Thanksgiving Mindfulness Activity

Turkey exercise for a mindful thanksgiving

Having a mindful Thanksgiving is so important, but have you ever considered HOW to achieve Thanksgiving mindfulness during a time when abundance is everywhere? Today, we have a few tips on holiday mindfulness, but also a great turkey exercise. This Thanksgiving deep breathing exercise is a tool to use when the overwhelming feelings of a big holiday event can overcome emotions and behaviors. Add this turkey activity to your Thanksgiving occupational therapy plans.

Thanksgiving Mindfulness

This time of year, being mindful is a huge part of the gratitude of Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving Mindfulness activity doubles as a deep breathing coping strategy but also is helpful in teaching kids to be mindful during a time of year when the holidays can get the best of them.

A few weeks ago, you may have seen a Pumpkin deep breathing exercise on The OT Toolbox. This mindfulness strategy is inline with that coping tool. Use it to talk to the kids about mindfulness or as a sensory strategy.

Thanksgiving mindfulness activity with deep breathing exercise to use as a coping strategy with kids.

During the time of year when signs of a feast is everywhere (from a family get together to a feast in the classroom), it can be easy to become overwhelmed by tensions, boundaries of others, and even the over-abundance.

For our kiddos with sensory needs, we see this play out in emotions, behavioral meltdowns, and sensory regulation needs.  

However, for ALL of us, sometimes having an open mind and mindful strategies can support a complex season. 

Mindfulness for kids can be a creative way to address common concerns with attention, self-regulation, self-awareness, coping skills, and concentration.

Mindfulness activities can be a way for kids to be more present in the moment, and more aware of themselves in every situation, including in the home, in the classroom, and while performing everyday activities.

With the turkey exercise below, we use a few areas of mindful attention:

  • Deep breathing
  • Coloring (if using the coloring page)

Deep breathing exercises can improve a child’s attention, emotional regulation through mindful attention to Breath Control

Breathing exercises are a coping tool to support relaxation by attentive breathing. When focused breathing occurs with breath control to inhale a deep, diaphragmatic breathing strategy, and then held for a moment to hold the breath at full capacity, there are many calming benefits, which can slow a racing mind. This relaxation breathing is a breath control mechanism.

Mindfulness Strategies for Big Holidays

There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas. You can still honor the spirit of Thanksgiving or other big holidays even when overwhelm and a racing mind are at play.

Here are some of our favorite mindfulness tools for holidays:

  • Fun Mindfulness activities for kids–  creative mindfulness exercises that can help kids feel better, reduce stress, address anxiety, and have a greater awareness of their body and mind. Mindfulness activities for kids can be used as a self-regulation tool or a coping strategy. 
  • Go for a quick walk to add movement, heavy work through the body, and the opportunity to take a few deep breaths.
  • Make a list of things you are grateful for. Use that gratitude to pray, give thanks, or use in gratitude meditation.
  • Talk about gratitude with kids. This Bear Says Thanks activity is a great hands-on activity for this lesson.
  • Take a walk in nature and practice gratitude while walking
  • Talk about gratitude. You don’t need to save thankfulness for the Thanksgiving table. Talk about the things you are thankful for each day.
  • Consider mindful eating during big meals or family meals.
  • Winter Theme Mindfulness Activities–  Use these tips for mindfulness in the classroom and creative mindfulness exercises with a winter theme. 
  • Mindfulness Videos on YouTube– Use these YouTube videos to help kids pay attention and responding to input from the world around us, including emotionally and cognitively. 
  • Make gratitude and mindfulness a habit. 
  • Adding a quick morning meditation can help with overall wellbeing.
  • Hug your friends and family. Did you know there are benefits to giving and receiving hugs? Not only do they offer proprioceptive input through deep pressure, but they can be very calming.

Turkey Exercise for Mindfulness

This mindfulness activity is a fun one for kids this time of year. Like our pumpkin deep breathing exercise, we used a visual graphic of a turkey paired with directions to breathe deeply as a sensory coping strategy. Use the turkey deep breathing activity to teach kids mindfulness and awareness.

Use the printable along with these free Thankful Turkey Templates for hands-on play.

What better activity is there for Thanksgiving and the season of gratitude?

  • Kids can use this Thanksgiving mindfulness activity to wind down after a busy day, cope with sensory overload, and be more aware of things they can express gratitude for.
  • Use the printable turkey exercise as a breathing tool during the chaos of a family dinner.
  • Use this Thanksgiving themed mindfulness tool to address sensory issues such as sensory overload. It’s a great way to add a mini-sensory break into busy days filled with family and festivities. Simply taking a few moments to add deep breathing exercises can help with feelings of overwhelming sensory overload and add the calming moment a child might need.
  • It works for kids of all ages, too…take a few moments with your kiddos to step back, breathe deeply, and express gratitude or awareness.

It’s a great way to introduce mindfulness to children with a visual representation of the deep breathing strategy and awareness of the world around them.

