Turkey Templates and Thanksgiving Printables

thanksgiving printables

One very fun Thanksgiving activity that supports development in occupational therapy is using Thanksgiving printables to work on specific skill areas and these free turkey templates are just one more. Not only are printable sheets perfect for using at the Thanksgiving dinner table, but kids can have fun working on turkey puzzles, turkey coloring pages, and even using as Thanksgiving decorations. Below, you’ll find some free Thanksgiving printables to build skills!

Free thanksgiving printables and turkey templates

Thanksgiving Printables

These printable Thanksgiving worksheets are awesome tools to encourage gratitude and foster learning…and with a Thanksgiving theme! What better way to bring in the season of giving and counting blessings than starting at home?

Occupational therapy crafts are crafts that support skill development through the functional task of crafting. We love to use items like the turkey templates shown below, because you can adapt and modify the craft template to meet the needs of each individual. You can find other Fall crafts here on the site that support these goals.

Fire up those printers, because this round-up has you covered for Gratitude and Learning everyday up to Thanksgiving!

Some of our favorite printable Thanksgiving activities include:

  • Thanksgiving word search
  • Printable table decorations
  • Turkey cut out template
  • Turkey feather template
  • Turkey crafts (find some great turkey crafts here)
  • Turkey worksheets
  • Printable Thanksgiving crafts
  • Kid-made place cards for the Thanksgiving table
  • Printable Thanksgiving coloring pages
  • Thanksgiving I Spy activities
  • Pencil and paper activities
  • Crayon or marker coloring sheets
  • Gratitude journal
  • Printable Thanksgiving games
  • Handwriting sheets
  • Trace or Writing prompts
  • Pumpkin pie writing prompts
  • So many more…

All of these materials are found in the Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit.

Be sure to add these printable resources to your therapy toolbox and learning fun!

Thanksgiving turkey templates
Print off these Thanksgiving turkey templates!

turkey cut out template

We wanted to make a turkey cut out template that you could use with a variety of ages and skill levels. This free Thanksgiving activity includes several turkey printables:

  • Several color and cut turkey templates with guided lines for scissor skills. You can use the turkey with the cutting lines that meet the needs of each student on your caseload or in your classroom. Focus on line awareness and visual motor skills to cut along the graded lines.
  • Thankful Turkey Craft- Color and cut out the turkey craft template. Then work on handwriting skills to write in something that the student is thankful for. This would go well with our Thanksgiving tree or our gratitude leaves.
turkey template

How to use a Printable Turkey Template

Not only are they a fun way to support development, you can use these printable turkey templates for many areas of skill development:

Once you’ve printed out your turkey templates, you can use them in a variety of ways to extend the skill-building:

  1. Disguise the turkey printable- Glue a variety of small objects on the turkey (like covering them in glitter!) or make the turkey a costume to disguise him into something or someone else. You can also use our disguise the turkey digital activity.

2. Decorate the turkey printable with tissue paper art- Crumble up bits of tissue paper and cover the turkey. This is a great finger strength activity.

3. Dot painting turkey- Use bingo dabbers or the end of an eraser dipped in paint and paint the turkey with dot art. This is a great activity for eye-hand coordination skills, and if you use a pencil to paint the turkey, or cut a cotton swab into half, you can work on developing pencil grasp.

There are more ways to extend this turkey template activity, too:

  • Hang the free turkey printable on the wall and use it for coloring or placing stickers on the turkey (pin the feathers on the turkey, anyone?). This is a nice way to work on shoulder stability and wrist extension, which are needed for fine motor control and finger dexterity.
  • Use the turkey printables in scavenger hunts and obstacle courses.
  • Glue real feathers to the turkey templates to incorporate various textures.

One activity that we did was to work on a variety of fine motor skills using the turkey printable. I selected one of the turkey cut outs that had a thick cutting line.

Then, we cut out the turkey and colored in the sections of the turkey’s feathers and body. Some of the crayons were broken to encourage a tripod grasp.

Next, I placed the turkey template onto a foam board. Then, we used colored push pins (Amazon affiliate link) to match the pins to the colored feathers. This activity encouraged arch development and separation of the sides of the hand.

You can see the final activity in the image and a video showing how to do this craft below.

There are so many ways to use these Thanksgiving printables!

