Talkin’ Turkey – A Tactile Craft

I love fall leaves.  I love the bright colors, and I’m always looking for things to do with them.  This year, it occurred to me that those bright pressed leaves would make a perfect fall craft as turkey tailfeathers.

First, I took Peanut and Sprout for a walk around the block.  Each kiddo had a plastic bag to put leaves in.  I explained that we were looking for bright colors and for leaves that didn’t crinkle when we stepped on them.  (If a leaf crinkles, it’s probably too dry already to be pressed successfully.)  We walked for a little while, and my very-excited 5 and 3-year-olds were delighted to pick up leaves of all sorts of shapes and sizes–and my five-year-old loved stomping on them for his “crinkle test.”

When we got home for our walk, I carefully put their leaves in between the pages of my cookbooks.  You want heavy books with flat pages for this; phone books are an excellent choice.  I perched Peanut’s brailler on top for some extra weight to press the leaves.

Traced turkey torsos, pre-cutting.

Traced turkey torsos, pre-cutting.

On Friday, I figured out how to make our turkeys.  First, I traced turkey bodies on a file folder and carefully cut them out.  You could use construction paper or foam for this step if you prefer.

I used the back of the folder for the back of my turkey cards.  I cut the back in fourths, one for each turkey.  (These became our Thanksgiving invitations, so I wrote out the invitation information on one side.  If you want to use the turkeys as cards, definitely write on the backs before you construct the turkeys.)

Sprout colors turkey torsos.

Sprout colors turkey torsos.

Next, I had Peanut and Sprout color our turkey torsos brown using crayons.  I had them put the manila torsos on top of white paper so they were easier to see and feel.  On a side note, my legally-blind child was much better at this step than my fully-sighted child.

Our bag of leaves and the beginning of one of our cards.

Our bag of leaves and the beginning of one of our cards.

After our torsos were colored, I covered the back of each of the manila squares with glue and showed Peanut and Sprout how to glue the leaves to the square.  They carefully used glue sticks to layer the leaves on top of one another.

imageOnce we had our tails finished, I helped them glue or turkey torsos to our turkey tails.

We then switched from using glue stick glue to thicker, tackier glue:  wood glue.  I helped the kids glue a candy-corn beak and two black peppercorn eyes to each turkey torso.  Our Thanksgiving turkey invitations were now done.

I hand-delivered one invitation; the others were snugged into envelopes along with a folded piece of paper towel to protect the beak and eyes.  I also marked each envelope “hand cancel” to hopefully improve their travel safety.

Both of the kids had a great time making their turkeys, and the turkeys came out pretty cute if I say so myself.

Our finished turkeys.

Our finished turkeys.

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