Ok, so how does this work? Let’s try this mindfulness meditation task!

How to Use this Turkey Exercise for Mindfulness

Print off the turkey exercise by entering your email address into the form below. This resource is also available in our OT Toolbox Member’s Club, on the Thanksgiving Therapy Theme page.

  1. Use the visual graphic to follow the arrows as you take deep breaths in and out.
  2. Pair the deep breathing with thoughts of things that you are thankful for with each breath.
  3. For each feather on the turkey, you will concentrate on one thing, person, or aspect that you are thankful for. Maybe it’s a warm house. Maybe you are thankful for the sun shining outside. Maybe it’s a frantic house filled with family and friends. Maybe it’s a job that pays the bills.

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.

Use the Thanksgiving mindfulness 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 thankful for. Then, quietly say an item with each breath break.

Use the Turkey Deep Breathing Exercise in a Group

This exercise is a great addition to group gratitude activities.

As a mindfulness group activity, use the turkey graphic and explain that they will be pairing deep breathing with a focus on gratitude. Come up with a list of things the group is thankful for and as you work through he deep breathing exercise, the children in the group can focus on things that they are thankful for personally.

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

Adding the deep breathing exercise with intentional thoughts makes this a Thanksgiving Mindfulness activity that can be so helpful for kids (and adults) of all ages!

Thanksgiving mindfulness activity for kids

Free Thanksgiving Mindfulness Exercise

You can print off a version of this turkey exercise deep breathing tool. Enter your email address into the form below. The OT Toolbox Member’s Club members can access this resource inside our Member’s Club on the Thanksgiving Therapy Theme page.

Free Thanksgiving Mindfulness Turkey Exercise

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    Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Thanksgiving Activities for Kids

    Thanksgiving activities for kids

    Thanksgiving is right around the corner. There are so many reasons to be thankful. The leaves are falling, families and friends will be gathering. Here, you will find Thanksgiving activities for kids that help to build skills, develop motor skills, enhance sensory challenges, and help children thrive through play. There are so many thanksgiving activities that can be used in occupational therapy. Thanksgiving OT activities are here in all ways…Turkey crafts are always so cute and are a great way to get your kids working on following directions, fine motor skills, visual motor skills. Get your kids up and moving after Thanksgiving dinner by having them participate in a gross motor turkey themed activity.

    Thanksgiving activities for kids

    Thanksgiving Activities for Kids

    I have broken down these thanksiving activities for kids into defferent categories based on occupational therpay areas and OT Thanksgiving activities that may be needed to work on certain goal areas or functional areas.

    Thanksgiving OT Activities for Sensory

    Thanksgiving sensory bin-grab some dry corn, shredded paper, acorns and fall leaves to make this Thanksgiving sensory bin.  

    Thanksgiving mindfulness activity-take a deep breath and help your child wind down from a busy load and cope with sensory overload with this, deep breathing turkey visual prompt.

    Fall vestibular sensory-moving, jumping, rolling, hopping and swinging all are vestibular activities. Why not do these activities in the leaves? Rake up a pile and leaves and have your child roll in the leaves, create a leaf swing or jump in the leaves.  Here are more Fall vestibular activities that prompt movement.

    Disguise the Turkey OT Teletherapy Activity– This digital disguise the turkey activity is a free slide deck that you can use for occupational therapy teletherapy sessions or as a brain break activity in the classroom or home. Kids can disguise the turkey and then work on typing, handwriting, and creative writing skills.

    Thanksgiving OT Activities for Fine motor 

    Thanksgiving tree– What are your kids thankful for? Find out with this thanksgiving gratitude tree made from sticks and paper leaves. Kids can make the Thanksgiving Tree and express gratitude while working on scissor skills and handwriting.

    Gratitude Leaf Garland– gather some construction paper, markers and yarn and make a festive decoration. Have your child write on the leaves and they can even help to cut them out.  Hang the gratitude leaf garland with the kids.

    Gratitude sun catcher-make a beautiful window decoration this Thanksgiving with a fine motor suncatcher craft. Grab some construction paper, black marker and clear cellophane wrap. This activity focuses on writing, scissor skills and counting your blessings.  

    Cooking with Kids- Make these turkey pretzel rod snacks with kids to work on fine motor skills, problem solving, executive functioning, and direction following.

    Turkey crafts and activities-follow this link to lead you to 19 turkey crafts that are sure to keep your child busy! If you need quick last minute turkey crafts, we have those, too.

    Thanksgiving felt board pattern– work on direction following, patterns and fine motor skills with this turkey felt board project 

    Fine Motor Thanksgiving Activities- Use our Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit to build fine motor skills with lacing cards, crafts, handwriting activities, scissor cards, pre-writing cards, cursive writing cards, and so much more.

    Here is another turkey craft that kids will love from our friends at Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog tails.