Free Thanksgiving Printables

This free turkey printable is just one of the many free Thanksgiving printables we have here on the site. You’ll also want to grab these other Thanksgiving printable sheets:

Below we have a set of free Thanksgiving printables created into a printable pack that you can use this time of year. To grab the set, enter your email address into the form. You’ll receive an email where you can download the free activities and go from there.

These PDF resources are included in our OT Toolbox Member’s Club. Inside the club, you’ll find a Thanksgiving Therapy Theme with many other turkey and gratitude themed Thanksgiving printable materials. You’ll also find inspiration for Thanksgiving themed, hands-on activities to incorporate fine motor skills and hand strengthening this time of year. 

Thanksgiving Printables for Learning and Gratitude!

Free Thanksgiving Turkey Templates

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    Grab the Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit for printable, hands-on activities to support development this time of year.

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Thanksgiving Tree

    Thanksgiving tree

    This blog on about how to make a Thanksgiving tree was originally published 11-13-2012 and was updated 11-9-2023.

    Today we have a Thanksgiving occupational therapy activity that kids and adults love…a Thanksgiving Tree! This gratitude activity is a powerful and meaningful way to express thanks and gratitude this time of year.

    Thanksgiving tree

    What is a Thanksgiving Tree?

    A Thanksgiving tree is a creative and interactive way to express gratitude and celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving. It typically involves a visual representation of a tree where individuals can attach leaves or notes expressing what they are thankful for.

    The Thanksgiving tree serves as a visual representation of collective gratitude, creating a positive and uplifting atmosphere within the classroom or therapy clinic…and it’s an occupational therapy craft that builds skills, too.

    A Thanksgiving tree can be set up in the home, school classroom, or public space such as a therapy clinic. This is a great way to build skills with OT, ST, or PT clients with a group activity.

    In a therapy clinic setting, a Thanksgiving tree can be a meaningful and therapeutic activity because all clients and therapy employees can help to decorate the Thanksgiving tree with their own thoughts of gratitude.

    How to Make a Thanksgiving Tree

    You’ll want to start by creating the tree, and this can be a group activity , or you can set up the tree base and then students and clients can decorate the tree. You can do this in several different ways:

    • Use a branch collected from outside (this is how we made our Thanksgiving tree shown in the images below). You can tape paper leaves right to the branch.
    • Use posterboard or construction paper to create a tree outline on the wall. With this option, you can use sticky tack to attach gratitude leaves to the wall.
    • Use a Christmas tree that isn’t yet decorated for the Christmas holiday. Attach paper leaves using string.

    Gratitude Leaves

    Next, create the gratitude leaves, made from construction paper. Or, you could use the gratitude leaf template we have inside the OT Toolbox Membership club under Thanksgiving Therapy Theme.

    1. Provide cut-out leaves or paper shapes for individuals to write or draw their expressions of gratitude. Or, you can ask the students to cut out their leaf shapes if you are working on scissor skills.
    2. Students can write a word or sentence right onto the paper.
    3. Add lines using a (Amazon affiliate link) LegiLiner.

    The leaves can be made from colorful construction paper to embrace the Thanksgiving season by incorporating autumn colors. Or, just use markers to write on printer paper.

    You can even use the same leaves to create a gratitude leaf garland to show thankfulness this time of year.

    Classroom Gratitude Tree

    This could be a great classroom activity for all of the students in a classroom to do as a group. The paper leaves can be used as a handwriting prompt for older students or a Thanksgiving handwriting center for younger students.

    Students can hang their own leaf on the tree as part of the exercise.

    This can include things like personal achievements, positive experiences, or the support they’ve received.

    Thanksgiving Group Activity:

    Make the classroom Thanksgiving tree a group activity where students and even other classrooms can collaboratively contribute to the Thanksgiving tree. This fosters a sense of community and shared positivity.

    In the therapy setting, a thanksgiving tree can support therapeutic goals, too. Connect the activity to therapeutic goals. For example, it can be linked to building positive affirmations, reinforcing coping strategies, or acknowledging personal growth.

    Thanksgiving Tree Mindfulness Activity

    You can use a Thanksgiving tree as a Thanksgiving mindfulness exercise, too. The activity allows students to engage in a mindful moment as they focus on what they are thankful for. This can be particularly beneficial in promoting a growth mindset.

    We know the benefits of mindfulness and how expressing gratitude can support students in the classroom or kiddos receiving therapy services.

    To extend the activity, pair the gratitude leaves with a Thanksgiving mindfulness activity, our deep breathing turkey visual prompt.

