November 13, 2013

Thanksgiving Gobbler: Paper & Dough

Thanksgiving Gobbler:
Paper and Dough

Thanksgiving is almost here, and little-arty-pants (Calvin) is going to make a Thanksgiving turkey. 


  • Like most two years olds, Calvin didn't know what a real turkey looked like.  So I found a turkey picture on the web. After locating the head, tummy, and tail feathers, we were ready to make our turkey.

  • Calvin's first job was to cut some strips of construction paper into small pieces for the turkey's tail feathers.  Notice how he's holding the scissors.  He's not ready to hold them in one hand, so either Papa or I hold the paper taut while he makes the cut

  •  He loves to cut paper.  He must have made cut 85 pieces before he got tired.

  • Calvin's next step was to squeeze out some glue and … 

  • … fill the background with more and more tail feathers.

  • Every turkey needs a tummy, and we decided to make ours out of dough.  We used Play Doh, but any air-drying dough would do. Calvin's job was to knead the dough. 

  •   He squeezed it.

  • He punched it.

  • And he poked it.

  • When it was finally kneaded, we worked together to form a ball.

  • We wanted the turkey to have a circle tummy. Calvin flattened the ball with an empty feta cheese container.

  • Then he turned the container over and pressed it down like a cookie cutter to make the circle tummy.

  • He decided to give the tummy an interesting texture by pressing holes into the dough.

  • At last it was time to make the turkey's head. Calvin glued on the eyes, beak, and red wattle I had cut from construction paper.  

  • The last step was mine.  I assembled all the turkey pieces with hot glue. Our gobbler turned out awesome!

Extending the Activity:

Are you interested in sharing a live turkey You Tube video with your little artist?  Here's the best one I found.  It starts out slow, so you may want to fast forward to the good part, which is about ⅔ of the way through.  I plan to show it to Calvin next time he comes over.

Something to Ponder:

Before Calvin and I even started this little turkey, I planned the project and gathered the materials.  Calvin's not ready to do that.  As we worked on the turkey, I was watching for any spontaneous variations Calvin might add.  

  • It was his idea to poke holes into the turkey's tummy.  

  • It was also his idea to make the turkey's face look like a jack-o-lantern.

As he gets older, I will gradually change my role from planner to facilitator.  As the facilitator I will provide the materials and let Calvin decide how to create whatever he'd like to make. I will always be available to provide guidance as needed.

Perhaps your little-arty-pants is already at that step.  If so, how are you transitioning from planner to faciliator?

Do you have a comment or a suggestion?  I'd love to hear from you.

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