    Work on fine motor skills with a Thanksgiving themed play dough activity using this idea from Little Bins for Little Hands.

    This cute turkey lantern craft from JDaniels Mom is a fun way to work on fine motor skills.

    Thanksgiving fine motor kit

    Thanksgiving OT Activities for Gross motor 

    Turkey theme gross motor activity-no equipment needed to have your child participate in this gross motor activity where they will waddle like a turkey, working on body coordination, core strength and bilateral coordination with this free Thanksgiving Turkey Slide Deck. Use it in virtual therapy or as a Thanksgiving brain break activity.

    Thanksgiving walk– grab your family and friend and go on a thanksgiving morning walk. Get out there and enjoy the fresh air and get some exercise in. Make it a scavenger hunt for your kids look for acorns, leaves, sticks, birds, squirrels, pumpkins.  

    Thanksgiving is such a great time of year to do some really fun fine motor, gross motor and sensory turkey themed and fall themed ideas. Hopefully this list is a quick and easy way to fine activities your kids will love and can use in OT Thanksgiving activities!

    Be sure to grab the Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit while it’s on sale!

    Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit

    Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

    Disguise the Turkey Digital Activity

    Disguise the Turkey free digital slide deck for teletherapy

    This Disguise the Turkey digital activity is an interactive Thanksgiving activity that kids can use to as a disguise the turkey project for this year. In a year when teletherapy and distance learning is the new way, digital activities are the way to go. Recently, I shared a free turkey theme slide deck for virtual therapy sessions. It was a HUGE hit. One thing that readers asked for was an interactive portion on one of the slides. On that slide, you’ll find a turkey with clothing items that students can write about. Today, I’m sharing this free occupational therapy slide deck for a disguise the turkey project in 2020.

    Another free slide deck you’ll love is this teaching gratitude therapy slide deck that targets fine and gross motor skills, mindfulness, and more.

    Disguise the turkey with this free interactive slide deck for Thanksgiving.

    Disguise the Turkey

    So, what is disguise the turkey? This is a fun Thanksgiving activity that all of my kids have done each year in their elementary years. They typically come home with a turkey template and instructions to put on their thinking caps and use materials they find around the home to disguise the turkey, so that he can hide from becoming Thanksgiving dinner.

    Students are instructed to use materials in the home, recycled materials, paints, crayons, and other items to glue onto the turkey.

    Disguise the turkey usually involves children turning their turkey pal into another character such as Santa Clause, an army guy, a cowboy, fairy, or any topic a child can imagine! One of my own kiddos even dressed his disguise a turkey project into a fidget spinner a few years back. Another of my kids turned their turkey into the Chick-Fil-A cow, and another disguised their turkey into a disco ball. The point is to think outside of the box and make a fun and creative project.

    Normally, these disguised turkeys are hung in the school hallway or somewhere in the classroom for all to see the creative turkey fun.

    This year is a little different, however.

    To add some fun and creativity, I made this digital disguise the turkey slide deck.

    Disguise the Turkey interactive slide deck is a free slide deck for teletherapy, digital learning, or virtual classrooms. Use this as a fun family activity based on the typical disguise the turkey projects for Thanksgiving.

    Disguise the turkey project

    Take the disguise the turkey project a bit further. After students move the interactive pieces onto the slide, they can work on other areas of learning and development so that this turkey project adds to the learning curriculum.

    If you are feeling like many parents out there right now, children are spending way too much time on screens. There is a motivating factor and a need for screen-based activities during this time, however.

    This disguise the turkey project includes an interactive slide deck to decorate the turkey with costumes, and a writing prompt to use in therapy or learning activities.

    That’s why this disguise the turkey project hits the ball out of the park. It’s a fun activity for kids. They will be engaged in disguising their digital turkey with the movable slide pieces. And, if they’ve done a disguise the turkey project in years past, there is a bit of nostalgia that they might experience.

    Disguise the Turkey Extension Ideas:

    However, you can then extend this project in a way that works for the individual child’s needs in therapy, or in the classroom (or home classroom).

    • Ask students to write out the items that they used on their turkey project.
    • Ask students to write a story about their turkey.
    • Use the prompts on the next slide and they can name their turkey, and fill in the blank about why their turkey is safe in the disguise they designed.
    • Use this slide to work on sentence composure and creative writing.
    • Work on typing skills as students type into the interactive text boxes on the slide.
    • Work on handwriting. Kids can write their responses on paper. This is a fun writing prompt for kids and they can work on letter formation, line use, spacing, letter sizing, and legibility.

    You can use this as parents, therapists, and educators to work on all aspects of creative writing, typing, or handwriting.

    Free digital slide deck to disguise the turkey!

    Free Digital Disguise the Turkey Activity

    Enter your email address below to access this free Google slide deck. Enter your email address in the form below and you will get a PDF delivered to your inbox. Click the button and you will be prompted to make a copy onto your Google Drive. Then, use that slide deck to teach gratitude to kids using movement and activities. Have fun!