    Simple Thanksgiving Tree

    We have a tradition of making a Thanksgiving Tree this time of year.  It is one of my favorite things about this season.

    We started the tradition of making a Thanksgiving Tree three years ago.  The kids and I will pick a stick from out in the yard and bring it in for a centerpiece on our dining room table.  
    One of the kids or I will cut leaves from construction paper and they will tell me all of the things that they are thankful for.  


    I love to hear the things that they are thankful for. 
    I have been saving the leaves from each year in an envelope labeled with the year and keep it in a storage bin in our attic, along with the rest of our fall decor.  
    It was so much fun this year to read the leaves along with the kids. They loved hearing what they said last year and the year before.  We had quite a few leaves dedicated to various stuffed animals, a leaf expressing Big Brother’s thankfulness for our neighbor’s dog, and a leaf that commemorates Big Sister’s fondness for Miss. Hannigan from Annie.  There are the sweet ones that say “my little brother”, “my baby sister”, “Grandparents”, “my sippy cup”, and “Mommy and Daddy”.


    Thanksgiving Tree


    Planes and Fuzzballs got some thanks in this house last year….
    …And Zebras, Phones, and Annie the year before 🙂

    We tape the leaves on the stick and prop it up in a centerpiece to enjoy all season long.  They love to look at it during meals and say “What does that brown one say, Mom”, or “Does this one say cousins?”

    In previous years, I would start them out and say “I am thankful for…” and write my own leaf.  Big Sister did a pretty god job the first year of coming up with her own ideas.  Last year Big Brother was 2 and was able to identify some things on his own (“my silky blanket”).
    This year, Big Sister helped to write them in her upper case letter, new-writer handwriting… and I know I am going to look back at them years from now and LOVE reading them!


    They love this centerpiece on the table during meals…and this year, big sister is able to read some of the words herself.  Little Guy will ask her what they say and she’ll tell him “It says HOME”.



    Some of the cute ones this year…“God and Jesus”, “the mall”, “mac and cheese”, and Little Guy was sure to express his gratitude for “mustard”.

    And of course, where would Big Sister’s rock collection be without the dresser???
    Have you done a Thankful tree before?  I would love to hear about it!


    If you are looking for more Thanksgiving activities to do along with your Thanksgiving tree, be sure to grab a copy of the Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit.

    Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Christmas Mindfulness

    Picture of Christmas tree with arrows on ribbons and text reading "Christmas mindfulness activity"

    If Christmas mindfulness is something you would like to achieve this holiday season, we’ve got a seasonal strategy for you. This deep breaths Christmas tree is a deep breathing exercise that is sure to be a go-to Christmas season mindfulness activity that supports self-regulation needs for kids and families. Use this holiday sensory tool along with our breathing star.

    Christmas mindfulness

    Christmas Mindfulness

    This time of year, most of us knee deep in holiday planning, prep work, and to-do lists! Having a few mindfulness for kids tools up your sleeve is a good idea this time of year. Today, I wanted to provide some tips on mindfulness during the holidays.

    For our kids with self-regulation needs or emotional regulation challenges that impact learning, emotions, anxiety, or worries, the holiday season can be a time of even more concern.

    Over the holidays, school and routines are off. There may be late nights at holiday parties, parents out for work events, unfamiliar family and friends visiting, new sights and sounds. All of this sensory input and environmental input can put a regulation system on overdrive.

    Then, in the school environment, there may be school parties, special events, and special themed days. The classroom Christmas party (or winter party) can be cause for sensory overload for some kids. Picture a classroom full of excited children at the end of a semester. The noises, sights, and environmental input can be just too much.

    In the community, there is holiday music, crowds, and a sense of excitement in the air. This can be a reason all its own for Christmas mindfulness tools.

    Then imagine the child with regulation needs at a family party with unfamiliar guests, a scratchy sweater, strange smells, and lots of noise. A Christmas mindfulness tool that the child can pull out and use to ease worries or stressors can be a great strategy for this time of year.

    Kids are barraged by schedule changes, anticipation of holiday events, later bedtimes, holiday travel, parent/teacher stress, increased sugar…and more. They feel these big feelings and can “lose it”, seemingly at the drop of a hat. Children can melt down in front of our eyes. This time of year perhaps especially, there is SO much going on inside those little bodies and minds. Focusing on mindfulness and coping strategies can help.

