Fun Crafts with Kids- Six Ways to Make Paper Plate Turkeys for Thanksgiving

paper plate craft

By Stephanie Jarrett, Everything Arlington, TX!

The hands-down cutest craft to make with kids this time of year is a paper plate turkey.  I remember making handprint turkeys as a young kid with my grandma every year by tracing my hand on a piece of construction paper and cutting it out, then coloring each of my fingers a different color because they acted as the turkey’s feathers. We would decorate my thumb as if it were the turkey’s head, complete with an eye and a wattle (yep, that’s the red hang-y skin at the turkey’s neck). We would make a hand-print turkey every year and write my name and the year on the palm of my hand. 

I enjoy making paper plate turkeys and other crafts with my own girls each year. There are so many fun, easy variations of a paper plate turkey you can create with kiddos of all ages, and I’ve compiled a few quick and easy ones right here for you to make at home and display proudly this Thanksgiving. 

Paper Plate Turkey with Paper Loops for Feathers

  1. Take a white paper plate and have your kiddo create the body of a turkey with a head staring straight at you. My girls colored the plate brown and then cut out a brown circle head from construction paper.  
  1. Draw eyes on the head and an orange beak and red wattle (there’s that goofy word again!). We even attached little orange feet at the bottom of the plate.  
  1. Then cut strips of colored construction paper at different lengths and attach around the back upper half of the plate, sticking out at various heights, to be the turkey’s feathers. I asked my girls to write things they are grateful for on each strip of paper before we folded and attached them with tape to the paper plate. We will pull the strips off at Thanksgiving and read aloud what my girls are most thankful for in 2020. 

Paper Plate Turkey with Handprints for Feathers

  1. Color a white paper plate brown and decorate with eyes, a nose and wattle, as if the turkey is looking straight at you.  
  1. Have your kiddos trace their hands onto different colors of construction paper and cut them out.  
  1. Layer the hands together- It’s fun to include mom and dad’s handprints, too!- to create the turkey’s “feathers” out of handprints.  

Brown Paper Bag Turkey

  1. Grab a brown paper sack you might normally use to pack your kiddo a lunch for school. Turn the bag, still folded, upside down, with the side containing the flap facing you. 
  1. Create eyes, a beak and a wattle using colored construction paper and attach to the flap using glue or tape.  
  1. Cut strips of paper or feathers in different colors and attach to the back of the paper bag, sticking up so they can be seen when the flap faces you. Your kiddos can then use this paper bag turkey as a puppet to entertain guests at Thanksgiving Dinner! 

Sitting Paper Plate Turkey

  1. Start by folding a white paper plate in half (feel free to color it brown for the turkey’s body first if you would like).  
  1. Place it on the table with the crease or fold facing up. Cut out to long brown strips of construction paper and fold them back and forth, accordion style. Let them both spring back into a straight line and attach these to the bottom of the plate to act as the turkey’s legs.  
  1. Create a body by cutting out a brown piece of construction paper in the form of a peanut shell. At the top, draw on the turkey’s face with eyes, a beak and a wattle.  
  1. Attach this to the center of the plate. Use the paper plate as the turkey’s feathers and color the feathers (or glue on scraps of paper) in any color you would like. 

Mosaic Paper Plate Turkey

  1. This turkey requires colored tissue paper for a more mosaic look! Create a turkey by cutting a paper plate in half.  
  1. Cut a large circle out of brown construction paper to create the turkey’s face. Draw on the circle eyes, beak, wattle. Glue in the center of the paper plate at the bottom where you cut it in half.  
  1. Next, cut squares or triangles out of different colored pieces of tissue paper. Red, yellow and orange are all popular this time of year, but feel free to get creative! Let your kiddos glue them on however they see fit to create a mosaic pattern for feathers. 

Nature-Inspired Paper Plate Turkey

  1. My kids love creating art out of anything they find in nature. For this turkey, create the body using any of the instructions above and create the turkey’s face on the paper plate. 
  1. Then, send your kiddos to the backyard (or take them to the park!) and let them collect some of nature’s cast-offs to create the turkey’s feathers. In the past, we have used leaves that have fallen to the ground and bird feathers we have collected. One year we spray-painted the leaves and feathers before attaching them to our turkeys. Last year, I let the kiddos paint them with acrylic paint to create their own truly one-of-a-kind turkey! 

Let your kiddos proudly display their crafty turkeys at the dinner table on Thanksgiving. Inexpensive and personal centerpieces? Yes, please! Check out more great Thanksgiving must-haves for your big feast here.  

Stephanie Jarrett

Stephanie Jarrett is passionate about all things: family, parenting, travel, and budget-friendly tips. As a Texas-transplant and girl mom of three, she’s a resident expert for ApartmentTherapy.com, Pearachute Kids, Hawaiian Falls, OKC Tourism Board, Livie & Luca, Mox Shoes, Arlington CVB, many more.

When she isn’t on a road trip with her three girls, exploring museums, parks and more, she’s probably curled up on the couch with the latest NYT bestseller and a glass of red wine. Follow her adventures in Dallas/Fort Worth and beyond at EverythingArlingtonTX.Blogspot.com.

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