    Get your copy of this FREE digital Disguise the Turkey Activity.

      We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

      Need more Free Therapy Slide Decks?

      You’ll love this Teaching Gratitude Therapy Slide Deck.

      Here is a Turkey Theme Slide Deck.

      Grab this Football Theme Slide Deck.

      Kids are loving this Community Helpers Slide Deck.

      Here is a slide deck for a Social Story for Wearing a Mask.

      Here is a Space Theme Therapy Slide Deck.

      Here is a Therapy Planning Interactive Slide Deck.

      Here is a Back to School Writing Activity Slide Deck.

      Here is an Alphabet Exercises Slide Deck.

      Here is a Self-Awareness Activities Slide Deck.

      Here is a Strait Line Letters Slide Deck.

      Here is a “Scribble theme” Handwriting Slide Deck.

      Teach Letters with an interactive Letter Formation Slide Deck.

      Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

      Thanksgiving fine motor kit

      Don’t forget to grab your copy of the Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit! On Sale now.

      Gratitude Activities

      gratitude activities

      Gratitude activities and specific ways to teach gratitude is an important part of child development. But gratitude can be a complex and abstract topic for kids. Sometimes, putting together a few hands-on activities can be a helpful way to show children how to express gratitude for the people, things, and places in their lives that they are thankful for. There’s more; Gratitude is an early social-emotional skill that fosters children’s social emotional learning as well as a core skill that relates to successes and relationship skills later in life. Use the gratitude ideas described here to help children build this essential soft skill while targeting motor development, making activities for gratitude development fun and functional.

      Gratitude activities for children and families

      Gratitude Activities

      These gratitude games, activities, and hands-on play ideas help children foster this soft skill.

      I’ve tried to pull together several activities and ideas that help children understand thankfulness and see that feeling in action through play and activities.

      You’ll find book-related thankfulness activities, gratitude games, thankfulness crafts, and other gratefulness activities to teach gratitude to children and even adults.

      You’ll find a teaching gratitude therapy slide deck that occupational therapists and other child professionals can use in teletherapy to teach this skill, while targeting other areas like fine motor skills, gross motor, mindfulness, and even handwriting.

      There’s more to it, though. Helping children foster gratitude helps them later in life.

      Gratitude Activities Foster Social Emotional Learning

      I mentioned in the first paragraph, the significance of teaching gratitude to children. This soft skill is a powerful one to start early with toddlers and preschoolers. But, teaching the ability to be self-aware, and cognizant of one’s well-being, even in difficult times is a powerful instrument in fostering grit and resilience.

      More so, teaching gratitude to children allows them to build essential roadmaps to social emotional learning and prepares them for successes later in their life.

      Social and emotional skills are founded on self-awareness, emotions, and the connection between the emotions, thoughts, actions that we see in children. The ability for children to manage their behaviors, thoughts, and actions (or behaviors) rests in perspective, impulse control, and self-awareness.

      When children can connect the dots between other people’s perspectives and having empathy for others, they are able to maintain and build relationships. And, when children are in that mindset of being mindful of others and how their own actions, thoughts, behaviors, and actions impact others, social emotional awareness takes place. That ability to make responsible decisions about their choices can flourish when a child is grateful for what the have and their ownership in any given situation.

      Gratitude leads to self-awareness, perspective of others, kindness, and empathy.

      For children, having and expressing gratitude helps them to recognize the tools they have already as a way to be resilient against obstacles and challenges. When kids are aware of the things they have, the special skills they posses, or people they have in their corner, they can use those things so they are empowered, and not overwhelmed.

      These are big concepts and deep connections for children!

      Many adults struggle with these very same concepts. But, to say that these ideas are too deep or advanced for children doesn’t mean that we can’t work on gratitude as a building block for social emotional awareness and development. Instead, we can provide gratitude activities that help children build and establish these skills.

      Research tells us that positive emotions, including gratitude, promote happiness and flourishing, creating an upward spiral (Fredrickson, 2009Seligman, 2011). This upward spiral is a tool in a child (or adult’s) toolbox for learning, development, interaction with others, and day to day success.

      Gratitude Activities for Children

      So, how can we foster this appreciation for the world around us? Below, you’ll find gratitude activities and gratefulness activities to help children become genuinely more thankful for people, things, and their own self-awareness.

      Discuss thankfulness- Talk with children about the things, people, situations, and skills they have available to them which are things to be thankful for. Expressing gratitude for the smallest gifts that we have in our lives, of any kind, helps children communicate and establish gratitude. Try this gratitude craft to help children count their blessings and to create a physical reminder of all that they have to be thankful for.