    I mean, think about it this way: We as adults are totally stressed out by deadlines, shopping lists, travel, extended family, holiday budgets, and the never-ending to-do lists.

    Our kids see that stress and anxiety.

    Think about our kiddos with sensory struggles. They are bombarded by lights and music, hustle and bustle in the grocery store, shopping mall, and even by the neighborhood lights. The later bedtimes and influx of sensory input is a challenge to process for them. It’s overwhelming and exhausting.

    Think about our students with praxis or motor issues. There are crowds to navigate, auditorium stages to maneuver and they need to do it FAST. There are schedules to maintain and growing to-do lists!

    And that’s just the beginning. All of our kids…no matter what their strengths or needs be…struggle with the change in routines, the adult stress, anticipation, holiday projects, gift giving issues, that extra sugar from holiday sweets, itchy holiday sweaters and scratchy tights, or mom’s stress from holiday traffic.

    That “iceberg” of underlying issues and concerns is a holiday version that leads to emotional breakdowns, poor coping skills, and sensory meltdowns.

    Now, think about the kiddo with executive functioning challenges. They can’t plan ahead or prioritize tasks when they have a holiday letter to write, a classroom sing-along to practice for, and Grandma’s house to visit next weekend. It’s hard for them to function when their routine is off kilter and anticipation is high.

    There are so many benefits to mindfulness, and supporting kids in this way makes a huge impact. Having a few Christmas themed mindfulness strategies on hand could make all the difference when it comes to experiencing all that this season has to offer.

    Christmas Mindfulness Activity

    Below, you will find a Christmas mindfulness activity and some coping strategies to address the holiday stress. This mindfulness tool goes along well with our Pumpkin deep breathing exercise, and Thanksgiving mindfulness activity.

    Christmas mindfulness activity for kids during the holiday season.

    When we think about the holidays from the perspective of a child. Having a set of mindfulness activities for kids is a great way to fill their toolbox with strategies they can use each day.

    Essentially, the post urges us to be mindful of the child’s thought process, emotions, and coping strategies this time of year.

    Holiday Mindfulness

    Below, you’ll find a printable Deep breathing Christmas tree printable that kids can use to support regulation needs. It offers relaxation breathing as a sensory tool.

    Print off the sheet and trace along the arrows as the user breathes deeply in and out. This calm and centering visual tracking paired with deep breathing can help the user to focus with mindful breathing.

    Mindful breathing is helpful in calming heart rate, easing anxious thoughts, and helping the user to focus on one thought rather than the many thoughts that may be running through their head.

    You can even pair the visual Christmas mindfulness breathing tool with visualizations.

    • Ask the user to visualize a calm space with a lit Christmas tree in a dimly lit room.
    • Ask the user to visualize a calm space rather than the hustle and bustle that may be happening around them.
    • Invite the user to imagine deeply breathing in the scent of a Christmas tree and breathing out the same scent as they empty their lungs.
    • Invite the user to picture the worry and anxiety slowly releasing from their body as they move down the slopes of the Christmas tree.
    • Pair the deep breathing with thoughts of things that remind you of peace and love (for example) for with each breath.
    • For each layer of the tree, kids can concentrate on one thing, person, or aspect of the holidays that they are grateful for. Thinking about whatever it is that you are grateful for is a simple way to pair the benefits of slow deep breaths with intentional thoughts.

    Focus on breath control as the user breaths in and out.

    Then, show the user how to carry over this Christmas mindfulness strategy using a real Christmas tree.

    1. After using the printable Christmas tree deep breathing exercise, they can look at a real Christmas tree and trace the lines of the tree’s sides with their eyes as they breathe in and breathe out.
    2. Ask them to trace an imaginary Christmas tree, or triangle shape on the palm of their hand using the pointer finger of their other hand.

    This becomes a Christmas mindfulness tool that they can use any where and any time even without the printable exercise.

    Christmas mindfulness activity

    Christmas COping Tools

    This holiday season, I wanted to fill your toolbox with the tools your little one (or client/student) needs to thrive.

    These are the strategies and tips we can use to slow down, take a deep breath, and recognize the underlying issues going on behind behaviors, meltdowns, and frustrations.

    Because when you have the tools in place, you have a blueprint for success in the child.

    Here are some holiday tools that can help both YOU and a CHILD struggling with all that this time of year brings…

    Christmas Mindfulness

    This is a coloring page. Use it as a handout or home program. Kids can color it in and work on fine motor skills, too!

