This fun turkey game mat could be used during a Thanksgiving or other holiday celebration, as a center, or as a large group activity. The turkey is fun to make and fun to use.
Tossing a beanbag and controlling its movement helps develop gross motor skills. As kids develop more control and coordination of their bodies, they feel more confident as well as develop and strengthen their muscles physically. Developing all these muscles helps a child gain balance and control over all of his body. Adding colors, numerals, or letters can help add movement to learning other kinds of information.
Constructing the Turkey
- One brown paper grocery bag (or brown craft paper)
- Various colors of construction paper for the turkey’s feathers
- Orange construction paper for the beak and feet
- White and black construction paper for the turkey’s eyes
- Project board (The kind used for science fairs.)
Use the brown paper bag to make the turkey’s head, body, and thighs. I cut the circle for the tummy of the turkey out of the front section of the bag. A keyhole shape for its head was cut out of the back of the bag. The two semicircles for its thighs were cut out of one of the side panels. (If locating a paper bag is difficult, use brown craft paper or brown wrapping paper.)
Cut large feathers from the construction paper. I cut two feathers of each color of paper.
The turkey’s facial features and legs were cut out construction paper, too. The goal was to make the turkey fun and a little quirky.
Glue all of the turkey’s body together. The feathers were not attached so I could change the feathers. I wanted to be able to add feathers with numbers or letters or add different feathers as I chose.
Lay the project board on the floor. Lay the turkey body on the board. Slide feathers into place along the body. Now you are ready to play!
Why did we put the project board under the turkey? The turkey is made of paper that might tear or get dirty easily. It was really too big to laminate. The project board kept the bottom of the turkey clean. It provided a solid surface for the beanbag to land. It also made it easy to move.
Turkey Toss Game
We played a game we called “Call It and Land on It.” My son and I took turns stating which section of the turkey we planned for a beanbag to land on. Then we used some of our eye-hand coordination and gross motor skills to toss it to that section.
It was tricky, even with using a large beanbag. Sometimes the beanbag seemed to hook or curve when it was thrown. Sometimes too much power was used to toss the beanbag. We found that a light toss and aiming for the turkey’s tummy was the most successful.
More Games Children Can Play
Children can select a positional word they want to illustrate with the beanbag. They could toss the beanbag to land over, under, beside, or on top of the turkey. It could land near or far from the turkey.
Name the Feather
If you add letters or numbers to your feathers, your children can tell what is displayed on the feather they land on. Or you could add shapes, names, or other specific items.
I hope your children have as much fun with the turkey mat you make as a Thanksgiving activity as we did with ours!
BIO: Deirdre is the author of JDaniel4’s Mom where she shares other learning activities, printables, crafts, and food creations. She loves growing and learning beside her son. You can find her on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.