      Model gratitude- Parents can express their gratitude and be a visible example to children so they can be thankful in any given situation, even when things seem difficult or challenging. Parental examples of thankfulness despite challenging situations is a powerful reinforcement that allows children to learn gratitude by “seeing” and “doing” as they learn to use the skills and “tools” they have available to them. In this way, kids learn in the moment and see gratitude in action. This can be shown in many ways:

      • Parents can tackle difficult situations with positivity.
      • By saying thank you to others, kids see an example of gratitude in action.
      • Say things like, “I’m so grateful for…”
      • Put a positive spin on difficult situations as an example of a positive mindset: “this is hard, but I am thankful I can…”

      Express gratitude on a daily basis- Being consistent with thankfulness can help children learn this abstract concepts in very concrete ways. These gratitude printable worksheets and activities can be part of a daily gratitude exercise, as a family.

      Incorporate books- This Bear Says Thanks activity helps children to see gratitude in action in a childhood book and then pair the book with a fine motor activity that allows them to count their blessings.

      Make gratitude part of the home- Make a gratitude tree as a way to express family gratitude. The daily reminder will become part of the home and is a reminder of all the things in life that there are to be thankful for.

      Teach gratitude- Helping kids to understand what gratitude means and looks like can involve the whole body. This teaching gratitude slide deck targets fine and gross motor skills, mindfulness, and even handwriting.

      Journal gratitude- We know that writing down the things that we are thankful for promotes a better mindset and overall wellbeing.  Keeping a daily journal with children can be a way wot foster the positive impact of daily gratitude. Ask children to write down just one or two things each day that they are thankful for. What would you add to that list for today?

      The Impulse Control Journal is a child-friendly way to write down gratitude and to use that journaling to foster mindset and self-awareness through quick checklists where kids can write out their strengths, qualities, supports, and insights.

      Impulse Control Journal the OT Toolbox
      • Fredrickson B.L. Crown; New York: 2009. Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace The Hidden Strength Of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, And Thrive. [Google Scholar]

      Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

      Teaching Gratitude Slide Deck

      teaching gratitude free occupational therapy slide deck

      Today, I have another occupational therapy teletherapy slide deck to share and it’s all about teaching gratitude, just in time for Thanksgiving. If you’ve been hanging around this site since about March of 2020, then you have probably seen quite a few teletherapy activities in the way of free slide decks. This one is perfect for helping kids understand gratitude and especially in hands-on, practical ways that they can learn gratitude and all that that means. Let me tell you about what all is in this free slide deck and then you can get your copy at the bottom of this blog post.

      Plus, use these thankful turkey templates for hands-on activities.

      Teaching gratitude is easy with this gratitude activity slide deck for virtual therapy.

      Teaching Gratitude

      When it comes to teaching gratitude, there is nothing like being immersed in a sense of thankfulness. This gratitude activity helps kids better define what they are thankful for so they can show and express gratitude for the things they are thankful for, both to themselves in the way they understand gratitude, and as an expression to others.

      I created these slide decks to help kids identify exactly what it is that they are thankful for, and in a way that helps them use their whole body through gross motor activities, and through fine motor work, as well as handwriting and verbal communication.

      In this thankfulness activity, I broke down gratitude into different activities that builds on areas they might be working on in occupational therapy interventions.

      Related: Here is another gratitude activity for kids.

      Teaching gratitude to children is fun with this gratitude mindfulness activity.

      Teaching Gratitude with Mindfulness

      The slide deck includes several activities, one of them being a warm-up activity that encourages mindfulness and deep breathing.

      Children can use whole-body movements with big deep breaths in and deep breaths out as they pretend to place imaginary items into a basket. This is a fun way to incorporate deep breathing concepts of mindfulness along with gross motor actions, core strengthening and expanded lung capacity with gratitude as children imagine and think of the things they are thankful for.

      Related: Here is a Thanksgiving mindfulness activity that you can pair with this slide deck.

      Teach gratitude with a fine motor activity kids will love.

      Teaching Gratitude with Fine Motor

      The next slide in this free slide deck asks children to draw and cut out paper leaves. This is a nice teletherapy activity using only paper, a pencil, and scissors.

      Children can draw, cut, and then curl the edges of their paper leaves, working on fine motor skills such as hand strength, bilateral coordination, pincer grasp, eye-hand coordination, precision, and visual motor skills, as well.

      Related: Here is a way to extend the activity and teach gratitude using the leaf craft.

      Teaching kids to be grateful helps with writing it out. Use this gratitude writing activity for kids.

      Teaching Gratitude with Handwriting

      Children can then write out the things, people, and places that they have gratitude for. This action of writing down gratitude can be a way to make concepts real.

      Adding in the handwriting piece makes this a great teletherapy activity for occupational therapy sessions.

      Love this gratitude scavenger hunt as a gross motor activity to teach gratitude to kids.

      Teaching Gratitude with Gross Motor

      The next part of this free slide deck is a movement scavenger hunt. Children can go through the slides and find people, items, or things that they are thankful for, by moving around their home.

      This is also a good way to work on visual perceptual skills such as visual attention, visual discrimination, and visual figure ground skills.