    Use the Christmas mindfulness handout with kids as a group or individually. You can set this up in several ways. Ask them fist to list out some things they are grateful for. Then, quietly say an item with each breath break.

    As a mindfulness group activity, use the Christmas tree graphic and explain that they will be pairing deep breathing with a focus on love or peace. Come up with a list of things the group loves about the holidays. As you work through he deep breathing exercise, the children in the group can focus on things that brings them peace personally.

    Or, you could invite the child to think in their head about some things that remind them of the holidays and then with each breath in, they intentionally concentrate on that thing/person/idea.

    More Christmas Mindfulness Strategies

    Here are more coping tools for kids that focus on addressing underlying needs so that kids can function. Use these strategies as part of a sensory diet or within the day.

    The thing about mindfulness is that the tools that support needs will differ for every individual. During the holiday season, there are ways to support mindful needs with the holidays in mind:

    All of these are self-regulation strategies with a holiday theme and can be a powerful tool when it comes to supporting emotional and sensory needs during the holidays.

    Mindful Christmas

    Having a mindful Christmas can mean being aware of stressors or things that add a sense of dysregulation.

    During the holiday season, the connection between mindfulness and self-regulation becomes even more crucial, especially for children and therapy providers navigating the potential stress, anxiety, and worries associated with this time. Mindfulness practices offer a valuable toolkit for managing these challenges:

    Stress Reduction: The holiday season can bring added stress, but mindfulness provides a means to cultivate a calm and centered state, helping both children and therapy providers navigate and mitigate holiday-related stressors.

    Emotional Regulation: Mindfulness practices, tailored for children and therapy providers, become essential tools for recognizing and regulating emotions heightened by holiday-related pressures. This contributes to a more emotionally balanced experience.

    Anxiety Management: Mindfulness techniques, such as mindful breathing or guided imagery, can be powerful allies in managing anxiety. They provide a practical and accessible way for children and therapy providers to alleviate anxiety during the holiday hustle.

    Worry Coping Strategies: The mindfulness approach of observing thoughts without judgment is particularly helpful in addressing worries. Children and therapy providers can utilize mindfulness to create a mental space to acknowledge concerns and develop effective coping strategies.

    Enhanced Focus and Presence: Mindfulness helps maintain focus on the present moment, preventing holiday-related worries from overwhelming the joy of the season. This is especially beneficial for therapy providers supporting children, ensuring they are fully present during sessions.

    Cultivating Resilience: Mindfulness fosters resilience by promoting adaptability and acceptance. This quality becomes crucial during the holiday season, where unexpected changes or challenges may arise for both children and therapy providers.

    Empathy and Connection: Mindfulness practices that emphasize compassion and empathy contribute to a sense of connection. Therapy providers can incorporate these practices to create a supportive and understanding environment for children navigating holiday stressors.

    By integrating mindfulness into therapeutic approaches, therapy providers can empower children with valuable self-regulation tools, fostering a positive and mindful experience during the holiday season. The practices not only address immediate stressors but also contribute to building resilience and coping skills for the long term.

    Free printable Christmas Mindfulness Printable

    Want to grab our Christmas tree mindfulness deep breathing exercise? Enter your email address into the form below. This printable is also available inside The OT Toolbox Member’s Club. Members can log in and head over to our Mindfulness Toolbox where we have this and other Christmas mindfulness printable exercises.

    Print off this Christmas breathing activity and start supporting skills. This Christmas coping skills activity can be used on the go while out and about this holiday season, at a family get together, or during school assemblies for the holiday season.

    Get a Christmas Tree Mindfulness Coloring Page

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      Wishing you a thriving, stress-free, and functional holiday season for you and those kiddos you serve!

      You will also want to grab a copy of our breathing star, which can be paired with our Christmas mindfulness tool.

      Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

      Looking for done-for you therapy activities this holiday season?

      This print-and-go Christmas Therapy Kit includes no-prep, fine motor, gross motor, self-regulation, visual perceptual activities…and much more… to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, Christmas-themed, motor activities so you can help children develop the skills they need.

      This 100 page no-prep packet includes everything you need to guide fine motor skills in face-to-face AND virtual learning. You’ll find Christmas-themed activities for hand strength, pinch and grip, dexterity, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, endurance, finger isolation, and more.