  November is the perfect time of year to establish good habits for the whole year.  I am going to do everything I can to put the focus on gratitude.

JZ (5) and J-Bug (3) had so much fun with our Milk Jug Monsters that I decided we could make Milk Jug Turkeys!

Before painting I rinsed and air dried the milk jugs.  Rollers work best on milk jugs to get a nice even coat.  Each boy chose the color he wanted his own turkey to be.  Crayola paint sticks best and doesn't flake.


We left the paint to dry overnight then made our turkey faces the next day. 

 I free-handed the turkey heads.  We attached googly eyes and attached foam stickers for the beaks.

We used red craft tape for the snood.

Then we attached the turkey heads to the front of the milk jugs.

I cut feathers from a variety of colors using my Cricut.  If I didn't have a Cricut I would have free-handed the feathers.

For now our turkeys look like this.

Starting tomorrow we will add a feather each day.  On each feather we will each choose something we are thankful for and write it down.

I adhered a few feathers to give a visual of what our turkeys will look like as the month progresses  Until we official attach the feathers they will be stored in the back of each turkey where I cut an opening.

I certainly don't expect that one little activity is going to magically turn my sons into grateful little boys.  What I do hope to establish is the habit of intentionally focusing on what we have been given.


  1. I LOVE your thankful turkeys, Allison ... they look great and are perfect for a gratitude activity! I featured your photo and post in my November Family Gratitude Activities at http://raisingfigureskaters.com/2012/10/31/november-family-gratitude-activities/

  2. What a neat craft and activity for teaching gratitude! I think that with little kids discussing things they are grateful for goes a long way. Since the turkeys are milk jugs, it would also be cool to maybe put a dollar in the jug every day as you put the feather on and then at the end of the month donate the money to charity or buy a toy for a child in need.

  3. Thanks very creative. I think we're going to make a thanksgiving tree with hand prints and glue one on a day with something we're thankful for.

  4. I love this idea. Thank you for sharing. My 3 yo. son and I made this today. I'm wondering what kind of adhesive are you using to get the feathers to stick? Regular glue, hot glue gun, tape?

    1. I used tape. I'm not 100% certain if they will hold all month. We'll see!

  5. That is so fun. A great lesson! Thanks for linking up to tip-toe thru tuesday.

  6. too cute!! and, thanks for taking the time to comment on my emotional post today! i appreciate your kind words!


  7. What a cute idea! We did a thankful tree last year, but I want to do something different this year. I love this idea!

  8. This is adorable. I love the storage area!

  9. Those turkeys are wonderful! And great to teach children about gratitude!

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  10. What an great way to recycle a milk jug and teach about gratitude at the same time. I love your turkeys and especially that you thought to cut in a space to store the feathers. So smart!

  11. Cute, cute, cute! I think this is such a nice way to help teach gratitude.

  12. I love these turkeys! What a great idea. Thank you for sharing with the Afterschool Linkup!

  13. Those are so fun! Great activity. I bet the kids are eager to think of things that they can be grateful for. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Great idea! Love what you said about focusing on what we have been given! Such an important gift to give our kids!

    Alisha @ Your Kids Table

  15. So sweet! I'll be linking to it in tomorrow's Kids Co-Op post. Thanks for sharing it. :)

  16. I LOVE your thankful turkeys - they are super duper cute!! And what a fun way to teach them about gratitude!

    I featured this at TGIF this week here: http://livinglifeintentionally.blogspot.com/2012/11/tgif-linky-party-552-weeks-long.html

    Thanks for sharing your creativity and linking up at TGIF!! Have a great weekend,
    Beth =-)

  17. Very cute! I actually just painted a milk jug to make a turkey for a game! The thankfulness idea is very cute though!


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