      Want to get this free slide deck to teach gratitude?

      Enter your email address in the form below and you will get a PDF delivered to your inbox. Click the button and you will be prompted to make a copy onto your Google Drive. Then, use that slide deck to teach gratitude to kids using movement and activities. Have fun!

      Teach Gratitude with this FREE slide deck!

        We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

        Need more free therapy slide decks?

        Here is a Turkey Theme Slide Deck.

        Grab this Football Theme Slide Deck.

        Kids are loving this Community Helpers Slide Deck.

        Here is a slide deck for a Social Story for Wearing a Mask.

        Here is a Space Theme Therapy Slide Deck.

        Here is a Therapy Planning Interactive Slide Deck.

        Here is a Back to School Writing Activity Slide Deck.

        Here is an Alphabet Exercises Slide Deck.

        Here is a Self-Awareness Activities Slide Deck.

        Here is a Strait Line Letters Slide Deck.

        Here is a “Scribble theme” Handwriting Slide Deck.

        Teach Letters with an interactive Letter Formation Slide Deck.

        Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

        Turkey Activities

        Turkey activities for children

        Turkey Activities are the theme here today, and boy, do I have some fun turkey themed ways to play and help kids build skills! Check out the Thanksgiving occupational therapy activities and different ideas listed below for fun Turkey activities to keep the kiddos occupied up through Thanksgiving!  Some of these may be just the craft or activity you are looking for to help children develop fine motor skills or visual motor skills.  Need a turkey craft for a play date or preschool party?  How about an easy little activity on Thanksgiving while the dinner is cooking?  So many options here for turkey inspired fun!

        Turkey activities for kids at Thanksgiving, and great Thanksgiving occupational therapy activities.

        Turkey Activities

        Be sure to stop by the following pages first, and fill your toolbox with turkey themed activities:

        If you are looking for quick turkey crafts to use in teletherapy or in the classroom or home, check out these quick and easy turkey crafts.

        You’ll also love this turkey slide deck for teletherapy or distance learning. It’s a free interactive slide deck with a Thanksgiving theme.

        And, this turkey mindfulness activity is a free printable that you can use with kids to help them discover the benefits of deep breathing as a coping mechanism for self-regulation.

        Plus, recently added to The OT Toolbox shop is this Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit. It’s loaded with fine motor activities, scissor skills activities, handwriting activities, pencil control cards, lacing cards, glue activities, and much more…all with a turkey and Thanksgiving theme.

         Turkey Activities for Kids

        Turkey activities that help kids develop motor skills. Use these for the Thanksgiving kids table crafts.

          1. Fine Motor Turkey for Tots from Twodaloo  (website no longer exists) Work on fine motor skills including pincer grasp and an extended wrist to create bead feathers. Try this turkey activity with play dough, spaghetti noodles, and beads. 

        2. Turkey Felt Board Matching from Teach Beside Me helps with visual discrimination, scanning, and eye-hand coordination.

        3. Thanksgiving Wreath Kids Craft from Alamo City Moms Blog  is a fine motor craft that would look great on the door.

        4. Pine Cone Turkey Place Cards from Homegrown Friends  can help kids with tactile sensory exploration and direction following. 

        use these turkey activities in occupational therapy interventions to help kids with fine motor skills.

           5. Turkey Tissue Paper By Number Craft by Crayon Box Chronicles   (website no longer exists)- Crumble tissue paper to work on fine motor skills and hand strength.

        6. Thanksgiving Turkey Play Dough from Fantastic Fun and Learning  uses play dough to build hand strength and fine motor endurance, as well as precision and tripod grasp.

        7. Fine Motor Turkey Craft  is a great way to work on scissor skills, pincer grasp, tripod grasp, and eye-hand coordination.

        8. Feather Color Sorting and Fine Motor Activity from Fantastic Fun and Learning can help kids with visual discrimination, scanning, figure ground, visual attention, and more.

        Turkey activities that help kids develop motor skills.

          9. Our printable Thankful Turkey Templates are turkey crafts you can modify based on the individual’s skills and abilities. Plus, it includes a thankful turkey craft, too to help with handwriting.

        10. Handmade Turkey Puzzle from KCEdventures   is a fun way to work on visual discrimination, visual memory, and other visual perceptual skills.

        11. Recycled Paper Roll Turkey Stamp Craft is one of our favorite turkey crafts that doubles as turkey art! Work on eye-hand coordination with a preschool turkey craft the kiddos will love.

        12. Turkey Print Crafts from House of Burke is another fun preschool turkey art activity that is great for the younger age range.

        13. Turkey Cardboard Tube Juicebox Cover is one of our favorite ways to work on fine motor skill, oral motor skills, and oral sensory processing. Use proprioception as a calming and organizing tool for kids with this cute turkey activity.

        14. Soda Bottle Turkey from Stir The Wonder  helps children develop fine motor skills and bilateral coordination as well as eye-hand coordination with turkey fun.

