Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Turkey Table Toppers

Here's an easy craft to keep the kids busy this Thanksgiving. Once again, this idea is brought to you by our wonderful library lady, Mrs. D. (I hope she isn't offended that I love her ideas and run with them!) These turkey table toppers are fairly quick and easy for little ones to create without too much parent prep. I think that it would be cute to have child-made place cards for everyone by simply adding names to the tail feathers. That would surely make for a happy Thanksgiving table.

The good news is that most of the items needed for this project are things you likely have at home. The only item you may not have are the Bingo markers. I assume that the library ordered these Bingo daubers, but my suggestion is that you save yourself a lot of money and get some from Dollar Tree! I bought ours there over two years ago and they are still working great. (I normally see these in the school supply aisle.) We have red, orange, green, blue, and purple. The only color I have seen at Dollar Tree that I did not purchase was black since I figured that would have limited craft possibilities. Personally, I think this was a great investment for kids' crafts so I would definitely recommend getting some!

{Turkeys by Logan, 4, and Mia, 6}
  • TP tube
  • small paper plate
  • scissors
  • tacky glue (or school glue)
  • yellow/orange construction paper
  • brown construction paper
  • pencil
  • 2 googly eyes (or eyeball stickers)
  • Bingo markers (or regular markers)
  • red pipe cleaner (or construction paper)
  • something to protect work surface (optional)
  1. Cut a small paper plate in half. One half is needed per turkey, so if you are only making one turkey, set this aside for another project. (One option is this paper plate turkey.)
  2. Cut a toilet paper tube in half. If you want to make lots of turkeys but you are short on TP tubes, you can also cut them into thirds. Using your scissors, make two small notches on one end of the tube, about 1/4" deep. They will be spaced equally apart so that the paper plate will be able to slide into the notches after it is decorated. (If you need a project for leftover tube sections, try making bird feeders.)
  3. Make a beak out of yellow (or orange) construction paper. The easiest way to do this is to cut a strip of paper and then cut a smaller rectangle from the strip. Then, fold the rectangle and cut a triangle so that the fold is the base of the triangle. When glued onto paper, this will make a 3-D beak.
  4. Draw and cut out a turkey body from brown construction paper. The basic shape is a small circle on top of a larger circle and it should be about 4 1/2" tall. (Note: Mrs. D.'s is thinner and reminds me of a bowling pin and mine looks a bit more like a fat pear, but I think they both are fine. Also, hers is flat on the bottom and mine is rounded, and they both seem to stand up nicely, so take your pick.) Tip: If you are planning to make more than one turkey, use the first one as a template and trace around it to make more.
  5. For the wattle, we used a scrap of red pipe cleaner. If you want to use pipe cleaner, you may need to cut a piece about 1" long. Tip: I keep left over bits of them in an old plastic peanut butter jar for times when we need just a small piece. This way, we don't have to cut up a perfectly good pipe cleaner. Tip: If you don't have pipe cleaners, you could also make a wattle from red construction paper, cut into a kidney bean shape.
  6. Have your child decorate the half paper plate using the Bingo markers. It doesn't matter which side of the plate gets decorated. Tell kids that they do NOT need to press hard. Tip: If the ink isn't flowing well, make sure the cap is secure, and shake the Bingo markers. If this doesn't work, gently tap, tap, tap the marker until the ink starts flowing. Set aside to dry. Tip: Sometimes markers will bleed through, so you might want to protect your table before starting. I like to use cereal box liners, but you can also use newspaper, an old vinyl tablecloth, or wax paper. Tip: If you don't have Bingo markers, let your child decorate the plate with regular markers.
    {Mia made a rainbow turkey.}
  7. Have your child decorate the turkey's body. Mrs. D. provided eyeball stickers for a no-mess option. (Logan's make me smile because one is upside down.) Mia used googly eyes and adhered them with tacky glue. (Tip: If you don't have eyeball stickers or googly eyes, use a black marker to draw eyes.) Next, both kids glued down their beaks. Mia then added her red pipe cleaner wattle. (Tip: If you don't have a pipe cleaner, use red construction paper or draw one with a red marker.) Lay flat until glue is completely dry.
  8. Kids may need help with assembling their turkeys. Place some glue on the back of the turkey's body and affix it to the tube, making sure that the two slits are on the top of the tube, and are to the left and right of the body. Slide the paper plate, flat side down, into the two slits so that the colorful side is facing the front.
  9. Display your child's turkey table topper. You may want to make several for all of your Thanksgiving guests.
One final thought: I know it has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but Mia's rainbow tail feathers inspired me, and I could totally see tweaking this craft and making it into a showy peacock. To do this, use pretty blue paper in place of brown. Skip the wattle, and add lots of colorful Bingo marker dots to the body. For a final flourish, add a blue feather on top of the peacock's head, and voila! A pretty peacock!

Have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving!

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