        15. Let’s Talk Turkey and Pilgrims and Indians from Mrs. Karen’s Preschool Ideas  uses turkey activities to promote learning with these fun Thanksgiving ideas.

        16. Clothespin Feathers Turkey from Stir The Wonder  develops hand strength arch development, separation of the sides of the hand, and more.

        More turkey activities and Thanksgiving activities that help kids develop motor skills.

          17. Turkey Fine Motor Craft and Activity from Fantastic Fun and Learning   is a fine motor powerhouse with cute results in this Thanksgiving activity that would look great at the kids Thanksgiving table!

        19. Thanksgiving Turkey Silverware Napkin Ring is my personal favorite for a turkey activity that helps kids build fine motor skills, including precision, tripod grasp, eye-hand coordination, bilateral coordination, and more.

        For even MORE turkey activities

        Grab the new Thanksgiving fine motor kit. It’s a huge resource for occupational therapists, parents, and teachers looking to help kids develop fine motor skills, work on handwriting, scissor skills, cursive writing, letter formation, and so much more.

        This 40 page digital file includes everything you need to help kids develop fine motor skills. The printable sheets are designed to work on themed Thanksgiving fine motor activities and can be used over and over again. Print off all of them or just the pages you need. With this Thanksgiving theme fine motor kit, children can develop the following areas:

        • Pencil control
        • Scissor skills
        • Hand strength
        • Pinch strength
        • Bilateral coordination
        • Eye-hand coordination
        • Visual motor skills
        • Handwriting and letter formation
        • Precision and dexterity
        • Separation of the sides of the hand
        • Coloring accuracy and endurance
        • Pre-writing line accuracy
        • Precision and dexterity
        • Pincer grasp

        This festive Fall packet is designed to cover a variety of areas and skills. Toddlers can use the coloring and shape pages. Preschool children can work on pre-writing lines, cutting strips, coloring pages, I Spy activity, counting, fine motor pinch activities, lacing cards, and more. Kindergarten children can work on letter formation and copying skills along with the other fine motor activities. Elementary aged students can use all of the fine motor activities as well as the handwriting activities and lined writing pages.

        Grab the Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit here.

         

        Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit

        Click here to grab the Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit!

        Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

        Toilet Paper Roll Turkey

        toilet paper roll turkey craft, a perfect preschool turkey craft for kids.

        These toilet paper roll turkey stamps are a fun turkey craft that doubles as a fine motor activity and eye-hand coordination activity for kids. Use a recycled cardboard tube like a toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll to make a turkey stamp craft that kids will love. This toilet paper roll turkey craft becomes turkey art that is a different take on the typical toilet paper roll crafts that you normally see. This one uses a recycled cardboard tube to make a stamp!

        Cute toilet paper turkey craft! This is such a fun preschool turkey craft for young children.

        Toilet Paper Roll Turkeys 

        This craft used a Recycled Toilet Paper Roll.  We used a toilet paper roll, but a paper towel roll cut in half would work just as well.  This craft started with a little prep work from mom, but nothing requiring too much work.  

        Use a Recycled toilet paper tube to make these toilet paper roll turkeys with children.
        Paper towel roll turkey craft for kids to make with a recycled cardboard tube.

        Paper Towel Roll Stamp Craft

        You can use either a recycled toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll to make this turkey art. If you use a paper towel roll, you will need to cut it in half for easier stamping for children.

        I started by bending on cardboard roll into a turkey body shape.  The other roll was made into the feather stamp by cutting down the tube an inch and then snipping feathers. 

        Stamp art for children, using paint to make this cute toilet paper roll turkey craft.

        Add a little paint into a tray and the craft is ready for creating!

        Use toilet paper rolls to make this turkey craft.

         Use the paper roll stamps to press into the paint and then stamp onto the paper.   Big Sister first  stamped the turkey bodies on the page and then added the feathers.  

        This Thanksgiving craft is not a typical  toilet paper roll craft! Use a recycled cardboard tube to make a fun toilet paper roll turkey.

         

        The red, orange, and yellow colors mixed together to make pretty turkey feathers!  

        Toilet paper tube craft that is a stamp art for children.

        Smoosh those colors together for pretty turkey wings!

        How cute is this turkey art? Use a toilet paper tube to make this turkey painting craft for kids.

        We let our turkeys dry (loads of thick paint to let dry…)   We love artwork loaded down with paint in our house 🙂

          All they need are little beaks and eyes!

        Turkey art for kids using a recycled toilet paper tube.

         

        Thanksgiving fine motor kit

        And done!  Our Turkey Stamps are ready for Thanksgiving!   Did you miss our other Paper Roll stamping crafts?  Check them out:  

        Paper Roll Apple Stamps

        Paper Roll Pumpkin Stamps

         
         
         
         
        Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit

        Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit…on sale now!

        Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

        CARDBOARD TURKEY CRAFT

        Cardboard turkey craft that doubles as a juicebox cover and an oral sensory tool

        Turkey crafts are all around this time of year!  This fun cardboard turkey is a great Thanksgiving activity that doubles as a therapy tool for kids. It is a juicebox cover, making it a fun way for kids to use their little cardboard turkey, but it also is a fine motor craft AND a way to help kids regulate by adding proprioceptive input through oral motor sensory input. We’ll get into more on this below.

        Cardboard Turkey

        While taking the time to run out and purchase craft materials can be difficult this time of year, and adding that extra expense isn’t always a possibility, using materials that you have on hand for kids crafts is the way to go. This cardboard turkey is a cardboard tube craft. We used a cut paper towel roll for the turkey craft and had some of the other materials in our craft closet.

        For this cardboard turkey craft you’ll need just a few materials:

        Amazon affiliate links included below.

        • Cardboard roll (paper towel roll)
        • Feathers (these are available at the dollar store, or on Amazon, but you could substitute these with paper cut feathers, too.)
        • Red and orange paper (or draw them on with a marker)
        • Googly eyes
        • Glue
        • Tape
        • Juice box
        Love this cardboard turkey craft. It's a Thanksgiving Turkey Juicebox Cover that kids will love to use.

        Glue those details onto the cardboard roll and this turkey is ready to make someone smile!

        Cute cardboard turkey craft, a Thanksgiving Turkey Juicebox Cover for kids.

        Colored feathers and googly eyes, along with a couple of little crafting scraps made a simple cardboard tube into a party-friendly turkey… just in time for Thanksgiving dinner!

        If you are just making a cardboard turkey craft and skipping the juice box cover portion of this Thanksgiving craft, you could definitely use a recycled toilet paper roll to make a cute toilet paper roll turkey craft. But, if you are going to make this into a juicebox cover, I would go with using a paper towel roll instead.

        So, let’s discuss the benefits to making this turkey craft into a Thanksgiving juice box cover…


        Turkey Juice Box Cover

        This cardboard turkey would work without the juice box part, but we added that as an oral sensory input opportunity to allow children to get a little calming sensory input through the straw. Plus, it’s a great way for children to see their handiwork in action right on the juice box.

         To make the cardboard turkey into a juice box cover, cut the paper tube with one cut strait down.  Wrap the cardboard tube around the juice box and secure with clear tape.  Gather your colorful feathers and tape in place on the back of the juice box.  

        Kids can make this cardboard turkey craft and gain organizing oral sensory benefits from drinking from a small straw.
        Tape feathers to the back of a juice box to make a turkey craft for kids at Thanksgiving dinner table.

        Oral sensory input with a straw

        Sucking is a form of calming sensory input through the mouth, and it’s a way to offer children organizing sensory input in situations when they might have trouble regulating their sensory systems.

        Sucking through a small straw like a coffee stirrer can be calming and provide organizing input, a juice box straw is an easily accessible sensory tool that might be overlooked.

        When kids such through that small straw, they are getting heavy work, or proprioception through the mouth and jaw. This is very organizing for children as it allows them to become aware of proprioception (even if they don’t realize it). This deep pressure allows for resistive work in the mouth. It takes effort to suck in through a small straw, and that offers a quick way to add calming input.

        Sucking in through a small straw is a way to offer sensory input for sensory seekers, but it’s also a way to support a child’s sensory needs by offering calming and resistive oral motor input.

        Now, the parents reading this are probably thinking the same thing that I immediately think of when I see a small child with a juice box. What happens as soon as that child has a juice box in their hand? They squeeze it and juice streams out of the straw all over the place, right?

        Here’s the thing about juice boxes- there is a contradiction on it’s benefits and detriments. The oral sensory input when a child sucks on a juice box straw is perfect for helping kids with sensory needs, and to help them develop oral motor control. However, that squeezable little cardboard box is so easy to squeeze the juice right into a toddler’s mouth.

        So, using a juice box cover that invites children to gently hold the juice box, rather than squeezing it in a death grip of streaming, sticky juice is so powerful! Children can use the turkey juice cover we made and either not use their hands to squeeze the juice box OR, they can gently hold the turkey craft and use their mouth to suck the juice. They can gaining oral sensory input and oral motor skills. What a win-win!

        Here is more information on oral motor skills development.

        Read here to understand the connection between oral motor skills and problem eating.

        This is a great resource on pediatric feeding and the differences between sensory issues and oral motor issues.

        This oral motor exercise is another way to add proprioceptive input through the mouth as a calming and organizing sensory tool.

        Wouldn’t this little guy be perfect for a preschool party or on the kid table at Thanksgiving dinner?

        Looking for a few more cardboard turkey crafts?

        Try these:  

        Recycled Paper Roll Turkey Stamp Craft

        Fine Motor Turkey Craft

        Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit

        Thanksgiving Fine Motor Kit…on sale now!

        Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.